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The Mayor's Race, in Black and White

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The Mayor's Race, in Black and White
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The Tribune once wrote that the “crowning glory” of Richard M. Daley’s mayoralty was ending the racial conflict that earned Chicago the nickname “Beirut on the Lake.”

Well, Mayor Daley is leaving us, and race is back as a campaign issue! The black community, the city’s largest ethnic bloc, feels it has been shut out of power for the last 22 years, and it’s taking offense at anyone who would help extend that losing streak. Today, Rep. Danny Davis issued a letter revoking Bill Clinton’s ghetto pass for the offense of endorsing Rahm Emanuel. Clinton, you may remember, was known as the first black president before Barack Obama became the first black president:

The African American community has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Clintons, however it appears as though some of that relationship maybe fractured and perhaps even broken should former President Clinton come to town and participate overtly in efforts to thwart the legitimate political aspirations of Chicago’s Black community.

We respectfully request and urge former President Clinton not to become involved in the Chicago Mayoral Election.

Meanwhile, in Monday’s Sun-Times, columnist Neil Steinberg wrote an article that began as a criticism of Carol Moseley Braun, but then mocked “the egomaniacal muddle that Chicago black leadership has slid into, where calls for imaginary and self-destructive racial solidarity trump minor concerns like reason or history.”

Steinberg went on to write, “I hope some ambitious University of Chicago sociology graduate student does her masters thesis on the search for a so-called 'consensus' candidate among the marginalized black power structure in Chicago; it would make for a fascinating study in magical thinking.” And he concluded that Harold Washington’s only achievement as mayor was “making part of the population feel better about themselves.”

Steinberg also went after the black press, charging that an N’DIGO poll showing Moseley Braun leading Rahm Emanuel among blacks was conducted among “friends of the publisher” -- Hermene Hartman.

Hartman, an early supporter of Barack Obama -- the president who emerged from that egomaniacal, muddled black community -- responded with a blog post that testily connects Steinberg, who lives in Northbrook, with Bill Clinton, The New York Times and other non-Chicagoans celebrating Emanuel’s campaign. 

ONLY CHICAGOANS VOTE, IT SHOULD BE SO NOTED. This is where the Steinbergs of the world need to stop, look and listen. Chicago is a tale of two people, one white and one black. The White side is often out of touch with the Black side and vice versa. The Hispanics can swing an election, while a mass black turn out can determine one. It has happened many times. Downtown media did not call the win of Harold Washington. He caught them by surprise, the Black community was waiting and watching. 

Activist Wallace "Gator" Bradley is helping organize a noon protest outside the Sun-Times, demanding Steinberg's firing.

 

The white community has had no trouble settling on a candidate -- and using all its power to make sure that candidate wins. Nadig Newspapers political columnist Russ Stewart is also a lawyer who represented one of the objectors at Rahm Emanuel’s residency hearing. Stewart believes that Emanuel gave up his Chicago residency when he moved to Washington, but is being clouted onto the ballot by the same power brokers who shoved Tom Dart out of the race:

But Emanuel is the sole remaining white candidate on the 2011 ballot, and a phalanx of political insiders have a vested interest in his election. They cleared out the white field for Emanuel, and don’t relish the prospect of a Hispanic or black mayor. The electoral board decision will be appealed by the loser to the Circuit Court, and by that loser to the Illinois Supreme Court. 

My prediction: The Illinois Supreme Court has a 4-3 Democratic majority. Expect a ruling that Emanuel’s non-residence was due to federal “business,” akin to military service, and that he is entitled to ballot placement. When that occurs, the election is over. Emanuel will be the next mayor. 

 Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!

The whites have one candidate. The blacks and Latinos have two apiece. Is it any wonder they’re about to be outhustled again?  

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