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The [Monday] Papers

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I haven't spent much - if any - time on polls during the mayor's race because a) most of them are trash, and b) unlike the vast majority of my colleagues, I learned my lesson a long time ago.

However, the poll out today would have to be mind-numbingly wrong to at least not be in the ballpark. I mean, it could be an outlier, given its fantastical numbers, but even if it's off by double-digits, it's very embarrassingly bad news for Toni Preckwinkle.

"[Lori] Lightfoot leads Toni Preckwinkle by a whopping margin of 53 percent to 17 percent," WTTW reports.

Twenty-nine percent of those polled are still undecided, and comprise demographic groups - black and/or under 50 - more likely to be favorable to Preckwinkle than other demographic groups, but groups that nonetheless still prefer Lightfoot.

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"Lightfoot leads in every subset of voters, but she's particularly popular with those who are white and college educated, 62 percent of whom say they'll vote for her versus 11 percent solidly behind Preckwinkle.

"The biggest divide in the mayoral race is race," [pollster Jill] Normington said. "(Lightfoot) leads among both constituencies but truly dominates among white voters."

I'm not sure I agree with that analysis. Here's why:

"White voters support Lightfoot 64 to 13, while black voters support her 41 to 21."

So Lightfoot is dominating among black voters too. And while Lightfoot's support drops 23 points, Preckwinkle only picks up eight points. That suggests to me that most of those undecided black voters are simply unfamiliar with Lightfoot, whereas Preckwinkle is more of a known commodity.

Something we do know is that Preckwinkle is spending the final days of the campaign with oldheads like Jesse White and Bobby Rush, who may help persuade black voters but might not resonate with young voters.

(For some reason, 18 percent of those polled are over 70 - by far the largest age group sampled. Hispanics seem to be undersampled. This pollster grades out at a B-minus at Five Thirty Eight.

(As far as the issue questions in the poll go, and you can check them out for yourself, just because respondents say they are following certain issues doesn't mean they are; nobody likes to be made to feel they are uninformed. Because I just don't think that many people are following the city's pension situation.)

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Lightfoot even has a slight edge among leaners. As I've noted on Twitter, she's gained the support of the city's left and right - endorsements from Jerry Joyce and Our Revolution Chicago, for example. Preckwinkle was once someone with broad support - not quite a candidate with deep black support but one who had enough combined with white liberal and progressive support. Now that candidate is Lightfoot - who is also backed by both Chuy Garcia and Susana Mendoza, and Alds. Scott Waguespack and Matt O'Shea. That support spans the spectrum.

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Meanwhile . . .

"The African-American vote is always a key ingredient in citywide politics and the fight for support within the city's 18 majority African-American voting wards will be a major determinant in whether Preckwinkle, the Cook County Board president, or Lightfoot, an attorney and former federal prosecutor, will become Chicago's next mayor," the Tribune reports.

"While Preckwinkle has sought to heavily target those South and West Side wards as a base for the April 2 runoff, Lightfoot has adopted a longer-game strategy that seeks to keep Preckwinkle's margins down in those neighborhoods while amassing support from the rest of the city."

The problem for Preckwinkle is that by now she should be expanding her support, not trying to solidify a base. Lightfoot is the one plying the old political formula that posits politics as a game of addition.

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"On Feb. 26, voting in the city's 18 African-American majority wards represented nearly 34 percent, just more than one-third, of the more than 550,000 mayoral ballots cast. Despite an exodus of black residents from the city, the number of ballots cast in those wards actually was up 2.3 percent from the pre-runoff election of 2015.

"Still, the votes cast in those wards represented a declining share of the citywide total compared to four years ago when it reached 38.5 percent - a factor magnified by an increase in registered voters throughout Chicago last year.

"But in 2015 there was an increase of 16 percent in the number of votes cast in the 18 wards from the pre-runoff contest to the final faceoff between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and now U.S. Rep. Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia."

Rahm won the majority of those votes. The black vote was also always good to the Daleys. Harold Washington's campaign was a true outlier; the black vote has largely been a Machine vote in this city - just like every other vote!

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"Preckwinkle's dependence on black voters and a need for increased turnout in the 18 wards can be found in the February results," the Trib says.

"Nearly half, or 49.7 percent, of the nearly 89,000 votes Preckwinkle, from Hyde Park, got in receiving 16 percent of the citywide vote came from the 18 majority African-American wards. Lightfoot, from Logan Square who finished first on Feb. 26 with more than 97,000 votes citywide, got only 29 percent of her total from those same black majority wards.

"Then there's the wild-card factor. Willie Wilson, who has endorsed Lightfoot, won 13 of the 18 black wards and got nearly 47,000 votes there - 80 percent of his fourth place total. In the wards Wilson won, Preckwinkle finished in second place. In the five wards Preckwinkle won, Lightfoot finished second in three of them."

