- Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photos
- That’s one happy Republican.
As one of the last New Deal Democrats left in Chicago, there are few things I find more sobering than the sight of Bruce Rauner—big smile on his face, thumb raised in the air—triumphantly declaring: “The voters have spoken.”
That’s what greeted me on the front page of this morning’s Bright One—still beloved, even if they did endorse Rauner.
Unless, of course, it’s the front page of the New York Times, featuring a smiling Senator Mitch McConnell under the headline “G.O.P takes Senate.”
Or the exuberant squeals of delight coming from the Tribune‘s editorial writers, who are so happy about Rauner’s triumph that they’re still probably overturning cars on Rush Street.
All in all, yesterday’s election was a great day for plutocrats. Maybe my man Matt Farmer will be inspired to write a song or two about it.
But let me try to find some good news amidst the misery, lest my younger readers once again accuse me of being a grumpy old pessimist.
How ’bout a little good news from the south and west sides? Chicago’s black voters once again demonstrated that they can see through BS.
In short, they understood there was no reason to vote for Rauner, since he offered nothing more than the likelihood of more cuts, school closings, and trickle-down economics.
Over 95 percent of voters in Chicago’s black wards voted for Governor Quinn. That’s an even greater percentage than Quinn got from these wards in 2010, when he ran against Republican Bill Brady and Scott Lee Cohen, who ran as an independent.
In fact, Cohen, a pawnbroker, got a greater percentage of votes in the black wards than Rauner.
Personally, I’d vote for Cohen over Rauner any day of the week. In fact, I think the time’s come to have a great debate. Who’s more trustworthy: pawnbrokers or investment bankers?
The choice is yours, Chicago.
Quinn won over 95 percent of the vote in the sixth, eighth, 37th, 17th, and 21st wards, which have the highest concentrations of African-American residents in the city.
He also won about 96 percent of the vote in the far south side ninth ward, which is where Rev. James Meeks is based.
As you recall, Rev. Meeks was an enthusiastic flag-waver for Rauner. So much for his coattails.
The problem, of course, is that not nearly enough black voters bothered to vote.
In fact, overall the turnout in the city was dismal—roughly 46 percent—as voters clearly remain alienated, disenchanted, and beaten down.
There’s nothing positive I can spin out of this, so I’ll just move on.
How about that advisory referendum calling for a hike in the minimum wage? It won roughly 63 percent of the statewide vote.
So we have the curious situation where most voters voted to hike the minimum wage only to turn around and vote for the gubernatorial candidate who will probably do everything he can not to hike it.
Just call us schizophrenic.
Another ray of sunshine is that house speaker Michael Madigan kept his veto-proof majority in the house.
I know it’s politically incorrect to say anything nice about Madigan. But right now I view him as the frontline, defending us against some of the more painfully regressive things Rauner may try—like privatizing the hell out of our public schools.
So, Mr. Speaker, please disregard any of the critical stuff I may have written about you down through the years.
Before I go back to drowning my sorrows in various substances—most of which remain legal—allow me to offer some unsolicited advice to President Obama, who got royally shellacked yesterday.
Mr. President, it’s pretty obvious that a lot of people in this country don’t like you. They never did and they never will. Let’s face it—for them you have the wrong color.
With two years left, you have a choice: You can either sneak away with your tail between your legs. Or you can veto all the stupid stuff McConnell and his Republicans will try to come up with.
Here’s hoping you go with option two. Remember, you come from Chicago, still one of the most Democratic cities in the country.
Be like Mike—give those Republicans hell!