Adapt or die: Lessons for Republicans to be learned from Chicago’s mayoral election

Posted: April 13, 2023 by John Ruberry in Uncategorized
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By John Ruberry

“I heard my momma cry, I heard her pray the night Chicago died.” The Night Chicago Died, Paper Lace, 1974. 

Any doubt in my mind that Chicago would be the next Detroit evaporated last Tuesday night as election results came in showing that far-left Democrat Brandon Johnson would replace the disastrous Lori Lightfoot as mayor of Chicago. 

It was the night Chicago died.

There are serious lessons from this Democrat battle for Republicans. 

Moderate Democrat Paul Vallas, a policy wonk who can produce a white paper as easily as quickly as a Kardashian can upload skanky pics on Instagram, offered a commonsense solution to Chicago’s crime epidemic: hire more cops.

Woke triumphed over wonk.

Johnson, whose political career is a creation of the neo-Marxist Chicago’s Teacher Union, has a “roots cause” outlook in regard taking back Chicago. He favors sending social workers to domestic disturbances instead of police officers. And almost as if on cue on the day after the first round of voting for mayor, Andres Vasquez-Lasso, a 32-year-old cop, was shot to death responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Living just five miles north of Chicago, I agree with Johnson on one thing–there are many mentally disturbed people living in America’s third-largest city. Of course, there is one root cause leftists never speak of, the dominance of fatherless households in Chicago’s most-crime ridden neighborhoods

Six months ago, few Chicagoans had heard of Johnson. He’s been a Cook County commissioner since 2019, a rubber stamp body, for the most part, is controlled by Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle. She is also the chairman of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, aka, the Chicago Machine. 

Well, it was Chicago’s Machine.

The new machine in the city is the Chicago Teachers Union, which is aided by a couple of key allies, two other public-sector unions, SEIU and AFSCME. 

Johnson, after a few years as a teacher, where he admitted he never assigned homework, moved on to be a CTU organizer. In fact, he kept collecting about $100,000 a year from the union even though he was an elected official. 

And despite Johnson’s “defund the police” rhetoric from 2020, which be backed off of as his campaign gained traction before the February runoff, Johnson is Chicago’s mayor-elect.

With crime soaring in Chicago, how did that happen? 

That’s easy, it was that new machine, CTU and friends, that got Johnson elected. 

“They were brilliant,” former ABC Chicago political analyst Clarence Thomas told Chicago’s Morning Answer Dan Proft last week of CTU. “They did it, they went door to door, they knocked on doors, they found those vote by mail ballots, and said, ‘Hey, let’s fill this out, let’s send this in.'”

Vallas, meanwhile, ran a conventional political campaign, heavy on collecting corporate campaign contributions, big-name endorsements including Dick Durbin, former governor Pat Quinn, recently retired six-term Illinois secretary of state Jesse White, and many Chicago alderpersons. Illinois’ most-read newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, endorsed Vallas.

That was a wonderful strategy–that is, if Vallas was a candidate for mayor of Chicago in 1991. 

How many doors did Dick Durbin knock for Vallas? Or Quinn? How many voters did the Chicago Tribune reach out by way of text messaging, reminding them when, where, and how to vote? How many voters did Jesse White contact in regard to receiving a mail-in ballot? How many social media private messages did those pro-Vallas alderpersons send? How many people got rides to polling places from those corporate megadonors? 

The answer to those questions is the same: almost certainly zero.

The Chicago Teachers Union game plan that got Brandon Johnson elected will be replicated by leftists nationwide in 2024. Listen, I hate early voting and I despise mail-in ballots, but until the rules are changed–and that is, if they are changed–Republicans have to adapt to the new ballgame. 

The CTU looked for voters, found them, and they made sure they voted for Johnson last week–as well as the two weeks prior to Election Day. A low turnout–about 35 percent—clearly upped the odds for CTU/Johnson.

As for that abysmal turnout, shame on you, Chicago.

One more thing about Vallas. When he conceded on election night, he trailed Johnson about 10,000 votes. But that evening there were still around 50,000 outstanding mail-in ballots, and yes, they are still trickling in and being counted. Vallas learned too late that the game had changed. He knew the great majority of those mail-in ballots were from Johnson voters. 

Get to work, Republicans. Find out who your voters are, connect with them, stay in touch with them, and get them to vote.

And yes, knock on doors. More people can be found at home now, many people work from there. Times have changed. 

Adapt or die.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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