Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A fight worth fighting

The fight was worth fighting.
While Rahm Emanuel had all the money in the world to pound home his message, Garcia had believers willing to battle Goliath in Chicago’s neighborhoods and City Council. -- Carol Marin, Sun-Times
Okay, I still haven't quite got my head fully around yesterday's election outcomes. Lots of contradictory thoughts and emotions. I'm feeling battered and bruised but not surprised by Emanuel's 12-point margin of victory. It turns out he got almost exactly the same vote he received in 2011. How could that have happened?

I left the precinct where I had worked all day, in the 15th Ward, feeling jubilant. Our team had helped turn out lots of voters leading to an 82% win for Chuy and underdog Rafael Yanez losing by only 2 votes. Talk about a tale of two (or three) cities!

But then my emotions came crashing down when I turned on the radio to hear that Chuy had lost with both the black and white vote going heavily Rahm's way as it had done in 2011.

Looking back now, I'm buoyed by how well Chuy Garcia and the progressive movement showed in a campaign that few believed could even get past February primaries. Yes, lots of mistakes were made and I'm sure there will be plenty of time to rethink the campaign's coalition-building strategy and tactics. I hope that can be done as free from recrimination and blaming as possible. In my mind, it's never been about one campaign or one election.

And what about those ward elections where so many insurgent progressives, running with little or no money, kicked butt on Rahm's machine-bankrolled city council stooges? Even the pundits who bought into Rahm's fictional media narratives are now forced to admit that the face and shape of Chicago politics has been changed.

I hear that Sue Garza is now widening her lead over Rahm's lap-dog, John Pope and looks like a winner in the 10th Ward. Wow! Check out Kari Lydersen's piece in In These Times for the Garza back story. And it looks like Milly Santiago has defeated Ray Suarez, Rahm's deputy mayor, in the 31st.

Sue Sadlowski Garza (center) and supporters.  (Kari Lydersen)  
Progressive stalwart John Arena has won in the 45th despite having a target on his back, drawn by Rahm's Chicago Forward superPAC. He along with Scott Waguespack (32nd), Toni Foulkes (15th), and Nick Sposato (36th) and Rick Munoz (22nd) will form the core of veteran leadership for the Council's Progressive Caucus (minus sellout Bob Fioretti) which now includes, Chris Taliaferro (29th), David Moore (17th) and Carlos Rosa (35th). Put Garza and Santiago in the mix and you've got a formidable opposition to Rahm Love.

I'm hearing that Tara Stamps gave incumbent machine tool Emma Mitts a helluva run for her money, losing by only 500 votes. Tara is the daughter of late Civil Rights activist Marion Stamps and is a CPS teacher and Chicago Teachers Union supporter. Her political future looks bright to me.

More broke machine tools include Ward 41 incumbent Mary O’Connor, Ward 18 incumbent Lona Lane, Ward 7 incumbent Natashia Holmes, and Ward 29 incumbent Deborah L. Graham. Their political futures looks dim.
"A pretty good night for the caucus, and mainly for what the caucus stands for — independence," Sposato said Wednesday morning. "A bad night to be a rubber-stamper, good night for the independents."
Yes, money still talks in big city as well as state and national politics. But in Chicago's neighborhoods, where community organizing was invented, independent and progressive politics trumped machine dollars. Citywide, where the cards are really stacked against us, the fight was and is still worth it.

It goes on.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.