Brandon Johnson, the Cook County Commissioner very few people had heard of, defeated Paul Vallas in the run-off for Chicago Mayor on April 4, ending the hope that many had to reverse the pro-crime policies that have made Chicago even more dangerous today than it was a decade ago..
Don’t believe that the major issues between the two candidates had an impact of determining the election outcome. Johnson’s activists lied about Vallas and about their own candidate’s truth.
Vallas criticized Johnson for his numerous statements calling to defund the police, his support of looters who destroyed businesses in the summer riots of 2020, and his resistance to the badly needed drive to toughen punishments for criminals, especially those who used guns in their crimes.
Johnson criticized Vallas for his actions as a former Schools CEO claiming his polices forced an increase in property taxes, accused him of being a “Trump Republican,” and called him homophobic. In a way, the Johnson attacks against Vallas were driven by a new kind of racism that dominates Chicago, against Whites, Hispanics and anyone who believes that criminals need to be discouraged by tougher punishments, not by coddling or easing punishments on criminals.
It seemed that the issue of crime was most important on the minds of the voters in Chicago at least those who have miraculously managed to avoid being killed or injured by policies that empower and encourage the rampaging criminals, carjackers and violent thugs.
Cook County Commissioner Johnson authored a resolution after the looting in 2020 to “redirect funds from policing and incarceration to public services not administered by law enforcement that promote community health and safety equitably.”
He can’t deny it, but he did.
Johnson’s activism to defend criminals and undermine police got little play mainly because there were so many other more outspoken anti-police politicians doing worse, like Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx. No one paid attention to Johnson as a Cook County Commissioner so his radical statements in defense of criminals never really nurtured in the public mind allowing him to zig-zag around it during the election with the backing of the New Political Machine.
The analysts, all predicting Vallas would win, are spinning this explanation as to why he lost: Chicago voters are concerned about crime but not enough to make defunding the police and support of looters less important than claims that Vallas was somehow tied to Trump, which is an outright lie. The media which got the election wrong again, is trying to argue that the election turnout means crime is NOT the number one concern of Chicago residents.
So, what is the real reason why Johnson won and Vallas lost?
Despite the post-election media spin, the significance of crime is one of the most important issues facing the City of Chicago. Gun violence — in a City that Bans guns, mind you — remains a serious threat. Foxx and politicians like her are easing punishments on criminals, who are not stupid. They understand the consequences that they will face lesser punishment in Cook County then they would in other counties like Will or DuPage.
While everyone wants to make the election all about race, it really wasn’t race that was driving how people voted, although Johnson energized his backers with racism tropes. Vallas, who is White, had many African American and Hispanic supporters. Johnson, who is Black, had many White and Hispanic supporters.
The pundits want to blur Johnson’s anti-police sentiments and convince you that the results show voters are more concerned about property tax hikes, and poverty, and improving education, all very important issues, than they are about crime.
But are these issues really more important than crime? The new political Machine wanted you to believe it is about race.
If a criminal kills you, it doesn’t matter how much education you have, what your property taxes are, or whether or not you have a good job or are on welfare.
Being soft on crime was marginalized by an even greater force.
The Johnson Political Machine pushed his candidacy irrelevant of the issues.
Johnson also had the backing of Lightfoot’s AND FOXX’S activists, two anti-police icons in Cook County. (The election map shows that Johnson won the same areas that Lightfoot won. Neither Lightfoot nor Foxx had to formally endorse Johnson. They all shared the exact same policies against police. And endorsement would have been anti-climactic.
As it was true before, it is true today. Chicago’s New Political Machine determines election results, especially during low turnouts like the paltry 35 percent who went to the polls, despite weeks of “Early Voting” and eased restrictions on who can or cannot vote. Voting by everyone isn’t important any more. What is important to the New Political Machine is Who Votes, meaning they have very specific target audiences!
Election board data is still being tabulated, but the vote totals this week show Johnson has 51.44 percent or 287,557 votes, and Vallas has 48.56, or 271,443 ballots.
The difference between the two is only 16,114. That’s out of 560,123 total votes cast.
Johnson has a Machine. Not a new one that has been building influence and power over the years and that controls the City of Chicago.
Remember all that talk about re-aligning power in the City Council to give voters in each ward a stronger voice through their aldermen to influence city policies?
That’s being derailed by people claiming it is “racist” and pushing to ensure Mayor-elect Johnson retains mayoral control. (Had it been reversed, Johnson and his allies would be screaming about efforts to deny citizens more ward based power. and the weakening of the Mayor.)
The Chicago Teachers Union, which spends mightily to get salaries for their organizers, twists and distorts issues to justify more pay hikes for teachers. And what teacher in crime-ridden Chicago wants to complain about getting more money?
Johnson also had AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, which is a part of the AFL-CIO union.
Those two organizations have an army of “precinct captains” who are led by far Left activists determined to gut the police, protect criminals from prosecution and secure as much money for their members as possible.
I’m not against teachers making more money, although government pensions are outrageous and need to be adjusted moving forward. But AFSCME is preventing that kind of reform.
I am against the ideology of hate directed against the Police. Criminals should be prosecuted and punished. That is being defined as a new form of racism by “White” people.
I am not against teachers. They should be safe, earn wages that can address today’s economic turmoil — but that’s something everyone needs, not just teachers.
We are in a new era where Machine Politics and transformed and continues to decides Chicago’s future. The only thing left is for those who fled the violence in Chicago to the suburbs to prevent that Chicago criminal drive to expand to their own communities.
Suburbanites: You are next.
(Ray Hanania is a former Chicago City Hall reporter and award winning columnist. Visit his website at www.Hanania.com.)
Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of PakistanWeek.org