USA: Chicago’s popular mayor Lightfoot has been voted out – politics
Four years ago she was a new American political star. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot as the first black and lesbian woman. In April 2019, she won the runoff, succeeded Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and was hugely popular for a few months. Now, in winter 2023, she has been voted out in the first round.
The second ballot in the third largest city in the USA contested by two men in a month, Paul Vallas got almost 34 percent and Brandon Johnson 20 percent of the vote. Lori Lightfoot, 60, collected only 17 percent, she was lost in the field of nine candidates, all of whom belong to the Democrats or are close to them.
Since 1983, no one had lost this post after just one term, and now it’s that time again. “We know that in life you don’t always win the battle in the end. But you never regret taking on the powerful and bringing the light,” she said at her election party on Wednesday night. She will “keep my fingers crossed for our next mayor and pray that he will serve the people of this city in the years to come. I stand here with my head held high and a heart full of gratitude.”
Apparently voters don’t want a progressive Democrat
She had experienced how quickly the mood can change. Lori Lightfoot soon lost her role as a shooting star after her victory, because the pandemic came in 2020 and also hit Chicago with its world-famous downtown. The crime, once the hallmark of the Lake Michigan metropolis, was on the rise. The Magnificent Mile in the center was looted in August 2020 after police shot a young black man in the Englewood neighborhood. In a shootout in May 2022, two people died and others were injured.
Although the murder rate has been falling again since 2021, Chicago is well behind hot spots like St. Louis or Baltimore. But the number of crimes is still a third higher than in 2019, and large parts of the electorate obviously blame her, the mayor. For the time being, they do not want a progressive democrat, who had previously been so popular in this democratic stronghold. Many of the more than 500,000 people who cast a valid vote seem to be hoping for a strong man at the moment. Especially since the incumbent Lightfoot has a reputation for being divisive with her personality instead of cultivating political coalitions. Although her followers still appreciate her commitment to equality and less fortunate areas.
Since the outbreak of the virus and its consequences, violence has once again become a major campaign issue, and this could also be observed in other liberal cities such as New York. After the police officers killed George Floyd, left-wing circles called for the police to cut funding, but this demand can hardly be won by a majority.
Johnson, the more left-wing of the two candidates who are now going into the duel for Chicago at the beginning of April, has also turned away. “Regardless of where you live and what you look like, you deserve a better, stronger and safer Chicago,” said the educator, who is supported by the powerful teachers’ union. People wanted a crisis manager, says his rival Vallas, the only white candidate backed by the police union: “We’re going to make Chicago the safest city in America.”