Thursday, April 5, 2018

Where's the progressive coalition in Chicago's race for mayor?

Who will get the anti-Rahm vote?
The thing I worry about is that the Chicago mayor's race will be an expensive governor's race redux without a progressive/left coalition ready or willing to back an anti-machine candidate strong enough to take advantage of Rahm Emanuel's obvious vulnerabilities and at least make it to a runoff.

The Sanders-left seemed to have gone underground leading up to the gov's race, leaving us with tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum and tweedle-Pritzker to choose from. One unimaginable scenario in the mayor's race has the unions and community groups rallying behind Rahm or Vallas as the winnable lesser of evils.

The expensive part of the race was already assured when perennial candidate Willie Wilson gave his own campaign $100K, thus erasing all state-imposed fundraising limits. Not that there was any doubt, but now MRE and his growing field of challengers will be able to raise unlimited amounts of money. Of course, this favors Rahm and big-money candidates like Paul Vallas and Garry McCarthy just as it favored billionaires J.B. Pritzker and Bruce Rauner in the gov primary.

Natasha Korecki writes in Politico:
This time, as viable candidates line up to challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2019 and slice up vote totals, there’s a prevailing theory: a runoff election already looks like an inevitability. Emanuel is sure to be one of the two top candidates who make it to the second round. 
So then the question really becomes this: who in the field (announced and unannounced) can take out the mayor in a one-to-one matchup? Three years ago, Garcia spent the opening weeks of the runoff on the road working to raise more money. The cash-flush Emanuel pounced to quickly quell Garcia’s momentum with oppo research dumps and subsequent negative TV ads. 
The political dynamics have dramatically changed for the mayor in this post-Laquan McDonald era. But if Emanuel squeaks into a run-off and is still the better-funded incumbent to beat, who is best suited to exploit his vulnerabilities, particularly within the African American community?
The growing list of candidates will badly divide the anti-Rahm votes, leaving him in position to win the opening round with only 30% of the votes. The word is that Vallas and McCarthy have already cut a deal, assuring that the one with the least votes will back the other in a runoff election.

Troy on Chicago Tonight
My choice so far, but campaign long-shot, Troy LaRaviere, did a nice job telling Chicago Tonight's Phil Ponce why he wanted the job.

As always, Troy was sharp on ed issues.
He spoke out against the privatization of school janitorial services, charter schools and the lack of sufficient funding for special education. He was especially critical of the use of what he said were excessive standardized tests to judge school and student performance.
 He also made it clear that the pension issue couldn't be resolved without a progressive tax and revenue system that didn't put the entire burden on the poor while ignoring those "who have more money than they can spend in their lifetime".

But aside from being able to garner black and Latino community support, unite the progressive movement (including the CTU, SEIU and other unions) behind his campaign and raise a hefty number of millions in his war chest (he told Ponce, he hasn't started fundraising yet), Troy's team needs to develop a solid campaign strategy. He's got to convince the unions and other potential backers that he can run with the big dogs. He's also got to take on more than Rahm, but Vallas/McCarthy as well, if he is even to make it into a runoff. The danger is that Vallas, the least vetted of the candidates, will skate unscathed into second place.

Troy has been a two-time guest on Hitting Left. Here's a podcast of an earlier appearance.

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