Stop Supporting the Chicago Machine

At RealClearPolitics Steve Cortes elaborates on the ongoing carnage in Chicago:

A six-year Yale University study determined that blacks are an astounding 128 times as likely as whites to get shot in Chicago. Many factors feed into this carnage, but perhaps the most damning statistic, from a University of Illinois study, detailed that for young (age 20-24) men of color in Chicago, 47 percent of blacks and 20 percent of Hispanics are neither employed nor in school. The failures of the city’s public school system monopoly have produced thousands of listless young men, unprepared for productive lives, roaming Chicago streets.

What is the response of city leadership to this frightening crisis? The all-Democratic City Council seems largely unfazed, content to raise taxes, adding to the already-unsustainable debt, in order to cater to public sector unions. For Mayor Rahm Emanuel, deflection serves better than solutions. He was feted by an adoring New York studio audience as he proudly declared to Stephen Colbert that Chicago is a “Trump-free zone.”

He goes on to beg President Trump to send the National Guard in to protect the streets of Chicago.

Pointing out this revelation from Chicago Magazine in 2012 seems timely:

Street gangs have been a part of Chicago politics at least since the days of the notorious First Ward bosses “Bathhouse John” Coughlin and Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna, who a century ago ran their vice-ridden Levee district using gangs of toughs armed with bats and pistols to bully voters and stuff ballot boxes. “Gangs and politics have always gone together in this city,” says John Hagedorn, a gang expert and professor of criminal justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It’s a shadowy alliance, he adds, that is deeply ingrained in Chicago’s political culture: “You take care of them; they’ll take care of us.”

To what extent do street gangs influence—and corrupt—Chicago politics today? And what are the consequences for ordinary citizens? To find out, Chicago conducted more than 100 interviews with current and former elected officials and candidates, gang leaders, senior police officials, rank-and-file cops, investigators, and prosecutors. We also talked to community activists, campaign operatives, and criminologists. We limited our scope to the city (though alliances certainly exist in some gang-infested suburbs) and focused exclusively on Democrats, since they are the dominant governing party in Chicago and in the statehouse. Moreover, we looked at the political influence of street gangs only, not of traditional organized crime—a worthy subject for another day.

Our findings:

  • While they typically deny it, many public officials—mostly, but not limited to, aldermen, state legislators, and elected judges—routinely seek political support from influential street gangs. Meetings like the ones Baskin organized, for instance, are hardly an anomaly. Gangs can provide a decisive advantage at election time by performing the kinds of chores patronage armies once did.
  • In some cases, the partnerships extend beyond the elections in troubling—and possibly criminal—ways, greased by the steady and largely secret flow of money from gang leaders to certain politicians and vice versa. The gangs funnel their largess through opaque businesses, or front companies, and through under-the-table payments. In turn, grateful politicians use their payrolls or campaign funds to hire gang members, pull strings for them to get jobs or contracts, or offer other favors (see “Gangs and Politicians: Prisoner Shuffle”).
  • Most alarming, both law enforcement and gang sources say, is that some politicians ignore the gangs’ criminal activities. Some go so far as to protect gangs from the police, tipping them off to impending raids or to surveillance activities—in effect, creating safe havens in their political districts. And often they chafe at backing tough measures to stem gang activities, advocating instead for superficial solutions that may garner good press but have little impact.

Get that? Chicago’s political leaders are in cahoots with the gangs and, indeed, have sponsored them. Chicago’s politicians depend on the reliably regular Democratic black vote to hold on to their jobs. Election after election after election. There is something decidedly wrong with this picture.

I don’t think that anyone, friend or foe of Trump’s would deny that he is a disruptor and nowhere in the United States is riper for disruption than Chicago. I don’t support sending the National Guard to the South Side of Chicago but don’t be surprised when Trump capitalizes on the chaos.

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