“A Republic, If You Can Keep It”: Ethics Reflections On Chicago’s Mayoral Election

Having just rejected a hard-left Democratic mayor whose leadership and policies left the city of Chicago in the midst of crises in its schools and on the streets, the besieged city’s voters took stock, thought hard, and elected a new mayor who promises more of the same. Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer, squeaked out a victory over Paul Vallas, a former Chicago Public Schools CEO. This indicates mass incompetence and ignorance by the city’s electorate, as well as apathy and a flat learning curve.

Let’s begin with the fact that Johnson, who advocates raising taxes (on “the rich,” of course) didn’t deliver on many of his own financial obligations. He finally had to pay up once he was elected, because Chicago has a law blocking deadbeats from taking office. Before that, however, he owed $3,357 in water and sewer bills as well as$1,044 in unpaid traffic tickets dating back to 2014 and 2015. Johnson’s campaign’s official rationalization for this was essentially the ever-popular “Everybody does it”:

“Like many working and middle class Chicagoans, the Johnson household has received various fines and fees from the City of Chicago over the years. These fines and fees are on a previously established payment plan and are on schedule to be fully resolved before Brandon Johnson takes office as our next mayor.”

But the mayor of the city is not like other citizens. He (or she) is supposed to be an exemplary citizen, and one who can lead by example. Johnson, obviously, can’t. The new Mayor-Elect also defaulted on a Capital One credit card debt of more than $3,600 in 2016. Chicago, meanwhile, is in the midst of its own fiscal problems. Choosing a guy with Johnson’s cavalier attitude toward financial obligations is pure incompetence.

And he’s so smug about it! Here was his response to a reporter who asked, “If you’ve had past fiscal issues, how can you manage a massive city budget? Should voters be concerned?” Johnson replied:

“Look, having student debt and credit card debt, that makes me a Chicagoan.”

That answer alone should have disqualified him from getting elected mayor, if Chicago’s voters were capable of critical thought.

Before he ran for mayor, Johnson advocated defunding the police. In one memorable quote, he defended looters because, after all, the stores being looted had insurance. Looting, Johnson argued, was the result of “an outbreak of incredible frustration and anguish” tied to “a failed racist system.”

Johnson was the beneficiary of millions of dollars in teachers union dues that were used to promote him in the Chicago’s mayoral runoff: he’s the candidate of crypto-Marxist union president Randi Weingarten. This has separate significance: if this is the kind of candidate a majority of America’s teachers support, there should be no doubt about why public schools are riddled with ideological indoctrination….and why American parents are irresponsible if they entrust their young offspring’s education and character development to union members.

Trying to explain the seemingly absurd result in the Chicago election, conservative writer Jeff Reynolds compared the phenomenon it to Jonestown:

When viewing the catastrophic homelessness in Portland, the out-of-control violent crime in St. Louis, the astonishing rates of shoplifting and property crimes in San Francisco, Philadelphia’s abject refusal to prosecute violent crimes, or the educational disasters of Baltimore, one often hears the hew and cry: Why do they continue to vote for this?..That’s the paradox of cult behavior. People with basic sense will quietly leave, with the remaining population consolidating the crazy. It then develops into a negative feedback loop, one in which the aggrieved class reinforces its victimhood and accelerates the downward spiral, with no one there to stage an intervention…

The most significant horrors throughout history followed this exact blueprint. Cultish adherence to the prevailing ideology, which creeps in slowly, almost unnoticed until it takes over, allowed the average citizen to justify atrocities in their own minds, or at least look away to avoid moral discomfort. But it always starts with the elevation of an aggrieved class over increasingly absurd charges of disenfranchisement.

Letting America’s blue cities devolve into modern-day Jonestowns will have repercussions we can only imagine if we look at it through the lens of history.

Yikes. Yet the results of the Chicago run-off seem to fit that analysis.

16 thoughts on ““A Republic, If You Can Keep It”: Ethics Reflections On Chicago’s Mayoral Election

  1. The Chicago police should stage a walkout by asserting a no confidence vote for anyone advocating eliminating police forces.

    Let the cities devolve into wastelands and do not come to their rescue. Coming to their rescue enables the continuation of the behaviors.

    The voters made their choice so let them live with the outcome.

  2. It’s as simple as this; Paul Vallas doesn’t check the woke boxes the way that Brandon Johnson did and the majority of voters of Chicago chose to vote for the woke check box, consequences be damned.

    Side Note About Chicago
    I live in south central Wisconsin and the last time I was in the Chicago are area was to go visit an old friend from my Chattanooga, TN Elementary School who happened to be up their showing his awesome hand made acoustic guitars at the Fretboard Summit at the Old Town School of Folk Music. That was my first time back in that area in many decades. I avoid Chicago like the plague, the Chicago area doesn’t see a dime of my dollars anymore, I even avoid doing business with companies located in that metropolitan area. I won’t even drive through the metropolitan area anymore and I don’t care if it adds time and/or miles to my trip.

