I was holding the microphone at a luncheon of my chapter of the Illinois Retired Teacher Association in 2017. We had all the announced Democratic candidates for Governor of Illinois assembled at the front table.
My job was to move around the room and let our members ask the candidates questions.
But I couldn’t help myself.
The candidates were all white guys.
In 2017 all the Democratic Candidates for governor were white guys.
So, I broke protocol and asked my own question. “How is this going to change, boys?”
In the coming race for Mayor of Chicago, political views and agenda matter a great deal.
But so does race, nationality and gender.
It is the way to build a winning grassroots coalition.
That’s not a new idea.
Others think we should look forward by looking backward wistfully to the Daley era, dismissing critiques of Daley and Rahm and the last 30 years as trading on fear.
To me, the political story of the year is the victories around the country won by socialists (whatever the definition), progressives and left-wing Democrats in primary after primary. It is a story of entrenched white men who thought their power would last forever being thrown out of office by women of color. And by women of color finally being credited with the fact that they are at the very least the drivers of progressive electoral wins.
Ocasio-Cortez. Presley. Abrams. And others
Chicago is a rainbow – if segregated – city. Half the voters are women. Two thirds are people of color.
There was a time when Chicago led the way, setting an example for what progressive, inclusive politics looked like.
We now have a chance to catch up.
Not by reassembling the old guard, or looking to big money, or with a history that claims a progressive vision was given birth by somebody named Daley.