Monday, January 26, 2015

Can Obama’s “Rahm plea” overcome Wilson’s millions in campaign cycle?

It will be interesting to see how the airwaves war in South and West side Chicago plays out in coming weeks.

Willie Wilson, the one-time McDonalds operator who turned those franchises into a fortune, has made it clear he plans to spend some millions of dollars of his own money to buy airtime on the radio stations appealing to inner-city Chicago – in hopes of being able to achieve the old days where a black mayoral candidate could take 98-99 percent of the African-American vote.

BUT IT SEEMS Mayor Rahm Emanuel is fighting back in his own way to try to get at least a sizable segment of black voters to cast ballots for him – he’s trotting out the president.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported how Emanuel’s campaign will have spots on black-oriented radio featuring Barack Obama, telling us how much better off Chicago will be if we get “four more years” of Rahm as mayor.

Can the one-time Hyde Park neighborhood resident and far South community activist still have enough support amongst black Chicago that enough African-American voters will vote for Emanuel and Wilson won’t have a dominant slice of the overall Chicago electorate? Considering that a recent poll by Lake Research Partners shows Wilson with only 5 percent support overall (with 30 percent still undecided), he has to dominate black voters to avoid electoral embarrassment.

Anything is possible, I suppose. Although a part of me wonders if we’re now going to start hearing the same whispers that initially came up back in 2007 when Obama let it be known he was even interested in running for president – he’s not ‘black’ enough.

WILL WILSON BACKERS – who include the outspoken one-time alderman and state senator Rickey Hendon – be willing to engage in trash talk against Obama; implying that a man with a seventh-grade education like Wilson is more in touch with their lives than is the Harvard Law-educated Obama?

Heck, it was that kind of attitude that caused Obama to suffer the one political loss of his life – getting his behind whupped by still-Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., when Obama had visions of serving in Congress.

I don’t believe the “Obama” name automatically draws support for Emanuel in any significant number – although it could mean that Wilson’s support drops to about three-quarters of the African-American vote (and complete irrelevance in the rest of Chicago).

So I’m waiting to see what the reaction will be, and just how strong a factor race will wind up being in this particular election cycle.

TIMES HAVE CHANGED during the past three decades since the days of Harold Washington fighting for his seat in City Hall. I don’t expect there will be quite the blunt-spoken attacks on either man.

Even in Washington, Obama doesn’t get quite the rhetoric from his GOP enemies that Washington got from Edward R. Vrdolyak during the “Council Wars” days of the mid-1980s!

But how much will it help Obama in his possible return to the Chicago scene if he gets so publicly identified as not being with the people who are determined to “Dump Rahm!!!” at all costs. Although considering that Obama is relying on Emanuel to push through a proposal that will result in the eventual presidential library and museum to be located in Chicago, the two men are already tied together.

I don’t doubt the sincerity of those people who are still peeved that their neighborhood schools got shut down in a cost-cutting measure – although I still think those people would have been better off fighting for improved education opportunities, rather than to keep existing schools that had become quite third-rate!

WILL WILSON HAVE the nerve to take on the president? Or will it be his operatives; some of whom have histories of being willing to engage in trash talk that allegedly respectable people would never say publicly?

I’ll be honest; this election cycle has been quite a dud thus far. Sure some people are upset with the incumbent, but I haven’t really seen anything to indicate any of the challengers are capable of taking that discontent and turning it into political support.

This almost has the feel of an election where people decide not to bother to vote – rather than turn out in force for someone else. In short, Emanuel wins due to political apathy!

And we have to put up with “four more years” of whining and screaming about who’s to blame.


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