Rahm could have won re-election but he wanted to save the city from a bruising election campaign.
This appears to be the major media and pundit meme to explain Rahm’s not-entirely surprising announcement yesterday that he won’t be running for a third term.
Rahm’s return to the fifth floor of City Hall was far from assured, even with thirty million campaign dollars in the bank.
After all, he barely squeaked into a second term when Commissioner Chuy Garcia, a stand in for the ill Karen Jennings Lewis, forced him into a run-off after just a couple of months campaigning and vastly out spent.
Rahm has more baggage than a flight to Miami in January.
This morning, some pundit wrote that with Rahm’s announcement current and future candidates no longer had Rahm to run against.
That’s not exactly true.
Rahm was more than an individual Mayor. He was the embodiment of an urban policy.
We have documented the failure of those policies over the past seven and a half years.
Privatization. Union busting. School closings. A revolving door of corrupt school leadership and an unelected school board. Disinvestment in communities of color. A police department out of control. Public pension debt. An epidemic of violence. The forced exodus from the city of hundreds of thousands of African Americans. A tax burden on working class neighborhoods while corporations are given a free ride.
Eight years and the list is long.
Whoever is running or steps up to run now must present an urban policy that breaks with Rahmism.
There are already more than a dozen candidates who have announced. It is expected more will do so.
For the entrenched powers the spoils are too great to sit back and let the mayor’s office go to whoever.
I will be keeping my eyes and nose open.