April 4, 2015
Chuy for Mayor
By (University of Pennsylvania)

Most readers will know that Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a longtime progressive and respected elected official, after deciding to enter the mayor’s race at the urging of Karen Lewis, the Chicago Teachers Union President whose illness prevented her from running herself, forced Rahm Emanuel into a runoff. Many of you no doubt also know that in a recent poll Chuy scored in a virtual dead heat with Rahm with the election a few days away, on April 7.

We suspect that most nonsite readers recognize the potential importance of this election. Suffice to say that a Garcia victory next month would be a very significant statement against urban neoliberalism, arguably more significant than the de Blasio victory in New York. Rahm Emanuel, after all, has been both a local and national point of the lance for Democratic neoliberalism, privatization, attacks on public education and public services, and anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic politics more generally.

Chuy’s campaign has always been an uphill climb; Rahm’s campaign war chest has from the outset dwarfed his. Yet Chuy has hit important benchmarks all along the way. Forcing the runoff was a crucial victory. Now to have so nearly leveled the playing field in the polls a few weeks out from the final election is a signal that, although the task is still daunting, that Chicagoans who care about a responsive and fair local government can prevail and oust the corporate tool on April 7.

A key to victory will be generating turnout and contesting with Rahm’s organization on the largely black South and West Sides. Like both Daleys before Rahm has cultivated extensive networks of brokerage, cash and carry politics among both elected officials and  politically connected local business operatives and ministers. Chuy has support in those precincts and  among unions whose members vote in those wards and among independent and progressive elected officials, as the campaign link below attests. Between now and April 7 the campaign will need the most intensive and extensive field-level operation possible in those areas to carry the day. And as everyone knows those operations are labor and resource intensive.

That’s why I just made what for me is a sizable contribution to the campaign and why I’m asking you to do the same and to pass the request on to as many others as feasible in your networks. Chuy Garcia has much better than a puncher’s chance to send Rahm packing, but it will take a great grassroots effort to counter the power and resources of the machine and Rahm’s corporate allies, who include his old buddy Bruce Rauner, the reactionary private equities vulture billionaire and Republican governor now hell bent on destroying and privatizing the state’s public sector and driving down all workers’ living standards. Chuy’s impressive performance in the first primary has generated a fundraising flurry from Rahm’s hedge fund and developer base, who in the process have demonstrated their opposition to democracy and contempt for equality: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-campaign-cash-met-0310-20150309-story.html.

You can contribute to the campaign at this link:

http://www.chicagoforchuy.com/news/index.html

Please do as much as you can.

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About the Author

Adolph Reed, Jr. is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in race and American politics.


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