Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rahm can still be had

I'm happy and a bit overwhelmed to see Karen Lewis tweeting again. Way to go Karen.

I haven't seen any new polls since Karen fell ill, but my sense is that Rahm Emanuel can still be had in February and is beatable, either in a run-off, or head-to-head, by Ald. Bob Fioretti.

Nothing I read or hear tells me that Rahm, even with his bulging cash reservoir, has moved past the 50% mark with likely voters. He is still the most despised man in Chicago, especially in the black community where his legacy of school closings and failed education policies and sabotaged city services and programs are devastating entire neighborhoods.

Before Karen's illness, Fioretti seemed at least viable in the polls, even before actually campaigning. Some polls were actually showing him running second, behind Karen. Back in August, Tribune polls showed that,
"...even a mostly unknown potential challenger — 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti — has gained surprising traction... a sign that there's a sizable contingent of anyone-but-Emanuel voters. The mayor had 43 percent in the hypothetical matchup with Fioretti, while 23 percent were undecided."
Now, everything has changed except that Rahm most likely, hasn't gained any ground.

Can be beat. 
I know it won't be easy. Fioretti's campaign still hasn't really gotten off the ground and lots of us are still walking with our heads hung down and thinking more about Karen's recovery than about elections, The media naturally is focused on the governor's race, which hasn't exactly electrified voters.

And worse, the city's labor coalition still can't seem to pull itself together and get in sync with the parent and community groups who would like to see the Little Emperor fall. That includes the shame-faced leadership of SEIU Local 73 who contributed thousands of union members' dollars to Rahm's campaign chest.  The unions are the only force right now, with the money and organization to turn out enough voters for a Rahm upset, either by Fioretti or some combination of viable emerging candidates (Are there any? Rumors abound).

I'm also getting tired of "charisma" experts and those who tell me, "it's not about elections, it about building the movement." From what I can see, that kind of thinking leads to no election victory and not much of a movement. How can you fight Rahm's autocratic, two-Chicago policies in the neighborhoods while surrendering political power to him in City Hall?

Then there's the question of the viability of the many progressive local city council campaigns who are really up against it, without the money and dynamics of a strong run against Rahm. My hope is that after November's races, we will recover, get unified and get our act together behind Fioretti.


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