  3. > Before that, however, he owed $3,357 in water and sewer bills as well as$1,044 in unpaid traffic tickets dating back to 2014 and 2015.

    Anybody around to investigate if the source of these funds could be from campaign donations? … Hello? … Anyone? … Bueller?

  4. Saw an article yesterday that said the winning voting bloc was comprised of black people from the south and west and white people from the north and lakefront. I think the lefties on the north shore are voting their superiority. They think they’re safe in their enclave. “Give the black people what they want. The problems won’t come up here.”

    I chatted a few weeks ago with a young lesbian who’d relocated to Phoenix from Chicago five years ago. I asked her what it was like on the ground. She said, “It’s not as bad as it sounds in the media. I mean, you know where not to go. It’s safe in the safe parts of town.” And then she concluded blithely with, “But I did have a gun pulled on me once.”

  5. Chicago has long practiced its own form of government called “ineptocracy”.
    ineptocracy – The electing or hiring of the least competent available.

    • From a hagiographic NYT article about the Chicago election:

      “Brandon is representative of today’s Chicago — it’s progressive, it leans younger,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat whose north lakeshore district was the core of Johnson’s support. “This should give heart to people who want to run progressive campaigns around the country, and it should give inspiration to people who believe in diversity, who believe in individual participation in elections.”

      Oh boy!

      • Her district (she’s 79, a lifetime pol married to a convicted felon political consultant, and one of the most leftist members of Congress): The district is anchored in Chicago’s North Side, including much of the area bordering Lake Michigan. It also includes many of Chicago’s northern suburbs, including Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Kenilworth, Mount Prospect, Niles, Park Ridge, Rosemont, Skokie, Wilmette, and Winnetka, as of the decennial redistricting following the 2010 United States census.

        The North Side fiddles while the Southside burns. Or maybe they throw fuel on the fire?

        • I spent one summer working in the suburbs before my last semester in college. That was…summer of 1991. I lived in Libertyville and split time working there and in Arlington Heights. I loved it and thought I would live there. That didn’t happen, and I’ve never regretted it.

  6. I can’t help but think of H. L. Mencken, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

  7. I live in Chicago, and I cannot express how sickened, frustrated, and terrified a lot of people are. Please keep in mind that the election was very close (51/49 or so), so about 1/2 of the population were against this union pawn (another community organizer).

    I don’t if it’s mentioned, but he basically won by getting most/all of the black votes (they always, ALWAYS, vote for the black candidates irrespective of policy—so tell me who’s racist) and white progressives, who will almost always vote against any straight white male. The teachers’ union now effectively runs this city. Many of us, those who can, are already figuring out where to move.

    Also, there was huge push for use of what has become Dems’ favorite tools for “shoring” up democracy: mail-in voting and ballot harvesting, and on large scale. The teachers’ union and other public unions provided 1000s of foot soldiers to help with that. Stick a fork in city, state and the US as a whole. Until we fix elections (not happening) the Dems will continue to cheat their way to power.

    • Oh Ron, there’s no fraud in any elections. Shush.

      You’re absolutely correct. Until massive mail in voting and vote harvesting are going to make Republicans winning the presidency virtually impossible. If Barack Obama for president and Hillary Clinton as VP ran as a Republican ticket, they’d lose.

      • From a (an essentially naive) WaPo article:

        “The city electorate’s collective decision to reject Lightfoot and replace her with Johnson reflects a fervent belief that hard-left, combative progressivism is the right way to run a city, or perhaps the only way to run a city, no matter what results are generated by that philosophy and those polices.”

        I think that analysis is just plain wrong. The black electorate voted for the only brother on the ballot.

  8. My lon gtime Usenet ally, Christopher Charles Morton, wrote this about Chicago.


    I’ll give you three reasons, having lived there until I joined the Army:
    1. The city “government” is as corrupt as any you’ll find in the third world. Members of the city council are in bed with the major gangs.
    2. The police department is as corrupt as the “government”, considering itself wholly outside the law. Until relatively recently, there was a home invasion, burglary and kidnapping ring operating INSIDE the most “elite” unit in the department.
    3. The population obviously LIKES these things, since they’ve been voting for them since before my grandmother moved there from Nashville… BEFORE WWI.

    Black Chicagoans elected and reelected Richard M. Daley for something like twenty+ years, DESPITE the fact that he profited politically from an organized torture ring operating INSIDE the Chicago PD. Most of the known victims of said ring were NOT Norwegian…

    Chicago is what it is because the Chicagoans WANT it that way. Sucks to be them.

  9. As on-point as his observations are, I experience a lot of cognitive dissonance about a reporter when I read “the hew and cry” instead of “the hue and cry,” which has been a part of the common law since about 1200.

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