Changing the landscape. Some are better choices.


“We must change the political landscape of Chicago,” says Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

I take that to mean that we look at each local election campaign in terms of how it reflects what is happening in the streets.

And how it expands the progressive electoral base.

Chicago’s progressive election politics has to offer more than what the old patronage system offered us: A vote in exchange for a pothole filled, a new garbage can, a ward or district favor or even a vote on one or another issue after permission from their boss is granted.

This is particularly true in a race like the one in the 26th House District where Jay Travis is once again going against the candidate of Stand for Children and Michael Madigan, Christian Mitchell.

And it is true in the 40th State House District here on the north west side where Harish I Patel is challenging Mell Machine water carrier, State Representative Jaime Andrade.

Andrade is one of those born again progressives who has his finger in the air. And you don’t need Jerry Taft to tell you that there is a strong progressive wind blowing up Milwaukee Avenue – The Progressive Corridor – on Chicago’s north west side.

I wish Andrade had shown that progressive spirit when he chose to support teacher pension theft and Senate Bill 1. The bill was declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Or when Andrade accepted money from Stand for Children.

Now that Progressives have scored some victories and impressive challenges, Andrade has been sticking his name on all sorts of progressive pieces of legislation.

But that didn’t happen because he was getting progressive votes in exchange for favors. It happened because there was a growing voting base for progressive candidates.

When retired Machine boss Dick Mell engineered the swap that placed his daughter in the City Council and Andrade in the State House, observers called it a parody of Chicago patronage and nepotism.

Time to expand the landscape of genuine progressive electoral politics.


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