Thursday, March 28, 2019

Too little, too late for Preckwinkle?

I remember back to the 1998 election cycle for Illinois governor – the one in which Democrat Glenn Poshard had hopes that Southern Illinois would prevail over the rest of the state and make him governor.
It didn’t happen. Republican George Ryan took advantage of Chicago apathy toward Poshard along with solid voter bases in Republican parts of the state, to prevail on Election Day.

ALTHOUGH THERE WAS one point in time when the Poshard people felt optimistic. It was in the autumn when their operatives started spouting the word that a news development would become public in about two weeks – one that they insisted was so shocking and appalling that it would ensure a Poshard victory.

As I recall, it was about two weeks later that the public became aware of that accident involving an illicitly-licensed truck driver that resulted in the deaths of children.

Which later turned into a matter of Ryan’s political people accepting bribes and Ryan’s willingness to look the other way – so long as campaign donations kept coming in.

In short, the first hint of the stink that later would result in Ryan having to spend just over five years in federal prison.

NOT THAT IT made one bit of electoral difference. Because by that point in time, Poshard’s public perception amongst many voters was so low that there was nothing that could have revived him.
Will 'dead kids' work for Preckwinkle … 

If anything, all it did was reduced the size of the landslide by which Ryan would have won. It may have caused many people to decide that a vote just wasn’t worth the time to take to cast in that election cycle.

So why am I bringing up this political history from some two decades ago?

Because it popped into my mind when I learned Wednesday that mayoral hopeful Toni Preckwinkle IS going to use the final five days of the election cycle to air campaign ads meant to devastate the electoral chances of a victory by Lori Lightfoot.

THE CAMPAIGN AD is meant to remind us of a fire on the city’s West Side – one in which four children were killed. How is this relevant?
… any better than they did for Poshard?

It was during a time when Lightfoot was on the city payroll as chief of staff of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Which means she was in charge of the 911 emergency dispatch system.

Which ultimately took the blame for the fact that firefighters were not properly sent to the fire scene in time to make a difference. The courts called for sanctions, particularly since they claimed city officials – including Lightfoot – were “shockingly lax” and “cavalier” in their attitude toward addressing the problem.

Or, as Preckwinkle has a narrator say in her advertising spot that we’re likely to hear a lot of in coming days, “With lives on the line, Lori Lightfoot didn’t bring in the light, she covered up the truth.”

TONI PRECKWINKLE IS resorting to trying to smear the blood of long-dead children on Lightfoot in hopes that it will shock and appall so many voters from jumping on the Lightfoot bandwagon – and perhaps shift back to supporting her desires to be mayor.
Will voters believe allegations against Lightfoot?

It just seems so much like the Poshard tactic; resorting to the images of dead children to try to make people appalled at the very idea of a “Mayor Lori” serving at City Hall. Or course, it didn’t work for Glenn. Which is why I’m skeptical it will serve Toni any better.

It may shock and appall some would-be voters into not casting a ballot for Lightfoot. But I can’t help but think that Preckwinkle has already sustained so much damage to her public image that there’s nothing to be done to revive her electoral chances.

If anything, use of such a tactic may merely convince some voters that both of these candidates are unworthy of our support. Could it make some of us wish that Bill Daley’s mayoral campaign could have prevailed and that we were voting for “Mayor Daley III” when our votes are tallied come Tuesday?


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