Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An election cycle fades into history, while another already takes its place

What do we get now that we have cast our votes (or expressed our apathy by not voting) for governor, senator and all the other political posts that were up for grabs on Tuesday?

Nothing more than the coming of a new election cycle – one that already has started, will pick up in coming weeks and will reach its peak come Feb. 24.

IT ALMOST FEELS like our home just got hit by a tornado, and as we’re picking our way through the rubble there goes the emergency siren – because another funnel cloud has been spotted.

Does this mean our garage is about to be taken out too?!?

What I’m referring to is the fact that the municipal government elections – including the ones for mayor, treasurer, clerk and 50 aldermen – will be upon us in less than four months.

With a runoff in early April if necessary.

WE CAN’T CATCH our breath now that it is Wednesday and Election Day 2014 is past us – unless one of the candidates decides to become a sore loser and try to get the courts to rule that “the people” were too stupid to know what they were doing when they cast their ballots.

We’re in a mode of perpetual election cycles, it seems at times. When one considers the overly parochial mentality of the average Chicagoan, we know that there are those who think Quinn/Rauner was just a rehearsal for the mayoral election.

Now that Bruce Rauner no longer needs to keep pumping millions of dollars into his campaign fund to enable him to try to bury Gov. Pat Quinn, the tale is going to become how Rauner’s friend, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will use the millions he already has raised (my understanding is that it is just under $10 million) to bury any of the political dreamers impudent enough to try to challenge him come February.

There may be a strong sentiment amongst people who feel betrayed by Emanuel (or who never wanted him to begin with). But he’s going to be able to begin hitting hard as early as he wants to in an effort to portray the people wishing to run against him as the biggest batch of incompetents and rubes ever assembled on a political stage.

WE MAY WELL get four more years of “Mayor Rahm Emanuel,” although a part of me wonders at times if Emanuel is nothing more than Michael Bilandic, Jane Byrne, Harold Washington or Eugene Sawyer – as in someone who kept the mayor’s chair warm until the next generation of Daleys are ready to run for the office (this time around, grandson/nephew Patrick D. Thompson is merely running for alderman).

The aspect that has me wondering about the February (and April) elections is whether the discontent with Emanuel will translate into aldermen getting dumped from office.

Back when Karen Lewis was considered a possibility to run for mayor, the Chicago Teachers Union’s political people were trying to put together an unofficial slate of candidates who would run for alderman to be paired up with the teachers union's president.

As it is, there are about a dozen of those people currently circulating nominating petitions in wards across the city to get themselves ballot spots for alderman.

WILL THERE BE more aldermanic opposition to Emanuel from the City Council?

Or will the mayor wind up using much of his campaign cash to prop up aldermanic campaigns to ensure that the council “minds its manners,” so to speak?

There’s also the issue of whether Quinn has snubbed Emanuel – who last week made a public statement that can be construed as an endorsement of the governor in Tuesday’s election.

Quinn didn’t return the favor, saying he was focusing his attention on his own re-election. Which sort of makes sense.

BUT DOES THIS mean that come late January, we’re going to get the sight of Quinn swallowing his pride (and all the memories of the times that he and Emanuel have clashed) and telling us to vote for Rahm?

Those of us old enough to remember the days of Pat Quinn Sunday press conferences to tout whatever “cause” he was promoting that week would consider that the ultimate evidence of how much things change with time.


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