Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A retro trend in Chicago politics

Bill Daley, the man from JPMorgan.
They used to call it "plantation politics." The Tribune's Clarence Page has traced the origins of the metaphor to refer to the old Daley political machine in Chicago, a regime built on racism, patronage and corruption that ruled the city for decades.
A Dec. 13, 1987, Chicago Tribune article traced the phrase to a speech that political consultant Don Rose wrote in 1966 for [then aldermanic candidate] Timuel Black's crusade against the Democratic machine of Mayor Richard J. Daley. It later became a rallying cry in Harold Washington's successful 1983 campaign to become the city's first black elected mayor.
It's hard for me to believe that more than 50 years later, this city's voters, especially African-American voters, will opt to return to Daley-style politics, especially at a time when progressive candidates of color are chalking up victories over old-guard Democrats here, and in cities and towns across the country. And yet, here we are, with Bill Daley--a personification of old plantation politics, only now with a boatload of corporate cash at his disposal, and a stint in the Obama administration on his resume--opportunistically jumping into the mayor's race now that Rahm Emanuel has pulled out.

“I would not do that to a friend,” he explained, as to why he didn’t enter the race earlier.

It must be noted that the inability of the city progressives -- the 2015 Bernie Sanders coalition -- to unite around a black or Latino candidate early in the race, has opened the door wide for a return of the machine. As has the inability of anybody in the current field to move beyond single digits in the polls.

TALE OF TWO CITIES...To those who would argue that we've moved beyond racial politics in Chicago, I would have them look at this recent survey showing how different the city looks, depending on which racial or class lens you're looking through.
One example: A stunning 97 percent of white college graduates—83 percent of them “strongly"—said they "would recommend living in my neighborhood in Chicago to a friend or family member." That’s near-universal approval, and an indication that parts of the city now have huge appeal, at least to certain demographic groups.
But among African-American college graduates, the “strongly agree” figure drops to 48 percent, and among all Hispanics (not just college grads) to 41 percent.
Similarly, 58 percent of white college grads indicated they strongly believe Chicago is a good place to get a job, but only 47 percent of non-college whites concurred, and 29 percent of blacks.
No matter the perception, Chicago's become a near-impossible place for many, if not most, to live, work, or raise a family. Not only is the plantation gone (too many revolts), but so is the industrial era as well. Thus, the shocking mass exodus of displaced African-American families from the city and its school system and the attempt to replace them with wealthier, corporate, white techies and professionals.

Crain's editorial graphic
A Crain's Chicago Business editorial posted their corporate agenda (Next mayor must keep business at top of City Hall priority list).
Here's hoping one of the mayoral wannabes takes a plank from Emanuel's platform and fights for the interests of business. And if none of the current contenders is smart enough to do so, here's hoping a better candidate emerges.
A day later Bill Daley announced his candidacy. Coincidence? I think not.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.