We’re going to teach her if she gets elected...
April 3, 2019 4:50 AM   Subscribe

Lori Lightfoot elected first African-American female mayor of Chicago Running on a platform against the city’s corrupt machine, she swept all 50 districts for an historic victory, and is also the first openly gay mayor of one of America’s biggest cities.
posted by stillmoving (54 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
🙌🏿
posted by Fizz at 5:08 AM on April 3 [9 favorites]


Ta-dah!!! I wish her the very best of luck with this. Let it be a shining beacon for all of the upcoming elections in this country.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:11 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Fuck yeah, the people are done with old, white, corrupt politics and have spoken.
posted by Young Kullervo at 5:29 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Seriously, Lightfoot vs. Preckwinkle? Come now, that hardly seems a fair contest.

Jokes aside, what an amazing accomplishment and what great news!
posted by peacheater at 5:31 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Damn did she win. That's like, electoral orbital bombardment rather than just a landslide.
posted by XMLicious at 5:43 AM on April 3 [12 favorites]


Unfortunately, our website this incredibly great news is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.

FTFYGDPR
posted by chavenet at 5:50 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


Let’s hope she can do something about towing and the police.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:50 AM on April 3


Photo Caption in the NYT: Ms. Lightfoot with her daughter Vivian Lightfoot and her wife Amy Eshleman on Tuesday night.

This is America.
posted by chavenet at 5:52 AM on April 3 [27 favorites]


Unfortunately, our website this incredibly great news is currently unavailable in most European countries.

And, apparently - Canada is now part of the EU - "good job" tech people at the Chicago-Tribune!
posted by jkaczor at 5:54 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Young Kullervo: "Fuck yeah, the people are done with old, white, corrupt politics and have spoken."

Lightfoot's opponent, Preckwinkle is also an African-American woman, which underlines your point.
posted by chavenet at 5:56 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


I am really worried about her realtionship with the chicago police.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:01 AM on April 3 [32 favorites]


Historic moment but it appears there's a lot of Chicagoan queer POC who are against her on the basis of her policing and immigration track record, with the StopLightfoot hashtag. From Charlene Carruthers: https://twitter.com/CharleneCac/status/1113243527733862401

Do Chicago a favor and save all excited posts and articles about our next mayor being Black lesbian. You’re not helping. She loves and has worked to protect the very systems that suck resources and harm our communities. #stoplightfoot #LGBT
posted by ocular shenanigans at 6:02 AM on April 3 [21 favorites]


Good.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:04 AM on April 3


Yeah, I'm glad she's not Daley, and I'm glad that she's probably not going to be in power for another 23 years, but I'd be happier if any single person I knew that was working for criminal justice reform in Chicago (from bail reform to prison reform to #nocopacademy to BLM) thought she was a good candidate. She let Rekia Boyd's murderer retire with a pension. That shouldn't be swept away.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:08 AM on April 3 [32 favorites]


Also, looking at the map: Notice how the southwest sides and northwest sides are the darkest green? That's where the cops live (no really, it's a thing). The lightest areas seem to be the areas with the highest amount of policing/African-Americans. That in itself should be a little worrying.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:17 AM on April 3 [12 favorites]


In other news - some of the aldermen that progressive groups were trying to get out of office were actually voted out - including Joe Moreno (Ward 1, a fucking ridiculous corrupt goofball), and Patrick J. O'Connor (Ward 40, one of the old guard racist aldermen and one of Emanuel's top guys). A good number of the others were at least forced into runoff, and Wards 5, 33, and 46 haven't been called yet.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:33 AM on April 3 [14 favorites]


The lightest areas seem to be the areas with the highest amount of policing/African-Americans.
I take your point, but the lightest areas are the ones that Lightfoot won by the smallest amounts, because she won every single ward in the city. I suspect that reflects frustration with Preckwinkle, who represents political continuity, rather than enthusiasm for Lightfoot, but there's no place where people objected to Lightfoot so strongly that a majority voted for her opponent.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:34 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


I take your point, but the lightest areas are the ones that Lightfoot won by the smallest amounts, because she won every single ward in the city. I suspect that reflects frustration with Preckwinkle, who represents political continuity, rather than enthusiasm for Lightfoot, but there's no place where people objected to Lightfoot so strongly that a majority voted for her opponent.

That's partially because the map is by ward, and the wards are so heavily gerrymandered - nobody wants to be in charge of Englewood (for ex), so instead Englewood is divided into five different wards. The most violent areas in Chicago are minority parts of other wards.

