March 22, 2015


Chicago Mayor's Race Is Cast as a Test of Liberalism (JONATHAN MARTIN and JULIE BOSMAN, MARCH 21, 2015, NY Times)

Mr. Emanuel, 55, has long been a figure of suspicion on the left, dating from his days as an adviser to President Bill Clinton, when he helped push issues from free trade to the overhaul of welfare that positioned Mr. Clinton as a centrist. He was elected to Congress after a stint at an investment bank and served as chief of staff to President Obama, acting as a voice of caution.

After the White House, he returned to Chicago, his hometown and Mr. Obama's, then successfully ran for mayor in 2011. His defeat could be a warning shot to Hillary Rodham Clinton, a likely presidential candidate next year, signaling that her party's leanings have changed since her husband's presidency and adding pressure on her to move to the left on economic issues. 

There are also local ideological factors at work. Mr. Emanuel is seeking re-election at a time when liberal activists here are deeply concerned about the moves by Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois, a Republican elected in November, to limit the influence of labor unions.

"There is general angst among labor and on the left because of Rauner," said Thomas Bowen, a Democratic strategist in Chicago. "Rahm is the election in front of them right now." [...]

Mr. Garcia is starting to draw more attention on liberal email lists, but he has yet to draw a total of even $100,000 from small donors using the liberal fund-raising hub ActBlue. (A week of network television advertising in Chicago costs over $600,000.)

"Unless they get the crazy lefty money machine going nationally, it's not going to matter that there's a resurgent left," said an adviser to Mr. Emanuel who did not want to speak publicly about strategy. "The liberals at Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park can think great thoughts and read poetry for Chuy, but nothing else will happen."

Posted by at March 22, 2015 4:49 PM

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