From bellwether to blue heaven.
ILLINOIS, like Michigan, was a highly contested state in the mid 20th century that seemed to trend Republican (1968-88) before doubling back to the Democrats from 1992 to 2008. Blue-collar "Reagan Democrats" in the immediate Chicago area contributed to the GOP's rise, but then Clinton and Obama made big inroads into the suburbs as Chicago itself became more Democratic than ever. Illinois was the rare Northern state where Obama set a record for a popular-vote margin (1,141,288). Even without a favorite son on the ticket, it's tough to imagine the Democrats losing that cushion any time soon.