Although newly minted Cook County state’s attorney Democratic nominee Kim Foxx was the focus of the night in Chicago, Hillary Clinton stole the national spotlight by defeating Bernie Sanders in Illinois in a late-contested race. What was predicted to be an upset for Sanders turned into a decisive victory for the former secretary of state.
As candidates gave their speeches and results rolled in, attendees at a Chicago Urban League election-watch party in the South Loop were divided on what the results meant and how they would affect black voters.
Raie Williams had been conflicted over whether to vote for Sanders or Clinton. She agrees with Sanders’s goals for the economy and social issues affecting African-Americans, she said, but also accused the candidate of pandering for their vote. Although she lobbed this charge at Clinton as well, she ultimately chose Clinton for the candidate’s long-standing relationship with the black community.
“Like my father used to say, ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,'” said Williams. “I know what Hillary Clinton is about. It’s the safer pick.”
Support for Sanders was also apparent at the Urban League event, though that was outweighed by the the belief that he wouldn’t be able to win in a general election.
Still, Muhammad Shabazz, who voted for Sanders, believes the Vermont senator’s run for office has had the side benefit of pushing Clinton to adopt a more progressive stance.
“He has successfully sent a message to [Clinton] as she starts to mimic his rhetoric,” Shabazz said.
Luis Ayala, a college student majoring in business at the College of DuPage, deliberately chose not to vote in the primary. While his mother supported Marco Rubio and his father supported Sanders, Ayala said no candidate in the presidential race appealed to him.
“I don’t want to vote for someone because the majority are going to vote for them or they say [the candidate] is in favor of minorities,” said Ayala. “I want to vote for someone because I truly believe they will get this country ahead.”