Monday, April 6, 2015

You don’t know how pleased I am that we’re just one day away from Tuesday

This may have been a holy weekend of sorts (with both Easter and Passover holidays being celebrated). Yet my prayers are for Tuesday to come, and go, as quickly as possible.

Because that will mean the passing of Election Day and an end to the ranting and raging from the mayoral candidates about which of them is less incompetent/buffoonish/corrupt than the other.

THERE ARE TIMES when I wonder what we Chicagoans did to deserve any of these political people!

I want a return to a certain level of sanity in our society – except that we already have various congressional candidates declaring their candidacy for 2016. Real peace would have come if Raja Krishnamoorthi, Brad Schneider and company could have waited a bit before kicking off yet another campaign cycle.

But we’re at the final day of campaigning. One last round of cheap shots to see who could get in the final blow, before we go off to the polling places to cast our ballots.

Although if the figures from the Chicago Board of Elections are any indication, we had a record-high number of voters (142,344 people) use early voting centers to cast their ballots, with another 55,626 people requesting absentee ballots.

DOES THIS MEAN there will be record-high interest and intensity about whether or not we dump Rahm Emanuel as mayor and replace him with a political official whom some (such as Cheech Marin in his “Santa Claus and his Old Lady” sketch) would say was named after one of Santa Claus’ reindeer?

Or does it mean that the people who really care about the Emanuel/Jesus Garcia fight of the 2015 election cycle have already voted?

Could we wind up getting very early Election Night results on Tuesday because there weren’t a heck of a lot of ballots to count up?

Could the real intrigue for political geeks come in the aldermanic races, or perhaps in some of the suburbs where there are races for local political domination that could be settled by just a couple hundred votes difference?

SO LOW BECAUSE those suburban races tend to have pitiful voter turnout – probably less than the interest in the Chicago municipal races, which based off the February round of elections wasn’t all that high and nearly set a new standard for record low.

Remember the two-thirds of registered voters who couldn’t be bothered to show up to vote for a campaign that supposedly has the interest of all “real” Chicagoans?!?

As we stand on the verge of Election Day, my own focus is on trying to get evidence of how strong voter turnout is. In an election cycle where some people are convinced to believe our collective revulsion for Rahm is so strong, why does it feel like the true masses just don’t care?

Emanuel is the candidate for those people whose sense of the status quo in Chicago is that things could be a lot worse. While Garcia is the guy for those people who feel their concerns have long been ignored by the political establishment.

ALTHOUGH I FIND it almost amusing that various polls show that Emanuel gets political support from some Latinos, a majority of black voters and the bulk of the white vote in Chicago.

Not exactly the type of “coalition” building that Garcia’s followers want to believe he learned from the 1983 election cycle that gave us “Mayor Harold Washington” and the outburst of negativity from his opposition that has left its lasting scars on Chicago. No wonder Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., has been critical of Garcia for trying to assume the “Washington legacy” label for his own campaigning.

It won’t surprise me if Emanuel comes out with a slim majority of voter support, regardless of how strong an effort the Chicago Teachers Union and other Garcia backers put into their voter turnout efforts on Tuesday.

Because if Garcia were able to pull off an electoral victory, it would be a bigger shock to the system of Chicago than Washington in the ’83 primary – and I wonder if Washington’s aging backers would go all out on Tuesday to do whatever they deemed necessary to prevent such an event from occurring.


EDITOR’S NOTE: How many people were more intrigued by Sunday’s national broadcast of the 2015 baseball season opener at Wrigley Field, or by the Monday afternoon first game of the season for the Chicago White Sox, than they will be by Tuesday’s municipal elections?

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