Currently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot may be the worst mayor in America. Her mismanagement of the metropolis famously referred to as the “City of the Big Shoulders” has reached, for those of you familiar with recent events in New York, DeBlasisan heights.
Drive-by shootings occur with a frequency and fatality rate not seen there since the infamous 1920s beer wars. The public schools are failing, with recent reports showing far too many of the city’s children are simply not learning basic reading and math skills.
Lightfoot shows little concern. She and the coalition of activists who put her in office are far more worried about keeping the nation’s second city a haven for illegal immigrants, lawbreakers, deviants, protestors, vandals and the other societal outliers whom the progressive agenda seeks to serve and protect.
What’s most amazing is that, despite her mismanagement of so much, she still could win another term. The field of candidates contesting for the mayoralty in the upcoming Feb. 28 non-partisan primary is large enough that she might squeak through into the run-off just behind former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas.
The most recent polls show Vallas has the largest block of support but, at just about 25%, that’s not enough to avoid a runoff. The winner must be the choice of a majority of those casting ballots. If no one gets 50% of the vote plus one on the 28th, the top two finishers will advance to an April 4 runoff election.
Leave aside for a moment that if they didn’t exactly invent election fraud in Chicago, the Daley machine — named for the legendary and lamented Mayor Richard J. Daley — sure turned it into an art form. The reality of politics in America’s urban centers is that the radicals are now in charge.
Depending on the poll, Lightfoot is at or near the front of the pack of those fighting to win a place in the runoff. She, along with U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, are clustered together behind Vallas. Anyone of them could emerge based on organization, name ID and a willingness to pander to the special interests that turn out the vote.
Chicago used to be a nice place. On Lightfoot’s watch, the decay of civil society has exploded, driving people out to places near and far where they can live in relative safety without being taxed to death. Some, like Ken Griffin, the city’s wealthiest man, have relocated to Miami, taking his business and many of his employees with him.
Others who still must work in the city have moved outside Cook County. Some have even jumped the border to Northwestern Indiana, a manageable commute for those who are in fear daily of being mugged or worse on their way to or from the office.
This is helping tear down the city’s commercial base, taking vital tax dollars with it. The payouts the political leadership needs can’t be collected from Springfield and Washington anymore. They’re in deep trouble too, meaning whoever is in charge has to look somewhere else to keep the treasury filled.
For Chicago and cities like it, that’s an existential crisis. You can’t drive business out, as Lightfoot’s policies and maladministration have done, and expect to pay for the social programs needed to keep the voters in line.
Once a place where young Midwesterners went to pursue bigger if not better dreams, the metropolis the poet Carl Sandburg once called “Hog butcher to the world” verges on chaos. And, as people flee Chicago the divide between the red states and blue cities widens.
If the voters Tuesday put Lightfoot in the runoff, that trend likely continues.
Former UPI senior political writer and U.S. News and World Report columnist Peter Roff is a regular contributor to The Daily Caller. Contact him at RoffColumns AT gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter and TruthSocial @TheRoffDraft.
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