Vote for Rahm and Move Chicago Forward

After two decades of rule under Chicago's benevolent dictator, Mayor Richard M. Daley, democracy has returned to the city of Chicago. Unfortunately, our mayoral candidates have not lived up to the moment, with the exception of Rahm Emanuel. While Emanuel has not been forced to talk about policy as much as one would have hoped, Real Politik Chicago overwhelmingly endorses him for mayor of Chicago.

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Real Politik Chicago endorses Rahm Emanuel for mayor

The mayoral race began with the tired exercise of selecting candidates around ethnic lines. Candidates spent more time talking about their skin color and last names than whether they were Republicans or Democrats; Greens or Libertarians. It reminded me of the 1950s.

We have obviously forgotten that this is Chicago, not Baghdad. How can we criticize others for selecting their candidates for being Sunni, Shiite or Kurd, when we are just as guilty of indulging in identity politics?

The intense focus on the candidates' ethnic backgrounds is a symptom of one party rule. Conventional wisdom says that a Republican cannot be elected in Chicago. When all of the candidates are Democrats with similar views, then ethnicity, race and class are the only cards left to play. Chicago deserved better.

While racial issues took precedent at the start of the race, class warfare is now the order d'jour. In order to chip away at Emanuel's lead in the polls, his opponents Gery Chico and Carol Moseley Braun are attacking Mr. Emanuel for being raised in the suburbs. Perhaps they are worried that he will divert funds from Chicago Public Schools to build a new football field at his alma mater, New Trier, or hold staff meetings at Ravinia Festival. It is a wrong-headed approach and voters should not be taken in by the rouse.

This same line of thought led Chico and Braun to criticize Emanuel's experience in
Washington in an attempt to label him as a Chicago outsider. It is sad that I have to write this, but Emanuel's experience as a
state legislator and member of the Clinton and Obama
administrations should be thought of as major credentials - not
liabilities.

For the record, I would rather the mayor of our city come straight from working at the White House, instead of at a law firm that specializes in representing companies that have contracts with the city, like Mr. Chico, or starting organic fruit companies with loans from campaign donors, like Mrs. Braun. When Chico and Braun resort to attacking Emanuel for going to school at New Trier and working for the President, I think that tells us all we need to know.

A word about Miguel del Valle. Del Valle has largely stayed away from the excesses of Chico and Braun. If Emanuel was not in the race, he would be my choice for mayor. However, there is no doubt that Emanuel has more impressive credentials and will bring a broader perspective to governing Chicago than Miguel del Valle.

On a policy level, it will be necessary for the next
mayor of Chicago to work effectively with
Springfield and Washington to improve Chicago Public Schools, balance
the city budget, reduce corruption and fight crime - specifically by
implementing more effective hand gun legislation in our city.

These are the issues we should care about. It would have been nice to hear the candidates talk more about them - as opposed to their ethnic groups and where they went to high school. Say what you will about Mayor Daley, but he was the mayor of all Chicagoans - not just the White and Irish. Hopefully Emanuel will continue that legacy.
Vote for Rahm and help move Chicago forward.
Contact Jeremy Berrington at realpolitikchicago@gmail.com
Follow Real Politik Chicago at twitter.com/realpolitikchi

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  • Given the contenders, Rahm looks like the only realistic choice. But is he any more than the best of a bad situation? Is Chicago even capable or better? After watching the post-Daley spectacle, I don't think she is. Enjoy your new king Chicago

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