Rick Perlstein Analyses the Chicago Runoff Election
by Gaius Publius
For those who want an up-to-date look at the state-of-play in Chicago's upcoming runoff election, there's no better analyst than Chicago's Rick Perlstein. Above is a conversation between Perlstein and RJ Eskow of The Zero Hour on what happened to Rahm and why we should be very optimistic about Chuy Garcia's chances of an upset. (Hint: Harold Washington.)
As you listen (warning: audio starts loud), be sure to note the reasons Garcia would make an excellent mayor, just on the merits. That runoff election, by the way, will be April 7 — not long off. If you wish to help out, click here to contribute.
Perlstein offers analysis regularly at In These Times, frequently as the cover article. Some in-city context from one of his latest pieces:
In Mayoral Runoff, Rahm Emanuel’s Corrupt Governance Has Finally Caught Up With HimBut that's just the tip:
It’s become increasingly clear to Chicagoans that Rahm Emanuel is out for himself and his rich friends, not for us.
Perhaps what turned some voters against Rahm at the last minute—or motivated them to go to the polls in the first place on a cold Chicago day that started out in the single digits—was an Election Day exposé that appeared in the British paper the Guardian by investigate reporter Spencer Ackerman. “The Disappeared” revealed the existence of Homan Square, a forlorn “black site” that the Chicago Police operate on the West Side. ...
One victim was 15 years old; he was released without being charged with anything. Another, a 44-year-old named John Hubbard, never left—he died in custody. One of the “NATO 3” defendants, later acquitted on most charges of alleged terror plans during a 2012 Chicago protest, was shackled to a bench there for 17 hours. It “struck legal experts as a throwback to the worst excesses of Chicago police abuse, with a post-9/11 feel to it,” the Guardian reported. ...
Indeed, the mayor faced a drumbeat of outstanding journalistic exposés all throughout the campaign.Perlstein offers paragraph after readable paragraph of further instances. It's a stunning indictment, all forming part of this election story, all known to the voters. Perlstein ends, both in the video above (please do click; it's really listenable) and in the article, with great reason for hope:
In their way, these Emanuel [attack] messages, as misleading as they were, are heartening. This was Karl Rove’s trademark election strategy: attack, with brazen audacity, your opponents’ biggest, most taken-for-granted strength. In this case it was García and Fioretti’s unimpeachable probity, and the fact that they are out to help ordinary Chicagoans, not themselves.This is turning into the most important progressive election in the post-2014 era. Obama tagged himself with Rahm support. So did immigration champion Rep. Luiz Gutiérrez, of all people. Not just a watershed election, but a touchstone election as well. (You can support the Chuy Garcia campaign effort here. Please do with my ex-Chicago-resident thanks!)
This is not just a backhanded tribute to García’s integrity. It suggests a strategy for García to slay Goliath when he and Rahm go head-to-head in the April runoff.
I wonder if the Clintons, either or both, will weigh in. After all, Rahm is their kind of guy, "free" market to the core, privatizer to his last retaliating breath.
[Click to enlarge.]
If they do, remember — it's not just a watershed election; it's a touchstone election as well. Everyone who touches it reveals who they are.
UPDATE: Jesse Jackson
The latest polling shows Emanuel inching ahead of Chuy Garcia in the Chicago mayoral runoff. With 18% still undecided, Emanuel is showing 43.5% to Chuy's 38.0%. Working in Chuy's favor is the fact that "the Hispanic vote has consistently under-polled in Chicago Mayoral polls. Also, the undecided vote generally does not break for a known incumbent." But it is the African-American voters who will determine who wins and who loses April 7. As NBC Chicago explained; yesterday, endorsements are starting to come in that could be significant for moving African-American voters in Chuy's direction. Congressman Danny Davis just endorsed him yesterday.
Before the Feb. 24 election, Davis endorsed mayoral candidate Willie Wilson. The congressman's support in the runoff could be key to earning the African-American vote that both Garcia and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been actively courting.Probably the big news today is that Jesse Jackson is endorsing Chuy. Its something voters will pay attention to.
Both candidates are fighting for the 11 percent of the vote Wilson earned in the Feb. 24 race. A vote from Davis, who represents much of the predominantly African-American South Side, could help gain Garcia the votes he needs to beat Emanuel in the runoff election in April.
...Garcia picked up another big endorsement Saturday when a local Teamsters chapter announced its support for him. The union endorsed Emanuel in the 2011 race, but in their announcement Saturday they decried the mayor's serving "a select group of privileged insiders" and cast their vote for Garcia instead.
Nationally, progressives continue to rally around Chuy. Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed him and Xavier Becerra, a member of the House Democratic leadership-- someone who knows Rahm and has worked closely with him-- is said to be about to do the same thing. Alan Grayson lent Chuy his ace national finance director, David Keith, and he's working in Chicago as Deputy Campaign manager. And one more big endorsement from someone who knows Rahm very well. Late this morning Howard Dean endorsed Chuy.