The Chicago mayoral election Tuesday is the political story of the day. The ballots cast in one my favorite cities has caused Mayor Rahm Emanuel great heartburn. Emanuel was unable to get a majority plus one vote in the election thereby forcing a runoff election in April against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
The Chicago Mayor had unions and businessmen and even President Obama on his side but failed to garner the biggest need that his campaign required. He failed at being liked by his city in the way and to the depth required to win an election against his far less-known opponents.
I have said to James throughout this election what I will write here. At the end of the election cycle Emanuel will win.
I will now have to add, based on what happened yesterday, that the win will be ugly in being attained. For the next six weeks some of the most intense and even brutal politics will be out in the open to be watched as the two finalists put all they have into the election.
I am not sure how Emanuel makes himself into a political commodity that is seen to be more ‘warm and engaging’, and if he really made such an attempt if would make the issue of being phony more a problem than his real-life brusque foul-mouthed nature. I am not sure how he more fully can address some of the issue like school closing an violence without opening wider divides in the electorate. But in reality he needs to do both. He needs to find a way to better connect with voters and address what needs to be top and center of this race.
When Emanuel talked about such matter in debates as schools and violence he could know the limited time to get past surface issues played to his campaign tactics. And with the weak lineup running against him there were great expectations of getting 50% plus one yesterday so he did not need to wade into the deeper more troubling waters surrounding some of these issues.
But now everything has changed.
More money will be needed to run a highly negative race and more thought given to how a far more unified anti-Emanuel bloc of voters must be handled come April’s election.
But of course many of these same problems needs to be addressed by Garcia. He needs money, more meat on the issues that he wants to tackle, while also needing to find a way to connect more personably with the electorate.
This all sets up a hard-nosed and noisy spring election in Chicago and presents to us one grand political show to watch.