Emanuel’s In

Rahm Emanuel has been elected mayor of Chicago:

Rahm Emanuel, a top adviser to two U.S. presidents who returned to Chicago just months ago, swept into the mayor’s office Tuesday, inheriting a city reeling from recession and promising to reshape City Hall.

He achieved what was once considered almost unthinkable, collecting a majority of support against five opponents in the first Chicago election without a sitting mayor on the ballot since 1947.

In a city with its share of racial divisions, Emanuel appealed to voters across those lines. He won the predominantly white wards of his former congressional district on the North and Northwest sides. And the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama also scored substantial margins in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

“All I can say, you sure know how to make a guy feel at home,” Emanuel, who faced a high-profile legal challenge to his residency, told a packed room at a plumbers union hall on the Near West Side. “Because of the people of Chicago, this is the warmest place in America.”

The lines quoted above are the closing lines of Mayor-Elect Emanuel’s victory speech. As most such speeches are it was pretty incoherent other than a shout-out to departing Mayor Daley. We are unlikely to see his like again. He came into office as a manager and, simultaneously, a hereditary insider. He governed as a consummate politician.

The results of the election were

Emanuel 55.2%
Chico 24.0%
Del Valle 9.3%
Moseley Braun 9.0%
Van Pelt Watkins 1.6%
Walls .9%%

Clearly, I overestimated the number of African American votes that Moseley Braun would garner and that so much of the vote that I expected to go to her would go to Emanuel instead. I expected her to get about half the black vote. She received about half that. Otherwise, the results are about what I expected.

Now Chicagoans are wondering what next? Emanuel is no Daley and I’ve been frank in my skepticism that the skills that have brought him to prominence will make him a good mayor. My greatest concern is that we’ll see a return to the status quo ante, the Council Wars of the 1980s, jockeying for position until Emanuel leaves the mayor’s office for his next position whatever that might be.

Interesting times.

2 comments… add one
  • Mayor of Chicago (or any other large US city) seems like a job I would run away from as fast as I could…

  • If power is what you’re after, short of being the head of the Chinese politburo, Chicago mayor is hard to beat.

Leave a Comment