What Kind of Democrat Will Run Chicago?
The mayoral race is now between a “mainstream” Democrat and another progressive activist.
Chicago has ousted derelict Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and the triumphant leading candidates, Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson, will go on to a runoff in April. Chicago is at a crossroads of sorts. In this deep-blue stronghold that has not had a Republican mayor in 92 years, the residents are choosing between a relatively moderate Democrat or another progressive activist.
Brandon Johnson started his career as a public school teacher on the Northside of Chicago. He is heavily endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union, Illinois Federation of Teachers, and SEIU Healthcare. His focus is on many things such as equity, reform in policing, education, environmental justice, and gender equality.
In his victory speech Tuesday night, he talked about himself and smeared his opponent instead of explaining what he is going to do for the people of Chicago. An interesting tactic for a victory speech. Vallas “is someone who is supported by the January 6 insurrectionists,” he claimed. “He switched parties when President Barack Obama became president of the United States. He went as far as to say he’s more of a Republican than anything else. He says he fundamentally opposes abortion.”
You know you’re in Chicago when the worst insult someone can throw at you is that you’re too conservative a Democrat. As far as opposing abortion, most Democrats opposed abortion a few decades ago.
Johnson is a supporter of defund the police. He stands on grievance-based identity politics. In his speech, he said: “A hundred years from now … the question will be, did we do everything in our power to stand up to systemic racism? Or did we flinch?” He went on to explain that under his mayoral reign, funding for the police and the jails would be “reinvested” in the community.
Chicago has already suffered under the tender ministrations of a “progressive” mayor who put left-wing ideology as her priority. Look what happened. Crime went through the roof. Education went down the toilet. Chicago has already seen the damage of a politician who was put into office on the strength of her intersectional politics and grievance theories. But there is always a chance the Windy City chooses Johnson.
Paul Vallas was the leading favorite throughout the campaign season. He is a native Chicagoan and has been the CEO of Chicago Public Schools. This race was his second bid for the mayoral position.
Vallas is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and even has several donors who have voted Republican in the past. Vallas’s campaign focus is and always has been on crime and public safety, as well as education, which he has called a “civil rights issue.”
Vallas garnered 33.1% of the overall vote and in his victory speech remained focused on what he would do for the citizens of the Windy City. Vallas reiterated: “Public safety is the fundamental right of every American. It is a civil right. And it is the principle responsibility of government, and we will have a safe Chicago. We will make Chicago the safest city in America.” This is a very ambitious goal, but serious intervention is needed to curb the criminal activity in the city.
Residents of Chicago have made it clear that the progressive policies under Lightfoot were devastating to the non-criminal population. Crime has soared under her watch. In 2019, her first year as mayor, there were 502 murders; in 2020, 778; in 2021, 794; and in 2022, 692. 2023 has only just begun, and as of March 1, there have been 84 murders in Chicago.
Vallas and Johnson represent a fundamental difference in understanding of crime and punishment. Vallas holds the view that if a person commits a crime, he or she should do the time. Johnson believes that the system is the problem and that people are victims of that system first and criminals second.
There is now a 50% chance that a criminal will get away with murder. This nationwide stat comes from deep-blue cities that are seeing the fruits of their leftist policies come to bare. A primary reason for this decline in justice is that after the death of George Floyd, the leftist “systemic racism” lie and the ensuing “defund the policy” insanity propagated by the so-called “Black Lives Matter” radicals, resulted in an unprecedented crime surge in black communities. There was a 30% increase in murders nationwide, leading to the deaths of 2,244 more black people.
In Chicago, this low clearance of solved homicide cases is even worse than the 50% national average. In 2021, according to Chicago’s PBS station WTTW, “The clearance rate by prosecution was 21.7% in predominately Black neighborhoods, yet 45.6% in predominantly White neighborhoods.”
We shall see, come April, if Chicagoans are going to address their crime problem with a mayor who believes the police and incarceration of criminals are the problem, or with a mayor who believes criminals — who are devastating families with their wonton lawlessness — should be held to account.
Image credit: TDKR Chicago 101 (here and here), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
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