Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Will this finally be the end of the line for Rahm? One can only hope.

Rahm's pal David Axelrod hints that Rahm may not run. 
Despite the many millions in his campaign warchest, there are signs that Mayor 1% is vulnerable in the upcoming election and possibly won't even make it to a runoff. Some of his closest friends and advisors are even dropping hints that Rahm Emanuel may choose not to run again, depending on how bad things look over the coming months.

I doubt it.

Sun-Times political reporter Fran Spielman says this about Rahm's chances:
The political deck appears to be so stacked against Emanuel, some political observers wonder why he’s running and whether he will finish first, second or even third.
 He has imposed a nearly $2 billion avalanche of tax increases to solve a pension crisis his predecessor left behind.
He’s caught in a vice between police reform advocates demanding a say in a consent decree outlining federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department and police officers who accuse him of “turning his back” on them at a time when he needs those officers to fight violent crime aggressively.
African-American voters who elected him in 2011, then re-elected him even after he closed a record 50 public schools, are unlikely to trust him again after his handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.
And the trial of Jason Van Dyke, the white Chicago Police officer accused of firing the 16 shots that killed the 17-year-old McDonald is likely to be held in the run-up to the mayoral election now just nine months away.
Victor Reyes, a former Daley political consultant, thinks Rahm will make it, but...
To go into the runoff with the wind at his back, Reyes said Emanuel needs more than 50 percent of the white vote, 40 percent of the Latino vote and 35 percent of the black vote. 
The more Latino votes he gets, the more black votes he can stand to lose. 
“It’s very tough. It’ll be his hardest election. His path is narrow. But I think he’ll get it,” Reyes said.
“His fundraising advantage is No. 1. Incumbency is No. 2. And no Latino in the race is No. 3 . . . They don’t have money. They don’t have name recognition. It’s a younger community. And there’s not a lot of unity.”
Then there's Rahm's political advisor, David Axelrod who drops this on us...
Although Emanuel is raising money at a frenzied pace and positioning himself to run for re-election, he has not yet formally declared his candidacy for a third-term.
“Until someone says that they’re running there’s always a chance they may not,” Axelrod said.
“I don’t think he’s under any pressure to decide that today, tomorrow or in the next few weeks as long as he does the things that preserve the option, such as raising the money. My counsel to him would be, there’s no rush on this. Take a gut check at the appropriate time and make sure this is what you want to do.”
I heard the same, off-the-record, from a Rahm confidant a few weeks ago.

For more Chicago mayor-race chatter, observation, and speculation, tune in Friday at 11 a.m. CDT, to Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers, streaming live at http://www.lumpenradio.com/ with in-studio guest, political mover and shaker, Amara Enyia.

Then, just when people were starting to forget about Rahm's disastrous school closings, out comes a new damaging report from the University of Chicago showing that CPS closing of 50 schools, mostly in the city's African-American community, led to academic setbacks for the affected students.
“Academic outcomes were neutral at best and negative in some instances,” according to the 88-page report.
As one observer tweeted:
The mayor with overwhelming City Council approval, closed 6 of 12 mental health clinics and 50 public schools, claiming they can’t afford them ($803 million combined cost). But they suddenly found $95 million for a new police academy. 
To top it all off, CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler, whose investigation led the FBI to Barbara Byrd-Bennett, yesterday came out with a new report showing that Rahm's hand-picked school board appointee Deborah Quazzo was complicit in BBB's illegal kickback schemes.

The Sun-Times reports that Rahm's former school chief accepted lavish meals at some of the city’s priciest restaurants from a CPS vendor whose investors included Quazzo. 
Quazzo violated the school system’s ethics code by talking up her companies’ products to CPS principals and introducing them to company representatives — which she at first denied to Schuler she’d done but acknowledged after being shown emails proving that.
We'll see how much this blows back on the mayor or gives impetus to the push for an elected school board. 

S-T columnist Laura Washingtonpredicts a long, hot summer for the mayor.
This summer will host sizzling court trials involving allegations of deadly police misconduct. There’s plenty of hot water there, and Emanuel is stuck in the deep end of the pool.
How will Emanuel handle the heat? Some political insiders speculate that if his poll numbers don’t turn up soon, he may call it quits, and decline to run for a third term.
I expect he will keep his cool and carry on. Alas, his controlled, bloodless style may be part of the problem.
Another indicator of summer problems for the mayor is the potential for a rise in gun violence. Last weekend saw at least eight Chicagoans killed and 30 wounded in street shootings.

It's still early but no Latino candidate in the race certainly helps Rahm's chances. Right now it looks to me like Lori Lightfoot has the best chance of pulling away from Rahm's other eight contenders. She has strong fund-raising capabilities, creds in the police reform scene, and a strong team behind her. 

Paul Vallas and Garry McCarthy, the great white hopes in the race, have already cut a deal between themselves for one to support the other if one of them is more likely to win, thereby keeping a black candidate out of the runoff. But there's always the possibility that between them, they could pull enough white votes from the northwest and southwest sides to move Rahm into third place in the primary. 

Lots of ifs there, I know.

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