We hate to see you go JB

Less than 24 hours ago I took to social media to discuss the news that Illinois gubernatorial candidate, JB Pritzker 10 years ago said some uncomplimentary, unflattering, and some might say mean-spirited things about African-American politicians and the Rev Jeremiah Wright. The comments were made during a secretly taped phone conversation with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

That Facebook conversation divined into a call for to vote for Tio Hardiman, and Pritzker being nearly as anti-Black as folk come. The Facebook thread grew by the second with few of the participants willing to acknowledge that things might have changed (for Pritzker) in the last 10 years when it comes to African Americans. The billionaire’s appearance at a news conference with several key Black aldermen and business people didn’t move his critics. If Pritzker was truly sorry for what he said, he would have stood alone at the news conference instead of being accompanied by a handful of Black aldermen and some Black business owners. Pritzker also was chastised on Facebook re his comments that he was not “his best self” on the secretly recorded conversation.  The social media questioners opined his true colors showed given he didn’t know he was being taped. And it is those true colors he will carry into the governor’s mansion if elected.

It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep will do. It jogged my memory, and caused me to recall a string of conversations with individuals who repeated what one of Pritzker’s Black campaign officials said: “We don’t need the Black Press.” It seems that someone with that kind of errant thinking should have been relieved of any campaign duties and sent home immediately. Personally, those words sting more than the utterances about Secretary of State Jessie White, former Sen. President Emil Jones, former U.S.Rep Jesse Jackson, and the esteemed Rev. Jeremiah Wright. If Pritzker doesn’t want to be perceived as insulting to Black people, why did he engage in the “Black-bashing” with Blagojevich? He could have and should have checked him and said there was nothing honorable or humorous about the situation.

Fast forward a few months and we learn that the billionaire’s campaign, which has already spent a record amount on television advertising. According to a  Chicago Sun-Times story https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/together-pritzker-rauner-spending- $120,000-a-day-on-campaign is spending more than $100,000 a day overall on advertising. Additionally, the Pritzker camp recently insulted the Black Press by 1) offering to buy a one-quarter page ad, 2) stating that the campaign wasn’t advertising in the Black Press until after the primary! Extremely pretentious of them.

Unfavorable comments about some key Black elected officials by JB Pritzker caused a number of people to identify Tio Hardiman as their top choice for the Democratic nomination.

My thinking is that there will be no after the primary for Pritzker. Over the decades the Black Press has been the go-to vehicle for candidates, Black and white, who want to and feel it is important to speak to Black voters. The ongoing cry of so many Black voters and observers is that the Dems take our vote for granted. The Pritzker campaign just cemented that notion.

A quarter-page ad in most Black newspapers costs less than a new smartphone. It is less than the cost of four new tires generally. In Chicago especially, the Black Press has been supportive of Democratic candidates over many, many years. When we marry Pritzker’s comments about a possible replacement for outgoing then-U.S. Sen.Barack Obama and his campaign’s attitude toward the Black Press it is clear it is time for him to step off of the campaign trail.

Looking from the other end of the telescope

Not too long ago I had what I will generously call a mini-epiphany. I ask you to please understand this is about elections-not partisan politics. No matter which way we look at it, the Black community et al has an abysmal voting record.
There are countless voter registration drives that don’t significantly improve outcomes
We lament poor turnout election after election. GOTV initiatives rarely produce the numbers they should. All traditional practices leave us wanting for more voters.

So, the thought occurred that MAYBE we have been looking thru the wrong end of the telescope. I am thinking it might be more beneficial to focus on why people vote, instead of the putting so much attention on the ones who don’t. We know a large cohort of Black voters show up at the polls out of respect for previous generations of African Americans who made tremendous sacrifices to gain the right for us to vote.

There also are a few who routinely succumb to peer pressure and vote because neighbors, friends, and families also vote. No doubt, there also are the voters who believe their participation will change or maintain the status quo.

While those who cast a ballot make up the minority of registered voters, they are the ones who determine what stays the same, what changes, and who gets into office. That means the majority of constituents in a ward, district, county or state must live with the will of the minority.

Have we been looking though the wrong end of the telescope on the voter participation question?

The Chicgo Board of Elections https://chicagoelections.com/en/home.html expanded early voting, did away with the requirement to give a reason for absentee voting, and now allow Saturday voting. Yet, none of these steps have pushed voting toward the upper strata. The changes were made after solid research, a lot of deliberation, and measured implementation. Primiarily though, they were made with more input from voters than non-voters.

