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Rahm Emanuel & Mayoral Aspirations

October 1, 2010

Rahm Emanuel & Mayoral Aspirations

Chicago’s racial politics is one-third white, one-third black, and one-third Hispanic. After a weekend self-choreographed resignation. Emanuel is now headed to Chicago for a weekend ‘listening tour”…

Funny. Rahm Emanuel does not listen. He dictates.

So since Rahm has not been paying too much attention to what goes on in fly-over country, he’ll learn that people are furious at the Obama administration he has been part and parcel of. Yes, even in Chicago they are becoming dismissive of Obama. He will bear the brunt of that anger.

Add to that, he is not well known or liked across the city- except in the media. As I mentioned, two thirds of the vote are Black and Hispanic. They either do not know him well enough or do not care about him. He has done nothing for them during his whole political career.

The northwest and southwest sides of Chicago, though usually Democratic locally, are more conservative, so Emanuel may have trouble there too. They are part of the angry electorate. The Tea Party fodder.

What he does have is the Lakefront wards and parts of his old fifth congressional district. Supposedly, Emanuel has the blessings of the business and commercial interests. Seeing as how he toiled and labored for the most anti-business administration in history, that cannot be true. I don’t buy it. There are rumblings the business community is looking for a candidate who will champion their causes. Rahm & Obama have not championed businesses causes.

What does Rahm have that could make him win? Money and the ability to generate money. Emanuel’s greatest strength is as a fundraiser. And, Chicago’s quirky election law.

He needs to get 50 plus percent of the vote. If enough candidates run, the vote could be split enough to force a run off. The two candidates with the most votes then run for mayor. Rahm would fare better in a run off. But, the biggest issue is the structure of Chicago’s primary. Multiple candidates that split votes can easily lead to a candidate with 21% of the vote going against a candidate with 19% of the vote, with #3 at 18% being cut out. The city would suffer under a new dictator like Rahm. From the iron fist to the steel toed ballet slippers.

But, he has to get on the ballot first. From all indications it may be a little more difficult than he thinks. His residency is being challenged. If that challenge goes forward, it will eat up time and money. His petitions could be challenged. More time and money. Rahm is ‘not well liked’ in Chicago political circles.

And, Rahm is a Chihuahua compared to some of the local Chicago operators. Ed Burke, Gene Schulter, Miguel Del Valle, Joe Berrios, and others will use him as their personal fire hydrant. Others who run will stoke the fires from behind the curtain. Can he destroy the local big dog competition and opposition with long standing ward structure support? Can he use his superpowers to overcome an electorate tired of the same old way? Or will he bring a higher, more sophisticated level of crime and corruption to this political mayoral election?

Chicago rewards political insiders who have an institutional relationship with its neighborhoods. Those that have built tight coalitions with its local and minority communities.

Folks, don’t buy the national media hype. As they say, all politics is local, and in this case, Rahm has a long way to go. There are political strongholds all across the city and Chicago city politics is rough and tumble. A Rahm win though is very important to an Obama victory in 2012, so expect shenanigans. Truth is, without a 400,000 plurality in Chicago’s cook county, the Democrats would never make up the Republican advantage in the suburbs and downstate for statewide elections.

Chicago deserves better than a brazen pig like Emanuel. And while, at first glance, you think Rahm, an Al Capone type figure, would fit right in place with a corrupt city, don’t bet on it. There are other corrupt pol’s to battle that have ward support. If Daley gets his machine behind Rahm, all bets are off. See who he backs first. Then let the mud fly.

The Chicago Sun-Times commissioned a poll shortly after Daley announced he wasn’t seeking re-election, Emanuel placed 5th with 7%. Those topping the poll: Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart (12%); state Sen. James Meeks (10%); Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. at 9% and 8%, respectively.

Emanuel will face the greatest challenge from Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. Sheriff Dart, who is white, is a South Side native and well-liked among minority leaders. He refused to evict homeowners facing foreclosures resulting from bad loans, and he successfully handled a scandal involving a historic black cemetery in the South Suburbs that included the desecration of at least 300 graves.

Emanuel will use AKPD – White House adviser David Axelrod’s former firm as his consultants. AKPD vice president of political affairs Buffy Wicks, one of the nation’s top grass-roots organizers and a veteran of the Obama presidential campaign, will be a major player on the Emanuel campaign.

I’m in Chicago. Most Chicagoans would agree we need a mayor who is living here and knows what’s been going on each day and has solutions to our issues on each day. Rahm isn’t fit to be rat catcher, let alone mayor… let’s hope my fellow Chicagoans agree.

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