I'm not saying it wasn't a landslide (obvs it was), but the fact that the opposition votes didn't come from the North Shore, didn't come from the southwest and northwest sides, but instead came from the poorest parts of the city - that tells you something about who won.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:44 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


As that article points out, there is one ward, the 16th, that is wholly within Englewood. And Lightfoot got more than twice as many votes in the 16th as Preckwinkle did. If it's just gerrymandering, then the 16th should have been closer than it was.

It would be interesting to compare turnout to past mayoral elections, though. I wouldn't be surprised if, faced with two pretty unappealing candidates, a lot of people stayed home.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:51 AM on April 3


Yeah I don't know any progressives here (even up here on the North side, in my historically LGBT enclave neighborhood) who are unguardedly thrilled. People dislike Preckwinkle intensely and I think a little unfairly, but there's still a fair amount of skepticism around Lightfoot.

Damn did she win. That's like, electoral orbital bombardment rather than just a landslide.

It was a teacher vs a cop; I would bet the union block got split up on this one.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 6:56 AM on April 3 [7 favorites]


I mean. It's a mayoral election without an incumbent in Chicago that went to runoff. Most Chicago elections since 1983 are 80/20 for the incumbent on the initial vote. This and 2015 are as exciting as they get.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:58 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


I know that Preckwinkle runs as a teacher, but I don't think she's taught in 40-odd years, and I'm not sure she ever taught in a public school. Her ex-husband, the gloriously-named Zeus Preckwinkle, was a long-time teacher at a private school in Hyde Park. I don't think she would necessarily have a lock on the CPS union vote. (And I'm sure that Lightfoot got the cop vote, but I'm not sure that being an apologist for the police union is going to go far with members of any other union.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:59 AM on April 3


Ok, I was off by a little bit. Preckwinkle student taught at a Chicago public school, but after that she spent her entire teaching career in Catholic and private schools. She quit teaching in 1981.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:03 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Fuck yeah, the people are done with old, white, corrupt politics and have spoken.
This is Chicago, so I hope she is corrupt AF. Otherwise she won’t last five minutes on the job.

I wouldn’t wish Chicago Politics on an innocent person any more than I’d wish SF Sidewalks on a barefoot person.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:17 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


I know there's a lot of talk about anti-Lightfoot talk in poor and minority neighborhoods but I actually live, volunteer, and commute through a poor and extremely non-white area of Chicago (via) and I've seen a TON of Lightfoot signs tied to gates and propped up in windows in the last several weeks.
posted by phunniemee at 7:19 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


I more-or-less approve of the job Preckwinkle's done on the county board (I mean, it's Cook County, there's nobody you can approve of wholeheartedly, it's like the 3rd most corrupt unit of government in the whole US or something), but let's not forget she ran an ugly and bigoted campaign, and Lightfoot did not take the bait.

Like every other progressive I know, I have Concerns about Lightfoot and policing, but Preckwinkle made it really, really hard to vote for her this time around, and it's definitely going to color my attitude towards her when she runs for County Board President again.

(Note that I live in suburban Cook, so while I vote for Cook County officials like Preckwinkle, I do not vote in Chicago elections like this one.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:28 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Also, looking at the map: Notice how the southwest sides and northwest sides are the darkest green? That's where the cops live (no really, it's a thing). The lightest areas seem to be the areas with the highest amount of policing/African-Americans. That in itself should be a little worrying.

If the first round of voting, erstwhile Trump supporter and Young Republican-endorsed Willie Wilson got the largest share of the black vote. Black voters in Chicago are not as progressive as you might think. Many of them may have been uneasy about voting for a gay candidate.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:33 AM on April 3


The Rising Black Left Movement Behind Chicago’s Historic Elections
No matter who becomes mayor on April 2, the landscape of Chicago politics has shifted radically.


Author of the above article in The Nation from the first of the month, historian Barbara Ransby, interviewed on today's Democracy Now! (Chicago election coverage starts around 28:20, direct .mp4, alt link, .torrent files 1, 2) in the aftermath of the landslide. Lightfoot's victory speech was extremely inspiring... let's just carry it right through and make her POTUS.
posted by XMLicious at 7:36 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I think it's more likely that people voted for Willie Wilson because he was literally handing out cash and didn't talk very much about his politics other than 'lower taxes'.

I'm from the areas you're talking about and just accusing black people of being homophobic with no backup is pretty gross - especially considering the movement against Lightfoot was led by queer POC (see above linked tweets).
posted by dinty_moore at 7:39 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


Preckwinkle and Lightfoot sound like a one-hit wonder 70's folk-rock duo, one quite possibly to be found on Democracy Now!