When the results of the first round came in, every commentator I saw who mentioned it said these results did not bode well for Lightfoot because Preckwinkle was the obvious second choice of Wilson's voters. But they may have been missing something: Those who actually voted for Wilson over Preckwinkle could just as easily prefer Lightfoot over Preckwinkle. The second-place vote-getter doesn't necessarily just move up and get the first-place finisher's votes. In fact, that may be where the divide is.

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Preckwinkle's campaign likes to say that Lightfoot is the real status quo candidate because she has gotten some support from a few of Rahm's old donors. Of course, that's only been in recent weeks when many of the moneyed are placing strategic bets to make sure they're with the winner. But that line of attack also ignores where Preckwinkle is getting some of her support from.

"Preckwinkle's campaign on Thursday said 21 black civic leaders had raised tens of thousands of dollars for the county board president, including: Chicago Board of Education President and former ComEd executive Frank Clark, clout-heavy developer Elzie Higginbottom, attorney Langdon Neal, former Obama White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, and Dr. Cheryl Whitaker - a friend of the former president's family."

Those are all Rahm people.

And so is Bobby Rush, despite the image of the former Black Panther that is still lodged in the minds of many in the media. Rush, who endorsed Bill Daley (just as he did Richard M. Daley) in the first round, is now with Preckwinkle.

"Rush accused Lightfoot of being pro-police and suggested more black people would be killed at the hands of cops if she's elected," the Tribune reports.

"This election is really about what type of police force we're going to have in the city of Chicago, and everyone who votes for Lori, the blood of the next young black man or black woman who is killed by the police is on your hands," Rush said from the stage. "If you're against police brutality and murder, you ought to be for Toni Preckwinkle. She's the only one who is going to have the police under her control."

Again, Rush endorsed Daley and Rahm. So does he have blood on his hands?

Preckwinkle has not disavowed Rush's comments.

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More absurdity:

Rush said he considered Lightfoot "chump change," because she has the backing of 19th Ward Ald. Matt O'Shea and, by extension, the city's police officers, many of whom live in those predominantly white Southwest Side neighborhoods.

Rush also told the crowd that Lightfoot wouldn't demand strong changes as part of the federal consent decree, in which a federal judge will oversee reforms in the Chicago Police Department following a civil rights investigation that found widespread excessive force and misconduct by officers against the city's minority residents.

Rush, who backed former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley in the February election, even invoked Chicago's 1919 race riots before telling the audience Lightfoot was fronting for the city's Fraternal Order of Police.

"The opposing candidate is representing the FOP," Rush said as the crowd booed. "If you want the FOP, then you'll vote for Lori."

Lightfoot has not been backed by the FOP. Rush's comments also ignore how Lightfoot repeatedly challenged Mayor Rahm Emanuel on police reform issues and called for a consent decree while Emanuel sought to negotiate an out-of-court agreement with the Trump administration. Lightfoot also chaired a city police reform task force that made many recommendations in line with the Justice Department's investigation.

Also, Lightfoot has documented problems with the FOP's contract and vowed to hammer out a better deal that doesn't protect bad cops. Preckwinkle, as she is wont to do, warned in a recent debate - in keeping with her theme on change lately - that changing the contract will be hard, because change is hard.

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And what about white voters?

"Cook County Commissioner John Daley, and nephew, 11th Ward Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson, endorsed Preckwinkle on Thursday, boosting her candidacy in the family's ancestral Bridgeport neighborhood on the South Side and among those who supported the city's longest-serving mayor, Richard M. Daley," the Tribune reports in a piece about wooing the bungalow belt.

"As a former alderman, she understands the issues the aldermen face, and their communities are facing," Thompson said of Preckwinkle. "She's also been a strong supporter of me from when I first ran for office."

Preckwinkle also sought Ald. Nick Sposato's endorsement - and criticized Lightfoot for accepting it instead, though it's a bit more complicated than that. Read the Trib's opening anecdote and judge for yourself. (Similarly, Preckwinkle asked for Willie Wilson's endorsement, and when Lightfoot got it instead, Preckwinkle accused Wilson of asking for help retiring his "campaign debt" in exchange for his support, while her supporters ripped Lightfoot for accepting the endorsement of a man who voted for Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner. It's all of a piece of Preckwinkle's known habit of wreaking vengeance - Machine-style - on those not loyal to her.)

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Why is Lightfoot getting at least a modicum of support from white city workers and police officers in places like O'Shea's ward? Good question.

"[A]s Emanuel sought to strike an out-of-court deal with the Trump administration on police reforms, Lightfoot sharply criticized the mayor and called for a federal consent decree to place oversight of the reforms with a judge - a move that many officers and the Fraternal Order of Police vigorously opposed. Emanuel and former Attorney General Lisa Madigan eventually settled on a consent decree after Madigan sued the city to force one.

