Saturday, March 30, 2019

How fickle our electorate can be

It can be amusing to see just how quickly we, the voters of Chicago and Cook County, can turn on the political people we elect.
FOXX: Legal savior, now demonized

Almost as though all we really want to do on Election Day is “throw da bums out,” rather than try to judge public officials on their merits and pick the best qualified people.

IT MAKES ME think that just about three years ago, the public sentiment was such that people were looking for an excuse to dump State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez from office. The popular sentiment amongst many was that anybody with sense would choose Kim Foxx to be the county’s head prosecutor.

Sure enough, Foxx won the Democratic primary of 2016. Very few people were the least bit upset to see Alvarez depart – with some wishing she could have suffered something much more severe as part of public officials being prosecuted for the shooting death of a black teenager by a Chicago cop.

But now? How times change!

Foxx is finding herself demonized for the fact that the state’s attorney’s office decided to drop the criminal charges that had been filed against actor Jussie Smollett.

POLICE SUPERINTENDENT EDDIE Johnson is “furious.” Soon-to-be former Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he wants Smollett to have to reimburse Chicago for the cost of the police investigation (some $130,000) against him.
ALVAREZ: Will her legacy change?

Many pundits are going about saying that Foxx will have to take the blame for the failure of Chicago’s law enforcement community to get a criminal conviction of sorts against Smollett.

Heck, some people are going about speculating that even the now-demonized Alvarez wouldn’t have let Smollett walk away unprosecuted – and capable of going around saying he’s the victim of police incompetence.

People already are gunning for Foxx to be dumped from office when she faces re-election in 2020. From reformer looking out for the protection of the people to corrupt hack. It took her just a couple of years. She may never be capable of shaking this stain from her public persona.

WHICH IS SOMETHING we probably ought to keep in mind when it comes to other political posts.
PRECKWINKLE: Once progressive, now a hack

Take mayor, for instance.

Toni Preckwinkle went through her time as alderman and as Cook County Board president with something of a “goo goo” reputation, and was supposed to be the political progressive amongst the 14 candidates who tried becoming mayor in this year’s election cycle.

But when Preckwinkle made it to the run-off stage of the electoral process against a candidate so much like herself, Preckwinkle’s experience made her the “political hack.” Opponent Lori Lightfoot has tried to claim her inexperience in electoral office merely means she hasn’t had the chance to become tainted by it all.

PRECKWINKLE IS BEING demonized now with the issues that her challengers in the 2016 county board presidency campaign tried unsuccessfully to use against her. We’re hearing now more about that pop tax the county tried imposing a few years ago. That issue’s time has come.
LIGHTFOOT: How long 'til electorate turns on her?

Of course, this trend is ongoing. So perhaps before we get all absorbed in the notion of Lori our government savior who’s going to shine a light on everything, keep in mind that it could easily shift gears and voters will rant and rage about how they could ever have been silly enough to think Lightfoot deserved election.

Perhaps her lack of experience, once she has to go up against the political powers-that-be will be such that the electorate will turn on her. It will be intriguing to see how quickly that shift happens, and just what the issue will be that will sway the electorate against her.

Not that I’m feeling all that much sympathy for any of the candidates. Or even for the government that is supposed to represent our interests. For the fact is that we usually get a government of the quality of the people whom we elect. Which means we tend to “get” what we deserve come Elections day.


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