(I still love the Bluejean Committee!)
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:49 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


I didn't say black people were homophobic. I said many black voters in Chicago might be homophobic. Honestly, it's a guess. Activists, progressives, younger people in general: not homophobic. I figure black voters are like the voting population in general, which skews older.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:53 AM on April 3


Chicago Teacher's Union member here. The union really pushed hard for Preckwinkle, but when I looked I found it honestly hard to see how their educations platforms differed. Both were light on specifics and high on good sounding talk.

Preckwinkle made sense to for CTU in the primary, but I'm shocked how negatively they went against Lightfoot in the runoff.
posted by Wulfhere at 7:57 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I know that Preckwinkle runs as a teacher, but I don't think she's taught in 40-odd years, and I'm not sure she ever taught in a public school.

I mean, Lightfoot isn't running for mayor in between shifts on the beat either. Teacher vs cop is a broad generalization of their public images.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:57 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Calling Lightfoot a cop is kind of like saying that Robert Muller has ties to Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. Technically true, but completely devoid of context and nuance.
posted by schmod at 8:10 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I said many black voters in Chicago might be homophobic.
I mean, they might be, but I'm not seeing a ton of evidence that they came out in big numbers against Lightfoot. It seems like a weird allegation based on what we know about voting patterns.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:03 AM on April 3




I'm not saying it wasn't a landslide (obvs it was), but the fact that the opposition votes didn't come from the North Shore, didn't come from the southwest and northwest sides, but instead came from the poorest parts of the city - that tells you something about who won.

I didn't follow this election that closely but it is easy to recognise that this kind of thing is a straight up bullshit whisper campaign of ridiculous character assassination that you so often seen being used against actual experienced progressive candidates. "Some people say...". "Her opposition says". "That tells you something". It's some sort of weird 'vague booking' style wink wink crap intimating that because she worked within the system and the system is corrupt she herself must also be corrupt. There is no actual substantive information that Lightfoot was in anyway corrupt or "problematic". So much so that that in the first election she was actively opposed by the FOP (as was her opponent Preckwinkle) and they sat out the second entirely. The supposed daming information is all multiple degrees of separation associations and intimations to the extent that the threads of wool connecting her on the conspiracy wallboard is stretched so thin as to be damn near invisible. This garbage is 100 times weaker than Butter Emails.

It is just Innuendo.

I don't anticipate Council Wars II but I do think we will see major conniptions from the Tribune editorial board and John Kass. Fortunately, they have tightened up their paywall to lock out incognito mode so I won't have to see too much of it.

I'm hoping that Lightfoot's results impress enough alderman that she has a genuinely resounding mandate to push some real reform insteading of getting blocked at every turn like Chicago's previous progressive black mayor did.

Do I expect great things? Nope. It's Chicago. Do I hope for not-shit things? Yes. Do I expect the racists, homophobes and CPD/FOP to come out swinging? Also yes.
posted by srboisvert at 9:53 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I mean, they might be, but I'm not seeing a ton of evidence that they came out in big numbers against Lightfoot.

It was an election with extremely low turnout, so a lot of people didn't come out at all.

Man, I've got nearly five decades of experience in Chicago. I'm really surprised that it would be so controversial to say there's homophobia in the black community here. I've been the target of it myself, and I'm not even gay.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:05 AM on April 3


There is homophobia in every community. Again: the gay candidate won every ward by a landslide. I'm not seeing any evidence that homophobia in the black community was a factor in this election.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:08 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


I occasionally do arts outreach in Chicago and in my limited experience homophobia is just not a big problem among student age kids no matter the neighborhood. In fact, it’s cool to be supportive of traditionally marginalized groups. Like many issues, it comes to light more harshly in impoverished areas, and the product of older marginalized individuals on youth.

I’m still a bit wary of Lightfoot though cuz she’s a dang cop, but I know some good cops at least.
posted by dagosto at 10:22 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I didn't follow this election that closely but it is easy to recognise that this kind of thing is a straight up bullshit whisper campaign of ridiculous character assassination that you so often seen being used against actual experienced progressive candidates. "Some people say...". "Her opposition says". "That tells you something". It's some sort of weird 'vague booking' style wink wink crap intimating that because she worked within the system and the system is corrupt she herself must also be corrupt. There is no actual substantive information that Lightfoot was in anyway corrupt or "problematic".

You're talking about an actual map that shows that the majority of the opposition vote (which wasn't much of an opposition vote - this was a landslide, and I'm not trying to dispute that fact) came from a certain section of the south side. You can have your own opinion about why cop neighborhoods gave her a greater percentage of their vote, but you can't deny the fact that it happened.