When we have empirical data re why people don’t vote maybe then their concerns will be addressed, and the majority, rather than a minority will put elected officials in place.

Dems have tough choice in AG race

When State Sen. Kwame Raoul announced his intent last month to run for the Illinois Attorney General’s seat suddenly vacated by long-time occupant Lisa Madigan, few were surprised, and many were elated. Nearly every time there is a state-wide vacancy that is a step up from the state senior chamber, Mr. Raoul’s name is mentioned. Barbershop talk keeps the three-term senator’s name afloat whenever there are hunches about who will try to replace Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Until Ms. Madigan announced her pending departure, Mr. Raoul has politely demurred from such talks.

Ericka Herald brings an extensive resume as a corporate attorney, but no political experience.

Almost as soon as Raoul announced, the GOP countered with a rarity-an African-American female candidate. Yes,  a corporate lawyer, Ericka Harold, an accomplished corporate attorney is what they hope will be the equalizer to Mr. Raoul.

The flies in Ms. Harold’s ointment are a lack of political experience, especially when it comes to campaigning. The arduous schedule and statewide travel has been the undoing of more experienced candidates; additionally, she represents the GOP in a state is severely disappointed with its first Republican governor in two decades. Ms. Harold can be seen as the party’s willing sacrificial lamb. Her greatest challenge will be her lack of name recognition among Chicago area voters.

A second surprise candidate, this time a Democrat, Sharon Fairley entered the race at the beginning of October. Like Ms. Harold, Ms. Fairley’s political resume lacks any campaign or elected office experience. There should be little doubt that much of Ms. Fairley’s time on the path to winning the AG’s race will be fraught with defending her record as executive director of Chicago Civilian Office on Police Accountability (COPA).

Continue reading “Dems have tough choice in AG race”

Don’t “kneejerk” county commissioners

Since the pop tax was announced and ultimately went into effect, there has been a battle cry of “vote em all out.” The sentiment is extremely understanding and equally short-sighted.

We have five months before we can cast a vote for Cook County Commissioner-any of them. That is five months to take two critically important steps. The first is asking yourself why did you vote for that person nearly four years ago. The second is to do a little research and find out how your commissioner voted on issues since being in office. If you voted for an incumbent, what did he or do or say to earn that vote? Has that position changed? If no, is the pop tax enough to change who represents you? It is wise to look at the commissioner’s history of voting rather than one disastrous vote.

With less than six months to go until the election, already we should be seeing signs or at least getting subtle signals or who is running against the incumbents. It would make sense to pinpoint one or two or even a handful of commissioners to turn out, but every incumbent doesn’t make good political or governmental sense.

With the rationale of voting them out hinging on this single vote does that mean eight commissioners who voted against the tax should be broomed out as well? It is imperative that Cook County voters, especially Chicagoans, start voting more strategically and less emotionally. A social media recently offered in the “all out” discussion that Commissioner Jerry Butler should be exempt because of his singing career. Really?

Deer was appointed in July following the death of Comm. Robert Steele

 

Let’s take freshly minted Commissioner Dennis Deer.   Deer has not had a chance to show what he’s made of, and the next four, five or six months might not give him a chance to do so. However, Deer did face formidable competition, especially from Springfield lobbyist Frank Bass. But will Bass or the other long line of Deer’s former opponents be  back in the fray come election time next March?Speaking of Third District Commissioner Jerry Butler there is a

Jerry Butler has been in office since 1986

the persistent buzz among the insiders at the county building that his health will prevent him from seeking another term. So it makes sense for commissioner detractors to focus on his replacement.

We also have Commissioner Richard Boykin who represents the county’s First District. Boykin has made no secret about the possibility of challenging Ms. Precwkinkle in the upcoming election. If that comes to fruition then West Side residents and those in the western suburbs will be voting for a new commissioner, not looking to vote anyone out of office.

Commissioner Richard Boykin may be Toni Preckwinkle’s most formidable challenger

The feelings of betrayal, insolence, and that the tax is a money-grab are not only understandable but expected. County officials did a horrid job of initially explaining the need for the tax, how it will be applied, and why not another commodity.

Regardless of the number of commissioners, who lose their seats come March, as residents we have to be more diligent, aggressive, and attention to what happens at every level of government even when it is just in the proposal stage.

Tio Hardiman is at it again

I now have to wonder if Tio Hardiman understands what a governor does. Hardiman, who is far better known for his anti-violence work than anything related to government or politics, is hinting at another run for the state’s top office. It seems if he understood what the job entails and his lack of any level of governmental experience, he would run the other way.