"Almost any other candidate in the first-round field of 14 would have been more appealing to police officers than Lightfoot - with the exception of Preckwinkle. Many officers and the FOP have railed against the County Board president for reducing the county jail population and many of them view her ally, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, as not pushing for tough enough sentences for criminals.

"Asked how officers can back Lightfoot when they have been against so many of her positions, O'Shea said most believe Lightfoot has treated them fairly in her various posts, including as a federal prosecutor and top oversight official in the Police Department under former Mayor Richard M. Daley."

This is a consistent theme struck by those who have come up against Lightfoot in the past - and in stark contrast to Preckwinkle's style. Lightfoot has a way of winning people over, which may bode well in coalition-building as a mayor. (Or her approach could end badly if she's insincere and merely telling everyone what they want to hear, but so far there doesn't seem to be any evidence of that.)

For example, Preckwinkle likes to repeat the fact that Lightfoot represented Merrill Lynch in a racial discrimination lawsuit, but the person who filed that suit, George McReynolds, is backing Lightfoot for mayor, saying:

As an African-American male and lead plaintiff in what ended as the nation's largest settlement for a class action race discrimination case, I had the opportunity to observe Lori Lightfoot as an opponent.

I was so impressed with her professionalism and high ethical standards that I was eager to lend her my support for mayor.

Although we were on opposite sides, I gained a high degree of respect for her compassion in a very difficult situation. When I was unable to travel, Ms. Lightfoot came to me to take my deposition. Her job was to find the truth. She was fair, deliberate, thorough, and polite. Her courtroom conduct was equally impressive. I didn't expect to like the opposing counsel, but over the nine-year duration of this case, I grew to respect her as a person and a talented attorney for her clients.

Ms. Lightfoot will make a great mayor. Chicago will have a mayor whose integrity will be beyond reproach. I have no doubt that she will bring her strong work ethic and investigative abilities to solve many of the city's problems. A vote for Lori Lightfoot is a vote to move Chicago forward!

Similarly, read here about her handling of the Christina Eilman case; the opposing lawyer has donated to her campaign.

One of Lightfoot's chief roles at Mayer Brown, it seems, was to settle complex litigation that was stuck, in a way that satisfied all parties. She's a closer.

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One of the promises folks see in Lightfoot is that she'll bring a fresh crew of independent-minded, smart people into her administration. Preckwinkle, meanwhile, is surrounded by mopes.

Even her popular surrogates are behaving absurdly.

"[Jesse] White mocked Lightfoot's campaign for change, and in the process seemingly forgot about the original Chicago change candidate, former President Barack Obama, who sent word Friday that he would not endorse in the race [after the Preckwinkle campaign floated the possibility]," the Trib notes.

"Anytime people talk about change, when they talked about change a few years ago, we got Bruce Rauner, worst governor in the state of Illinois," White said. "Then when they talked about change again, we got Donald Trump."

Jesse White: Vote for Toni because change is bad!

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Finally . . .

"I have never, never been afraid of a fight," Preckwinkle said to the loud roar from the crowd, before taking a veiled shot at Lightfoot. "Change is far from easy, as anyone who ever has fought for change will tell you, because the challenges our city faces are not simply ideological. It's not enough to stand at a podium and talk about what you want to see happen. You have to come to this job with the ability to make your vision a reality."

But it was Lightfoot who questioned the fight of her opponent, noting that Preckwinkle had several chances to run against Emanuel and chose not to. Lightfoot launched a campaign against Emanuel last May, four months before the mayor made the stunning decision to drop his bid for a third term.

"Ask her why if she loved the city, if she knew we needed change, she was afraid to take on Rahm Emanuel," Lightfoot said. "If she's not afraid to take on a fight, where was she four years ago and where was she this time when Rahm was still on the ballot?"

Preckwinkle was busy being realistic.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

UIC Strikers Issue Open Letter To Pritzker
"Negotiations are currently stalled over the administration's still unexplained position that it will not, under any circumstances, consider partial waivers, freezes, or caps to the exorbitant fees graduate workers are required to pay despite the vital labor they provide."

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SportsMonday: The Not-So-Sweet 16
Rock chalk.

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What If March Madness Was About Equity Instead Of Sports?
Another national championship for UCF!

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The White Sox Report: The Eloy Miracle
Defense suddenly good enough for team to start him in the bigs!

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ChicagoReddit

Anyone ever been to Alibis at Devon and Western? Only open 2 am - 4 am and ZERO information about it online. I need to know more about this place. from r/chicago

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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(And there were underlying crimes, btw.)

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Underlying.



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Posted on March 25, 2019


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