Chicago's first gay, Black, woman mayor won all 50 wards, defeating the machine candidate with an anti-corruption campaign

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/04/emmanuels-legacy.html

15 Likes
#2

21 Likes
#3

I’m not sure this gives Preckwinkle a fair shake. I’m glad Lightfoot won and think she was the better choice here, but Preckwinkle wasn’t exactly a “machine” candidate in the way you’re implying.

Preckwinkle, who is also a black woman, unseated one of the most powerful machine families by beating idiot son Todd Stroger to become Cook County Board President and was not considered a staunch ally much less a hand-picked successor to Emmanuel. There’s a lot she’s done I don’t happen to agree with, but I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to portray her in quite those terms–it’s not like she’s a Daley, after all.

15 Likes
#4

Despite the election of an openly gay black woman being historic, the left in Chicago (myself included) actually supported the machine candidate, Toni Preckwinkle. Lightfoot has done materially almost nothing for police reform and supports the “cop academy” which is highly contentious issue here. She also has a distinctly neoliberal approach to problem solving- the “partnering with business” line. She positioned herself as an outsider except she has been working within the system as a prosecutor or ineffectual reformer for her entire career. Preckwinkle (also a woman of color), despite her corruption is actually a candidate I trusted far more with a track record of achieving real reform like drastically reducing the Cook County prison population.

All that being said, the REAL story of the 2019 Chicago municipal elections is the election of 5 (maybe 6, pending mail-in ballots) socialist candidates. That’s huge.

27 Likes
#5

I’m worried the anti-corruption candidate always turns into a magnet for corruption. I wonder if the Devil has a squad assigned to clean politicians.

3 Likes
#6

Lightfoot, from an optics perspective, is a great change for Chicago. An out woman of color is as different as you can get from the last two mayors. But, that’s basically where it ends.

Lightfoot isn’t necessarily better than Preckwinkle. Lightfoot raised more money, and had a fantastically-run campaign mechanism. I think the bigger post-mortem from this election will be not how well Lightfoot did, but how badly Preckwinkle screwed it up.

Lightfoot was the head of the Office of Police Standards under Richard M. Daley, was the President of the Chicago Police Board under Emanuel, and has a documented record of ignoring families who were effected by police violence and purposely delaying reports and hearings so the Chicago Police could stack information on their side and/or discredit community members. There’s video of her literally telling police to push demonstrators out of public hearings.

Lightfoot represented cops in police brutality cases.

Lightfoot lied in court to have someone extradited back to Norway to the point where there is a Federal court opinion mentioning how awful she is.

Lightfoot has taken money from Emanuel, Emanuel’s personal attorney, and the attorney who tried to cover up Laquan McDonald’s murder.

Lightfoot technically isn’t part of the “machine”, but has zero problem letting it continue to run on without her.

14 Likes
#7

Lightfoot also suggested, and then walked back (?), the idea of converting 38 closed neighborhood schools into mini police academies. Because I guess young black children need policing more than they need education…

9 Likes
#8

I mean, how cool would it be to have a cyborg mayor?

7 Likes
#9

I, too, hope Lightfoot won’t be a disaster for Chicago, but I suppose time will tell.

I live in the 39th ward, and our aldermanic election went to a runoff between the hand-picked successor of the current alderman and a relatively milquetoast outsider who has run in the same ward in the past. I voted for the outsider, who, unfortunately, didn’t get the win.

We’re a microcosm of Chicago politics; the current alderman, Margaret Laurino, is the daughter of our former alderman, Anthony Laurino. Mr. Laurino was indicted back in '95 on federal corruption charges that involved hiring friends and relatives for no-work city jobs that cost the city about $1.5 million. He never went to trial; it was indefinitely postponed due to his failing health. However, Laurino’s wife, another daughter, and the daughter’s husband were all convicted. Margaret was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley to take his place, and has managed to coast on incumbency for almost 25 years, while occasionally fending off challengers.

The rumor I heard from a staffer who was running to replace her was that she hadn’t actually given a shit about either the job, or her constituents for perhaps the last 10 of those 25 years.

3 Likes
#10

As others have said Preckwinckle was hardly a Machine candidate.
She actually runs Cook County very well.
We’ll see what happens.

1 Like
#11

Good to hear the viewpoint from inside the city. The breadth of mutants here is one of the reasons I come here so much.

16 Likes
#12

This is awesome but why do things always have to get insanely bad before there is an equal and opposite reaction of good change?

Does this mean trump is going to herald the best possible next president (or did having the good of obama cause trump to happen?)

Because some things can’t ever be fixed no matter the course correction afterwards. Like say stacking the supreme court for decades.

#13

Agree. Chicago progressives were split on the candidates, and there’s some reasons to believe Lightfoot is also a “machine” candidate; she worked in the Rahm administration, and drew some heat for how she managed the generally ineffectual police review board.

Point is, it was a runoff between two interesting, capable people who each beat out Daleys and worse to get on the ticket at all. There was low turnout, which I think explains the lopsided victory. Both failed to mobilize a lot of people. But here we are, and bet of luck to Mayor Lightfoot.

Go Cubs, Ban TIFs.

4 Likes
#14

Those schools were already closed due to low enrollment. I agree it’s questionable whether it would have been worthwhile to convert them into police training facilities, but how can you look at what has been going on in Chicago recently and conclude that the police don’t need more training? And meanwhile, the existing training facilities are very out of date, so something does need to be done.

And yeah, she walked back that idea after thinking better of it. I’ve been watching Lightfoot for a while, she’s willing to change her mind when she’s wrong. That’s not a bad thing.

3 Likes
#15

I’d like to second a lot of the other comments above regarding Lightfoot.

It’s been illuminating seeing more progressive media outside of Chicago frame the election in identity issues (basically, yay, a gay black woman is the mayor! (which is quite super imo)) and more activist and leftist coverage within the city focusing much more on Lightfoot’s problematic partnership with the police and her actions as a prosecutor.

Preckwinkle is not nearly the machine candidate she’s been made out to be, although when my wife used to live in her ward way back when she would definitely come over in person and yell at her and her roomates to turn down the music :stuck_out_tongue:

Worth more coverage outside of the mayor’s race is the serious city council shifts with a lot of these long time alderman getting the boot.

3 Likes
#16

The city council moving steadily left and the mayor no longer being able to rule by fiat is the big news here, absolutely. It’s going to be a real short honeymoon for Lightfoot on all sorts of things Rahmbo could just will into action

2 Likes
#17

Just imagine what it was like hearing outsiders talk about San Francisco politics over the past two decades.

“ZOMG Gavin Newsom is so well spoken and liberal!”

“He’s an idea-less corporate stooge with Willy Brown’s arm elbow-deep up his ass.”

[blinking incomprehension]

“But…Willy Brown is really liberal, right?”

2 Likes
#18

It’s been a real lesson for me, great point. Especially since a lot of this coverage is from sites I generally relink or such without much second thought

2 Likes
#19

Democrats have controlled Chicago politics for over 60 years; what’s going to suddenly change?

Will the crime & murder rates drop?

Will the West & South sides see real economic development?

Will Chicago’s abysmal pensions be fixed?

Will children receive a great education?

Will people stop leaving?

I really don’t care about her gender, race, or sexual preference. I want her to be a leader and address these issues that have plagued Chicago for DECADES. Real people are suffering.

#20

There were a few glorious years like that in SF, and a lot of good things are accomplished, but that’s all over now.