|ROSA: Senior of Democratic Socialist caucus|
That literally was it.
THE CHICAGO CITY Council was a 49-1 partisan split between Democrats and Republicans. And if one wants to be honest, the Republican wasn’t that different from his Democratic aldermanic colleagues.
It’s the reason that people studying the aldermanic ranks for factions wind up becoming obsessed with race – that often was the breakdown that mattered in figuring out how aldermen would behave.
Particularly back three or so decades ago in the days of Harold Washington, Eugene Sawyer and the beginning of the Richard M. Daley era.
But things have changed, particularly with this now-complete election cycle. What with the development of the presence of the Democratic Socialists of America managing to get some of their supporters elected to City Council seats.
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Along with the chance that Rossana Rodriguez of the 33rd Ward will ultimately prevail in her bid to dump Deborah Mell from the aldermanic seat her father held for so many decades before her (a race that will go down to the final vote count of every single absentee ballot that can be dredged up).
They go along with Daniel LaSpata of the 1st Ward, who won election outright back on Feb. 26. And Carlos Rosa of the 35th Ward, who managed to win re-election. He’s no longer the lone Democratic Socialist in the Chicago City Council.
All of which means the council could have six Democratic Socialists in its ranks. Not even close to being able to control things – but enough people to raise up a stink on so many issues that they will be able to force the establishment Democrats (43 in number) to have to listen to them.
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OR ELSE RUN the risk of seeing the City Council devolve into a clown show of ineptitude. Although some would argue the council has been in such a state throughout much of its history. What else would be new?
Now I know some people are going to overly emphasize the “Socialist” part of the label – and may even come up with distortive rhetoric about Communists taking over the City Council.
Although the one positive aspect of Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont becoming so politically prominent is that it has forced people to figure out just what a Democratic Socialist is. And that many people are intrigued enough by the concept to give them a chance.
While others see the outspoken nature of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York and become offended at her very presence. While some take joy in the irrational outbursts she provokes amongst conservative ideologues.
PERSONALLY, I’M NOT inclined to think any of the City Council’s Democratic Socialists will develop as prominent a public profile as the congresswoman from the Bronx borough of New York – who actually has a growing number of her supporters upset with her for becoming such a nationally-prominent figure that she’s forgetting just where she came from!But I have no doubt the ideologues amongst us will still manage to use the new caucus as a reason for their rants. Although it could be a good thing if it forced those ideologues to knock off the irrational rants that try to claim every Democrat is a Communist at heart.
Then again, that’s not likely to occur. Rationality is not all that common – particularly amongst those in our society these days who approve of the Age of Trump in which we now are engaged.
But it’s bound to stir up some feisty debates in our City Council – with the Democratic Socialists taking up the theoretical argument that Capitalism is incompatible with Democracy and the freedoms it purports to give us. Which will really tick off those people who think the purpose of our municipal government is to pick up the trash and plow the streets during the winter months.