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Brandon Johnson Wins Chicago Mayor’s Race! Guess All Those Cops Will Quit Now. No Backsies.
Trump should get arraigned every day
Democrat Brandon Johnson is projected to win the Chicago mayoral runoff, besting the more conservative, "tough on crime" Democratic candidate Paul Vallas. Gotta say I didn't see this coming. Most recent polls had Vallas consistently ahead, but as we noted last week, there was a sizable number of undecideds.
Addressing a crowd of cheering supporters at the Marriott Marquis Chicago, Johnson said, “My name is Brandon Johnson and I can’t wait to be sworn in as the next mayor of the greatest city in the world!” He was in a great mood, so it’s understandable that he confused Chicago with New Orleans.
The 47-year-old mayor-elect was gracious, stating, “To the Chicagoans who did not vote for me, here’s what I want you to know: That I care about you. I value you and I want to hear from you. I want to work with you. And I’ll be the mayor for you, too. Because this campaign has always been about building a better, stronger, safer Chicago for all the people of Chicago.”
With almost all precincts reporting, Johnson led Vallas 51.4 percent to 48.5 percent. His margin of victory as of this writing was 15,872 votes out of 557,422 cast. Analysts believe his margin could increase once absentee ballots are fully counted. Early turnout indicators also looked good for Vallas, but young voters it seems really turned out for Johnson.
Vallas was considered the heavy favorite, because press coverage framed outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot's poor showing in last month's election as the result of rising crime in the city. (You might not have noticed, but Republicans and conservative media have mentioned Chicago on occasion, usually unfavorably.) Lightfoot hadn't kissed enough cop ass to end the crime problem. She didn’t even bother working behind the scenes with a billionaire vigilante.
Vallas had the endorsement of the Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police, and while I've often compared police unions to protection rackets, the Chicago FOP lived down to expectations when union president John Catanzara told the New York Times he "predicts" 800 to 1,000 Chicago police officers would leave the force if Johnson won.
“If this guy gets in we’re going to see an exodus like we’ve never seen before,” he said, predicting “blood in the streets.”
So, either January 6 insurrection-defending Catanzara was full of shit or Vallas was right when he insisted that Johnson would defund the police. There's been debate over whether Johnson ever actually said those dreaded words, but it's clearly not his current position. He has said he would "examine" the police budget, which is offensive to most cops who prefer you just deliver them those giant novelty checks like they give to lottery winners.
“As far as my vision for public safety, I’m not going to defund the police,” Johnson said last month. “But what I am committed to doing is to make sure that we are actually investing in a smart way.
“The fact of the matter is that we are asking too much of law enforcement, and we also have a disconnect between law enforcement and communities which they have been assigned to. And so we have to fix that.”
The Chicago Teacher’s Union backed Johnson, a former teachers’ union organizer, over Vallas, who was once CEO of Chicago public schools.
Vallas promised to pack the streets with cops while Johnson proposed a significant expansion of Chicago’s social programs, including public schools, public transportation, and new housing. He’d fund his Better Chicago Agenda with new taxes on “the suburbs, airlines and ultra-rich,” which he says would generate roughly $800 million in new revenue.
“The suburban tax base utilizes Chicago’s infrastructure to earn their disproportionately higher income, yet their taxes fund already wealthy towns,” his plan states, reasonably, I think.
Johnson’s progressive economic agenda is ambitious but also explains why so many billionaires were hot for Vallas, who raised more than $19 million in campaign contributions, with almost $10 million of that sum coming from just 44 individuals or organizations. There are at least 20 times that many people in Chicago. Fifteen donors, mostly from the financial sector, were able to give Vallas more than $250,000 apiece. To roughly paraphrase from Butch Cassidy, you’d think it’d be easier to just pay the new taxes than pay all this money to avoid being taxed.
Vallas also showed considerable class in defeat, which is how you know he’s not a true Republican. Although there are still some mail ballots outstanding, he didn’t hold out for a full count before conceding the race to Johnson. When some of his supporters vocally objected to Johnson’s win, he said, “This campaign that I ran to bring this city together would not be a campaign that fulfilled my ambitions if this campaign is gonna divide us more. So it’s critically important that we use this opportunity to come together.”
So, that’s something.
Johnson is scheduled to take office on May 15.
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