In Chicago, two black women on the threshold of the town hall
The matter is heard: the next mayor of Chicago will be ... A woman, African American, Democrat, with graying short hair. So this is not the suspense over a possible conservative rocking of the "& nbsp; Windy City & nbsp;" which is of great interest in this election, the second round of which will take place on April 2 nd, but the personality of the last two competitors: the 70-something Toni Preckwinkle and the 50-year-old Lori Lightfoot. During the first round, these two progressive candidates defeated twelve of their opponents, in an unusual competition in this city which subscribes to (re) elections in a chair.
The arrival of one of them at the head of the third largest city in the United States, replacing Rahm Emanuel, who was the first chief of staff of Barack Obama, has already been described as historic in a country that scrutinizes the “firsts & nbsp;” with manic care. Since the Chicago Democrat elected its mayors, only one woman and two African-Americans have taken office. A black woman at the town hall will therefore constitute an unprecedented double. If Lori Lightfoot, who has a slight lead, wins, she will also become the first openly gay personality, married and the mother of a 10-year-old girl to rule the city.
To everyone's surprise, the two finalists mostly put an end to the dynastic claims of the Daley family, who had reigned over the city forty-three years for the past sixty-four years. White septuagenarian Bill Daley, another fleeting chief of staff to Obama, son and brother of six-time former mayors, slipped to a disappointing third place. This voter disavowal illustrates the choice for a change of era, seemingly best embodied by the two women.
If their programs, both progressive, focused on social and racial justice, struggle to differentiate them, their journey, on the other hand, could constitute criteria of choice for the population, distributed more or less fairly between Blacks, Whites and Latinos. One, Ms. Preckwinkle, is an elected president of the Democratic County Council for Cook County. Supported by unions and their grants, she was able to spend $ 4.6 million on her campaign.
Her opponent, a lawyer and former prosecutor, raised only 1.5 million, of which 267,000 were taken from her personal cassette. A candidate for the first time in her life, she made herself known when she gave a vitriol report on the Chicago police, which she denounced "& nbsp; systemic racism & nbsp;". In 2015, following the murder of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager killed by a white police officer, the city mayor had entrusted Ms. Lightfoot with the supervision of a law enforcement task force, including decried methods and corruption constitute, with gang violence, a familiar backdrop of the metropolis.
Correcting this reality will be one of the major challenges of the next city council. Despite a downward trend, more than five hundred murders were reported in 2018 in Chicago, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. A plague faced by successive mayors, as well as the federal government, despite the ranting of President Donald Trump, who said he was determined to put an end to "& nbsp; this carnage & nbsp;".
In this particularly segregated city, the new elected representative will also need the keys to restore confidence in the black population. Far from a city center in the process of gentrification, far from the architectural prowess that stretches along the Chicago River, far from the Lake Michigan marinas or semi-private schools, the inhabitants of the popular neighborhoods are fighting. When they don't leave town. The population of 2.7 million has declined slightly over the past three years.
Beyond the figures, demographers discern a sociological reality common to other cities in the country: Blacks desert by the thousands, replaced by an easier white population. Taxes and rents on the rise, public schools in disrepair, endemic violence are part of a balance sheet that the happy woman, whoever she is, will have to try to rectify.