If he follows through, this campaign would be more bizarre than his previous attempt in 2014. According to his latest Facebook post, Hardiman mistakenly believes the 125,000 votes he garnered back then was an endorsement of his candidacy.

Former Gov., Pat Quinn

The reality is a significant number of those voters were voting against former Gov. Pat Quinn-not so much for Hardiman. No doubt a sizeable number of Mr. Hardiman’s tally came from people like him, who don’t really understand the role of a governor.

Just like in his earlier bid, Mr. Hardiman looks like he will rely heavily on social media. It is a strategy that makes sense when one is without the ability to raise the kind of money it takes to run a viable campaign.

Personally, Mr. Hardiman has a point when he derides the fact that the wealthy – Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker are gobbling up the vast majority of media attention for the race. However, Mr. Hardiman showed a practically never seen level of naivete when he suggested that one of them back him financially.

Chris Kennedy

J B Pritzker

Normally, when such deals are struck they aren’t conducted in the public’s eye and the person needing or requesting that kind of backing is believed to have a chance of winning.  Mr. Haridman has not demonstrated any fiscal management experience. That is going to be key for whoever the next governor is as he or she attempts to sort out the damage done by the incumbent to the state’s budget and scores of agencies that rely on state funding.

Although both men are propped up in everything they do by virtue of their last names, both Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Pritzker can lay claim to being at the helm of large national enterprises. Mr.  Kennedy also has the advantage of the last name that has been favorably associated with  African Americans and Democrats for more than a half of a century.

To date, both men appear to be scandal free. However, it is early as neither has been a declared candidate for two months yet.

The real race for the governor’s job is far more likely to see Mr. Hardiman a distant fourth once Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers quits fawning with voters and gets in the race.

Kurt Summers, Chicago politics,
City Treasurer Kurt Summers

By his own admission, the trial balloon, or email in this case Mr. Summers sent was overwhelmingly well received. He was exploring how an array of voters would view his candidacy. A second email all but said his run is a go. Summers, to date, is the only candidate with a wealth of public sector management experience. The fact that experience is in finance is another plus for him. The learning curve for Mr. Summers would be relatively flat given he has worked at both the county and municipal levels.

Voters who are close personal friends of Mr. Hardiman are likely to justify a rationale for overlooking his missing expertise in finance,

Tio Hardiman-governor is not the job for him

and not even tangential connection to government, and still vote for him. Sadly, if he continues this trail, it will be a wasted vote.

 

 

Next issue: Why J.B. Pritzker is wasting everyone’s time trying to be governor.

Hillary Clinton will be a president in the making for more than 40 years

Seeking Democratic nomination for president
Presidential run goes back to the Clinton dating days

For those who read the seemingly interminable Autobiography of

Bill Clinton
Former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton is instrumental in bringing his wife to the victory line for President of the United States

President Bill Clinton – “Between Hope and History” – you might remember a small passage buried in those 1,100 pages. It is a passage about Yale Law School dining room conversation where the yet-to-be married Clintons committed to eventually both being President of the United States.

We have to suspect there are and have been thousands of politically astute couples over the decades who have made similar commitments.  The most intriguing part is from all appearances it looks as though this couple might pull it off. If Mrs. Clinton does become the 45th POTUS it will be a job more than 40 years in the making. Continue reading “Hillary Clinton will be a president in the making for more than 40 years”

Presidential candidates shun Black voters.

Some remember the monumental Black National Political Convention held in Gary, In in March 1972. It was convened by former Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher and author/activist Amari Baraka and Michigan Congressman Charlie Diggs, both of the latter are now deceased. It was the first time a collective of African Americans exclusively set out to forge an agenda in America focus solely on Black people. This weekend June 10 and 11, the same mission, with another group of African Americans from all walks of life is set to take up the mantle from 1972.

Bobby Seale and Jesse Jackson
Back Panther leader Bobby Seale confers with the Rev. Jesse Jackson during the 1972 National Black Political Convention

The main difference this year is that the top three presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, all were invited to address the convention and be part of a panel discussion. Guess what? Despite a Black captive audience, a near-guarantee of national media exposure, and the opportunity to rebut some of the criticism leveled against them by Black backers, all three refused the invitation. Their refusal speaks volumes about how little they regard connecting with Black voters. Continue reading “Presidential candidates shun Black voters.”