When Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently went down in defeat, progressives throughout the country rubbed their eyes as if waking from a bad dream. An icon of Leftism was suddenly gone; an icon of identity politics – a woke black female lesbian with a wife – was history.
An Opinion piece in The New York Times – “The Spectacular Fall of Lori Lightfoot” – led the way in funeral orations.
“If all politics is local,” Times writer Charles M. Blow stated, “crime and safety are the most local. And when the perception of crime collides with ingrained societal concepts of race and gender, politicians, particularly Black women, can pay.”
All of which suggests that something is rotten in Denmark (r-a-c-i-s-m) and that the word “pay” in this instance means that a black woman was treated unfairly.
CNN’s massive piece on Lightfoot’s fall stated that she “rode into the Chicago mayor’s office as a reform candidate…making history as the first Black woman and first out gay person to hold the office as she won all 50 wards.”
But there was nothing “victorious” about Lightfoot’s emotional concession speech during which her supporters chanted “We love you!” and as the defeated mayor said, “I will be rooting and praying for the next mayor.”
During that speech, Lightfoot’s eyes were large wellsprings of tears; her mouth seemed to quiver downward — heralding, perhaps, an emotional collapse.
But the moment Lightfoot’s tears dried up, she was back on the attack.
Less than 24 hours after that speech she condemned her critics as sexist and racist in an interview with PBS station WTTN. Yes, the identity politics politician was back to being the same old Lori – the one the voters of Chicago rejected.
Lightfoot’s fixation on race and gender had been a hallmark of her tenure as mayor. In 2021, she said: “It’s a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American.” 2021 also saw her refusing to be interviewed by white journalists to mark her second anniversary as mayor.
What kind of a mayor says and does these sorts of things?
Lightfoot lost to candidates Paul Villas and Brandon Johnson, who will face a final runoff on April 4 to determine the city’s next mayor. Villas, who leads in the polls, was appointed CEO of the School District of Philadelphia in 2002. When he left that position in 2007, Philadelphia Magazine described him as the “most effective Philadelphia schools chief in a generation.”
On the other hand, Johnson, who once voted to defund the police, appears to be a lighter version of Lightfoot. Johnson confirmed this perception when he said that if elected mayor he would concentrate on mental health professionals to solve Chicago’s violence problems, rather than hiring more police officers.
Employing mental health professionals as an alternative to traditional law and order policing is a new Democrat tactic. Rather than condemning the disintegration and breakdown of the family unit as the primary cause of social dysfunction (gun violence), politicians like Johnson look to outside sources to fix the problem long after the dye has been cast.
And yet, it is interesting to see these sorts of ideological squabbles happening in the Democrat party.
An example of this is the way that Lightfoot treated Paul Villas when Villas became a candidate for mayor. Lightfoot had the same sort of contempt for him that she no doubt felt towards MAGA Republicans. “He [Villas] is giving voice and platform to people who are hateful of anyone who isn’t white and Republican in our city…..Chicago is a deeply divided and segregated city,” she said.
Lightfoot’s defeat might be a hopeful indicator that some Democrats are beginning to wake up. The Woke Democrat mayor syndrome has by now become a tired cliché in need of change, with Lightfoot’s defeat as a sort of clarion call.
Nationally, other woke Democrat mayors are finding themselves on the firing line. Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans faces a possible recall election as uncollected trash overflows into the streets there, and as violent crime waves have dubbed the city the new murder capital of the nation.
In Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms opted not to seek re-election in 2021 because of controversies surrounding the “COVID” crime wave in that city. The Biden Administration then rewarded Bottoms with a plum upgrade: she became the Director of the White House Office of Engagement, but mysteriously resigned after only six months.
All of this, of course, points to a faulty woke Democrat hiring process, the same process that gave the nation a fashion suitcase thief named Sam Brinton. What is almost certain is that many other “woke” appointees and elected officials will follow down this path.
In the meantime, in those big Blue cities where mayoral candidates jockey for position, we see many of these candidates, in order to get votes, sounding like Republicans at times.
A primary example is my own city of Philadelphia, where a recent WHYY-PBS mayoral forum on gun violence included most of the 10 candidates running for office. While the city’s one Republican candidate, David Oh, was not invited to the forum – Philadelphia’s last Republican mayor was Bernard Samuel (1941-1952) – had a Republican observer from another city been dropped in the middle of this forum and listened to many of the responses there without knowing that the place was packed with Democrats, he or she would have assumed that there were several Republicans in the mix.
Even Philadelphia’s most radical mayoral candidate, Helen Gym, was quoted at the forum as saying that she favors bringing back police foot patrols. This is a huge step back from what occurred in June of 2020 when 14 City Council members called for reforms and said “no” to a police budget increase.
The woke fever of that time, while not successful in actually defunding the police, came skittishly close. Among the 14 Democrat signers of the letter was moderate liberal and former real estate mogul Allan Domb, who is running for mayor. The three Council members who did not sign the letter included David Oh and two other Republicans.
At the WHYY forum, I heard a former Councilmember and mayoral contender Cherelle Parker state emphatically that she was never for defunding the police despite her having voted in favor of freezing the police budget. She said she fought against the idea of defunding despite City Council rhetoric at the time which leaned heavily in the direction of defunding.
Better get those law-and-order cards in order, now that more Philadelphians are being shot and car-jacked. Sometimes it pays to sound like a Republican!
Since Philadelphia City Council is generally a rubber stamp progressive machine that sucks up all the woke ideas that filter into the city from New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco, you’re going to have a lot of candidates who have Lori Lightfoot-style ideas.
One mayoral candidate, for instance, insisted that every Philadelphia neighborhood decide for itself what kind of policing would be appropriate in their community. If a community loathes bike cops, then bike cops would be banned, and so on. Communities and neighborhoods, in other words, would control the police department.
Additionally, radical Democrat Gym, or Philadelphia’s very own Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wanted more mental health professionals to intervene in crime situations rather than increasing the numbers of police officers.
Another candidate announced that he wanted the city to “bring in officers that look like the City of Philadelphia,” a cryptic reference he did not explain but which somehow smacked of Lori Lightfoot’s view of Paul Villas.