Tuesday, April 2, 2019

History? Maybe not

I know some people are giving the spin that Tuesday will be a historic day for Chicago. What with all that first black woman as mayor jazz, and some even stoked up by the possibility of Lori Lightfoot’s orientation being another “first.”
Will polling places be anywhere near this packed on Tuesday?
But what does it say that the first phase of this year’s election cycle was dreadful, and the evidence exists that Tuesday will give us equally pathetic results?

I’M TALKING ABOUT the voter turnout – which back in February reached only 34 percent (only 1 percent higher than the all-time record-low turnout for a mayoral election in Chicago – back in 2007).

Guess what? The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners says that the number of people who have turned out to cast their ballots early for the city municipal elections is low.

So low that we’re not likely to match the voter totals from Feb. 26. Seriously, just under 110,000 votes have already been cast for Tuesday – compared to the 125,000 who voted early before the first part of this year’s election cycle.

Basically, unless we have some record-setting voter turnout of people who actually wait until Election Day proper to cast their ballots, what we’re going to get is a pathetic voter total.

NOT EXACTLY WHAT you’d expect to see for a moment of Chicago history – an event that people will want to think was a significant shift in the way things were done in the Second City.
So this is what 'history' feels like?

More like just the beginning of a four-year period in which many of us are going to gripe about the way things are done here, because – after all – that’s what happens when people don’t bother to vote.

Their views tend to get ignored, and they think it’s their “right” as an American to gripe and grouse about it. Rather than do something to actually express their attitudes that impact the election’s outcome.

Of course, what is particularly appalling about all of this talk of pathetic voter turnout is that it falls into the political strategies of the candidates themselves. Rather than try to win over voters, they’re counting on it to be pathetic.
Will Preckwinkle need to update her headshot?

TONI PRECKWINKLE, IN particular, talks openly about how poor she expects voter turnout to be for Tuesday.

Which means her focus is going to be on getting the “right” people to show up at the polling places. As in the kinds of people who are inclined to view her as the “good government” Preckwinkle and not the “political hack” Preckwinkle that is the image that has arisen about Toni in recent months.

Preckwinkle does have the endorsements of people like Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and the unions for school teachers and some municipal government employees.

Get those kinds of people to turn out en masse while the masses feel a sense of apathy toward this mayoral election – and, who’s to say. Tuesday could turn out to be an Election Night victory for the Preckwinkle campaign.

BASICALLY, IT COULD turn out to be similar to the Feb. 26 election for aldermen when Edward M. Burke of the 14th Ward managed to get select precincts of voters to cast their votes for him – thereby enabling him to prevail over the strong sentiment of the Latino majority population that Burke’s time has passed.

Can Preckwinkle play hardball electoral politics just like Eddie Burke? Or is there too much of that Hyde Park “goo goo” spirit in her to overcome the strong sentiment amongst some voters who think Lori Lightfoot represents change and reform – and who are more than willing to take it out on Toni the fact that Burke (who faces criminal corruption charges) got himself re-elected last month?
Will you bother to vote?
Who’s to say just what Tuesday’s voter outcome will be. Other than that it likely will reflect the views of a minority of the Chicago electorate, with many other people likely to complain about the results – which came about because they couldn’t be bothered to cast ballots.

Not quite how “history” is supposed to feel when it’s in the making!


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