Here's some links on why people were opposing Lightfoot from criminal justice activists that might explain why they find her 'problematic': #StopLightfoot ; BYP ; South Side Weekly, a progressive guide to the Chicago 2019 election. If you need more, I can pull more up. You're free to find this to be less of a problem than Preckwinkle's campaign or record, but you can't deny the fact that there was, in fact, opposition from Lightfoot on the left due her previous actions and positions that she, in fact, held.

For another thing, she wasn't running as an experienced progressive candidate - she was running as an outsider, clean, uncorrupt candidate.

I'm not saying that Preckwinkle was a good candidate (she was not, she ran an awful campaign and there are legitimate reasons why people would have concerns about her), but people have legitimate concerns about Lightfoot, and it feels weird to deny that.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:34 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


Man, I've got nearly five decades of experience in Chicago. I'm really surprised that it would be so controversial to say there's homophobia in the black community here. I've been the target of it myself, and I'm not even gay.

There's a history of white progressives blaming Black and Latinx homophobia and at the same time either a) excusing white homophobia (think of the reaction to Prop 8 back in 2008) or b) ignoring queer PoC and legitimate concerns of the black community. In this case, the people I know that were involved in #stoplightfoot were queer PoC, so while I'm not denying that there is homophobia in the black community, I don't think that was the reason why the majority of the people who voted against Lightfoot (which, again, was a small amount of the total number of votes), did so.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:55 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


You're talking about an actual map that shows that the majority of the opposition vote (which wasn't much of an opposition vote - this was a landslide, and I'm not trying to dispute that fact) came from a certain section of the south side.
It's a little weird, though, to assume that every vote for Preckwinkle represents opposition from the left. So, for instance, Preckwinkle did relatively well in the 4th ward, which isn't terribly surprising, because she represented the 4th ward in the city council for almost 20 years. (And it still wasn't particularly close: Lightfoot received 8,434 votes to Preckwinkle's 5,699. That's the closest I could find of any ward other than the 5th, which contains Hyde Park and is also a place to which Preckwinkle has deep ties.) People there might very well have been voting for a local politician whom they know and trust, rather than against her opponent.

I understand that there are a lot of activists who are deeply suspicious of Lightfoot. I am seeing very little evidence that this influenced voters, given that this was a landslide of proportions that seem pretty much unprecedented in Chicago history.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:03 AM on April 3


I'm not seeing any evidence that homophobia in the black community was a factor in this election.

I don't have any real evidence either. It's more of a hunch born of years of watching Chicago politics and low-information voters in general. Somebody thought it would be enough of a factor to distribute gay-baiting flyers around the South Side. Preckwinkle promptly denounced them and I have no reason to believe her campaign was involved, but this kind of dirty play happens so much in Chicago that you wonder how it could have no effect. Who organizes these kinds of things, and to what end?

There's a history of white progressives blaming Black and Latinx homophobia and at the same time either a) excusing white homophobia

Please be assured that I am not excusing white homophobia.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:18 AM on April 3


I think there's an argument to be made that Lightfoot's record was badly distorted in the weeks leading up to the election, as outlined in this opinion piece. However, lots of my friends are very upset about this outcome, and I can't discount that. Hopefully Lightfoot will prove to be a better ally to all of Chicago's residents than they fear.
posted by merriment at 11:38 AM on April 3


Preckwinkle's unpopular soda tax can't be overlooked as a big issue for a lot of voters. For example, this Sun Times piece from Englewood:
"Voters we polled — that admitted who they voted for — were choosing Lightfoot by 3-1. Almost always, the word they used was “change.” And just as often came references to the since-repealed sweetened beverage tax Preckwinkle had helped push through the Cook County Board."
posted by gueneverey at 12:20 PM on April 3


the people I know that were involved in #stoplightfoot were queer PoC

There was some discussion of this in the interview with Barbara Ransby I linked to above, which they've put up a transcript of:
I should also say, in all fairness, that there were critiques of both candidates. And I think that reflects a level of political savvy and sophistication, that it wasn’t enough to say we’re going of a black woman mayor, that many young black queer activists, for example, were very critical of Lori Lightfoot’s role on the police board and didn’t feel that she really fought hard enough to hold police accountable, to punish police for police crimes and so forth. So, they weren’t timid about doing that simply because she was an African-American woman and an out gay black woman.

So, the twofold victory is that, in some ways, the white-led machine in Chicago politics has been wounded, if not defeated, but it’s also a challenge that, you know, a whole ecosystem of black and Latinx and anti-racist white activists in Chicago have shaped the debate around this campaign and will continue to push after the inauguration in May.

