Does Race Still Matter In Chicago Politics?

February 25, 2011  |  

By J. Smith

Does race still matter in local politics? Not to black voters in Chicago, apparently. Carol Moseley Braun, the candidate endorsed by Jesse Jackson and Chicago’s other black leaders, lost miserably to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in this week’s mayoral race. Much of the city may still be geographically segregated, but people don’t vote along racial and ethnic lines like they once did, reports The Huffington Post.

The change in perspective can be viewed in a number of ways both positive and negative. It disproves the popular notion that black people will blindly vote for black politicians, ignorant to a candidate’s stance on the issues or his/her qualifications. On the other hand, does the outcome of the election signify a weakening of unified black communities in large cities like Chicago?  Or is Rahm Emanuel just that tight?

Maybe so, since the mayor-elect also had a stronghold on the Hispanic vote, sometimes outpolling the Mexican-Americanformer  president of Chicago’s schools Gery Chico and Puerto Rican City Clerk Miguel del Valle.

The Huffington Post also reports that Braun may have been her own downfall after running what onlookers say was a terrible, alienating campaign. When other candidates released their tax returns, she refused. It was later revealed that her companies are struggling financially, which weakened public confidence in her ability to handle the city’s financial woes.

Still, maybe race was just no match for the Obama cosign and Emanuel’s overall bad-assness.

Read more: Carol Moseley Braun’s Crushing Defeat Shows A Change in Chicago’s Racial Politics

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