Spring 1989, the night of Chicago’s mayoral election. Richie Daley, son of the fabled “Boss” of the Windy City, Richard J. Daley, a multi-term mayor who’d died in office — the only way he’d ever be removed from it — had just defeated a couple of pretenders to the throne, one black and the other flamboyantly white, in a three-way race. The old man’s kid won in a route.
The victory party was being held in the ballroom of the luxurious Fairmont Hotel on East Wacker Drive. Several thousand Daley volunteers and supporters had crammed into the place. It was loud, hot and sweaty and the booze was flowing freely.
Daley himself had not made any racist appeals during his campaign. Like his daddy-o, he knew victory depended on getting plenty of votes from the city’s black south and west sides. His canvassers and precinct captains, though, were free to use any appeal they thought appropriate when ringing doorbells for him. To be sure, many reminded the white homeowners who answered their doors that Tim Evans, Daley’s main challenger, was black. That’s really all they needed to do.
Daley copped the election by a margin of more than 14 points over Evans.
Chicago’d been ruled by a couple of black men for six years. First, the loquacious and charismatic Harold Washington had stunned the city by winning in 1983 and then, after he’d collapsed at his desk with a fluttering, fat-laden heart the day after Thanksgiving 1987, a place holder, Gene Sawyer. Daley’d dispatched Sawyer with ease in the primary a couple of months earlier. This day, he’d faced Evans, the fairly popular and accomplished black alderman running on the ad-hoc Harold Washington Party ticket, and a race-baiting Dem turncoat who’d run as a Republican, Ed (Fast Eddie) Vrdolyak.
The Fairmont ballroom was rocking. The victor would be making his appearance any minute. I’d squeezed my way in and stood, uncomfortably close, to two young men wearing natty suits who’d clearly been availing themselves of the finest victory spirits. And maybe some of the not-so finest ones. The music blared, the crowd swayed, and the two guys in front of me threw their arms over each others’ shoulders. One turned his head toward the other and shouted above the din, “Oh man! We finally got it back from the niggers!”
I decided I didn’t need to remain on the scene any longer. That was the story in a nutshell and I wrote it up as such.
Yeah, the incident depressed me. I’d voted, with great enthusiasm, twice, for Harold. I’d voted in the primary for the seat-holder, Gene Sawyer. And I’d voted that morning for Tim Evans. But somehow I knew Richie Daley himself wasn’t a real racist, deep in his heart. Sure, he was blissfully unaware of the true plight of the black woman and man, as are all white people, me included. But he wasn’t an N-dropper.
His supporters, many of them, were. N-dropping, by and large, is taboo these days. I doubt if anybody dared employ the term during L’il Duce‘s victory party last week. No matter. I know many — many — felt exactly as those two guys in front of me in the Fairmont Hotel ballroom that spring evening.
Note to loyal Pencillistas: In yesterday’s post, I laid out my magical, mystical Three Reasons why L’il Duce won the presidential election Tuesday. Going back over my notes and previous offerings herein, I realized I’d left out another, equally potent rationalization for the wholly unexpected, totally nauseating triumph. So, here are the reasons — in bullet points — why this holy land this past week became the world’s laughingstock:
- We idolize wealth & the wealthy
- Bitter old white men voted as one
- The visceral hatred for HRC was terrifyingly broad and deep
- and the addendum to the list: L’il Duce was a TV star and Americans think everything they see on TV is real
He’d’a Beat ‘Im?
Lemme get this straight:
This holy land elected a boorish, greedy, hyper-materialist, narcissistic, race-baiting, foreigner-bashing, help-your-sister/brother-ridiculing, misogynistic, climate-change-denying, Birther and braggart as president. Check.
So, the Democrats should instead have nominated a socialist, caring, wealth-redistributing, smash-the-power, 1960s anti-war and civil rights protester — and he would have won?
Bernie Sanders holdovers are saying polls indicate their guy would have beaten L’il Duce. They say this while surely knowing the polls showed Hillary Clinton beating him as well.
I’m more baffled than ever.
Monroe County sachem Geoff McKim points out we don’t necessarily need a constitutional amendment to ward off the next Electoral College miscarriage of justice.
McKim (With Shelli Yoder) At The Dem Convention
Something called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a movement within various states to award their Electoral College votes to the candidate who has won the national popular vote. Thus far, some 10 states and the District of Columbia have tweaked their EC voters’ guidelines to this effect. Those states and DC carry 61.7 percent of the total electoral votes needed for a candidate to become president.
Thanks to the EC, candidates in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016 won their respective presidential elections despite garnering fewer total popular votes than their opponents. Al Gore’s loss in 2000 is a dramatic case in point. His opponent George W. Bush was awarded the triumph because he, Bush, earned a mere 537 more votes in Florida, while losing the national popular vote by more than half a million.
Acc’d’g to the logic of the pro-Compact people, the US Constitution allows the states to determine the voting mechanism used by their own particular Electoral College members.
So, some on the left are bent out of shape over this safety pin-wearing business. Lots’o libs and progressives are attaching safety pins to their lapels, etc., as a way of showing solidarity with the communities that feel more threatened than ever now that L’il Duce has been elected president.
Twitter’s Awash In Pix Like This
I’ve seen lengthy debates on soc. med. over whether this safety pin thing is a valid form of protest or an execrable display of white privilege.
I refuse to get involved. Why? Simple. We on the Left for years — nay, decades — have been quibbling over balkanizing bullshit like this while the Religious Right and other archvillains have organized, tightly and effectively, to take over statehouses, gerrymander congressional districts, and occasionally put one reprobate or another in the White House.
The old line applies here: The conservatives look for allies while the liberals look for heretics. We’re chewing our own legs off before we’re even caught in the trap.