I was once told, by an employee of the Cook County Democratic Party, that there’s no such thing as “the Machine.” Which reminded me of the quote from Charles Baudelaire that the devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn’t exist. (Modern filmgoers may recognize that line from The Usual Suspects, where it is uttered by Verbal Kint.)
In any case, the Machine that supposedly doesn’t exist mailed out its endorsement list this week, just in time for early voting. It’s an attractive flyer whose cover declares, “A New Day Is Dawning,” a curious motto for an organization which has held uninterrupted power in Chicago since 1931.
Inside are messages from party chairman Joe Berrios and Secretary of State Jesse White, both informing voters that America can only move forward if they blindly vote for candidates selected at party slating sessions.
Writes White: “Please join me and help keep the promise of America alive by voting for the entire Democratic slate.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is on the flyer, too, asking Democrats “to support candidates who will fight for a strong middle class, a fair society and a bright future for our children.”
The party does indeed believe in a bright future for our children -- especially if they’re the children of Democratic politicians.
Here are the endorsed Democrats who will bring A New Day to Cook County:
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Kari K. Steele
Patrick Daley Thompson
Cook County State’s Attorney
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Dorothy A. Brown
Recorder of Deeds
Karen A. Yarbrough
What all these politicians share is that they are either current elected officials or the offspring of elected officials. Kari K. Steele is the daughter of former 6th Ward alderman and Appellate Court Judge John Steele. Patrick Daley Thompson is the grandson of Mayor Richard J. Daley and the nephew of Mayor Richard M. Daley. They have both been endorsed over Patricia Horton, a sitting MWRD commissioner.
It will actually be a new day in Cook County when the children and grandchildren of politician aren’t given precedence over experienced incumbents. Until then, the Democratic Party has a curious slogan.
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