hicago’s mayoral election may look like a local event, and the media mostly cover it as a local event, but the presence of a large, diverse, and energized opposition demanding change on basic issues of fairness and justice gives the city’s local result a potentially important, totemic meaning for the country. The outcome of the April 7 runoff election, which includes 40% of the city council as well, may signify whether peaceful change is possible, or whether the suffocating status quo will grow more stifling.
There is another way of gauging the April vote: is Chicago yet ready to reject the police state practices of its local government? Is Chicago ready to reject a mayor who seems content to allow police state behavior to go unexamined and unpunished? Will Chicago be where a majority of Americans finally confront the nationwide plague of police hate and violence that makes the term “American justice” an oxymoron?
The current mayor since 2011, the arrogant and ineffective Rahm Emanuel, has catered to hisrich-folks base (with “the actions of a mad king”). And he has treated the majority of Chicagoans withdestructive disdain, whether he’s closing their schools, attacking teachers and other public employees, or ignoring police brutality and killing. (As a congressman in 2002, Emanuel supported the Iraq Warright out of the box.) He is endorsed by major Chicago media that laud his “significant accomplishments,” but they can’t seem to name any. His record is mixed.
Given the preening self-satisfaction of the incumbent pugnacious bully, given the elitist priorities and anti-populist destructiveness of this Clinton-Obama Democrat, the best result for the national Democratic Party – and for the country – would be the clear rejection of regressive, right-wing Democrat Rahm Emanuel for a second term as mayor. Emanuel’s defeat could mean the end of almost 30 years of corporate Democrats (including Richard M. Daley, 1989-2011) running Chicago for the 1% and driving the city into heavy debt that the 99% will be expected to pay.