[...]

...Toni Preckwinkle was certainly seen as a part of the old guard. She was one of the founders in the City Council, when she served there, of the Progressive Caucus, and certainly was supported by the progressive wing of the labor movement here in Chicago. But I think the idea of someone who hadn’t held office, the idea of someone who had a strong message of being independent and so forth, was appealing to a number of people.

Now, that said, also, a lot of people with money supported Lori Lightfoot. A lot of, you know, North Side wealthy districts, wards, went with Lori Lightfoot, and that allowed for TV ads and a reach that Toni Preckwinkle didn’t have.

So, you know, I mean, people vote for a lot of different reasons. And I guess, you know, part of the way I’m making sense of this, this morning, is that it’s not just about what individual wins. It’s about what issues got put on the table and what commitments were extracted. And so, phase two then is to see whether the movement sustains its pressure, sustains the push, and actually holds Lori Lightfoot accountable for the things that she has promised to do.

[...]

...the [Black Lives Matter?] movement really confronted Lori Lightfoot when she was in her role as the chair of the police board. And young people confronted her around the Rekia Boyd murder and confronted her around the Laquan McDonald issue during the campaign. There were actually T-shirts that said “Queers Against Lori Lightfoot,” which was interesting and, I think, eye-catching for a number of people to see that kind of formulation of people saying this is not just about identity. And a lot of that centered around grievances around police accountability. Of course, Lori Lightfoot is a former prosecutor and, many felt, much too closely allied with the police, even though the promises she has made re for police accountability and police reform. And so, again, it’s a question of pushing and making sure that at least some of those promises are kept and that the movement sustains its momentum.

[...]

...I think the Latino community was divided. I mean, certainly, high-profile Latinx leaders in the city ultimately sided with and endorsed Lori Lightfoot. Chuy was one of those. Of course, you know, Chuy—when Chuy ran, Toni Preckwinkle declined to endorse him against Rahm Emanuel, so there may have been some residual from that. But also, Susana Mendoza, who was the other high-profile Latinx candidate in the race, Gery Chico, both endorsed Lori Lightfoot.

But what I would say, on the grassroots level, organizers in the immigrant rights movement, some young, queer Latinx organizers allied with young black organizers in challenging that scenario, in challenging Lori Lightfoot, in challenging the idea that she would be some sort of savior for the city. So, there were Latinos on both sides of the debate between the two contenders.

And I think, you know, really, it’s—there are political, ideological differences, and we don’t see black people voting in a single bloc. We don’t see Latinx people voting in a single bloc. I think there’s a real move beyond a certain kind of narrow identity politics, and really embracing issues and forming new alliances. And we’ve really seen more black-brown unity at the grassroots level in Chicago than we have in actual more formal electoral coalitions.
posted by XMLicious at 12:22 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


I just want people participating in this thread to reflect on the fact that, while you were going back and forth on whether black people were voting against gays or whatever, that her opponent had been responsible for an unpopular policy that was mentioned during exit polls (the soda tax) and the first time it's mentioned in the thread is all the way down here. Like, maybe have a discussion about relevant policy first before you decide that this election was a referendum on a marginalised group?

Please do not make me think that the dipshits who complain about identity politics have a point.
posted by Merus at 1:48 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


"and is also the first openly gay mayor of one of America’s biggest cities."

I thought Houston TX had a gay mayor years ago. (Then, again, I could just be senile.)
posted by OldAndTired at 9:50 PM on April 3


but I do think we will see major conniptions from the Tribune editorial board and John Kass

Kass, who I loathe with every fiber of my fourth-generation Chicago body ("Royko wannabe" is my kindest thought) actually seemed to be pulling for Lightfoot, to me, at least. I'm sure, somewhere down the road, though, he'll find something to asininely harp against her.
posted by Chitownfats at 10:18 PM on April 3


maybe have a discussion about relevant policy first before you decide that this election was a referendum on a marginalised group?

Metafilter gonna be what Metafilter gonna be.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:13 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


"Kass, who I loathe with every fiber of my fourth-generation Chicago body"

Or as I like to call him, John "Jack" Kass.

5th gen!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:39 AM on April 4


> "and is also the first openly gay mayor of one of America’s biggest cities." I thought Houston TX had a gay mayor years ago. (Then, again, I could just be senile.)

You're correct. Annise Parker was the openly-gay mayor of Houston from 2010-2016.
posted by desuetude at 10:28 AM on April 4


I read that as "the first openly gay mayor of [Chicago, which is] one of America’s biggest cities."
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:27 AM on April 4


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