Will Democrats in Chicago for the Convention Highlight the Failures of their One-Party Rule?

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It’s one of the more remarkable streaks in American political history and yet, the national media studiously ignores it. Democrats have been in nearly absolute and total control of the city of Chicago for 93 years and counting. There are 50 members of the city council, zero of whom are Republicans. The Cook County Board of Commissioners has 17 seats; 16 are filled by Democrats.

The old, white political machine of Richard Daley is gone. It’s been replaced by a multi-ethnic, multi-racial coalition who have learned how to share. They are no less grasping for wealth and power than their white forebearers. But they’re a lot more careful about it, given they don’t know who is listening on the other end of the wiretap.

National Democrats announced on Tuesday that they have chosen Chicago for their convention. This isn’t surprising in the least. Chicago is a super-fun town — something Democrats have known since the first Democratic convention was held in 1864. At that time, Democrats nominated former General of the Armies George McClellan, a soft war man who would probably have negotiated a “peace treaty” with the South if he won. Lincoln and the hard war men of the North were never in any real danger of losing as most northerners were gritting their teeth, preparing to see the bloody war through to the end.

Even then, Chicago was known for its bars, bordellos, and gambling parlors. Not much has changed in 150 years in that respect. But the city that was once a thriving hub of innovation, entrepreneurial energy, and hard-working people has been destroyed — hollowed out by the mismanagement of a single political party.

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So what has all this unobstructed Democratic governance produced? Population flight, for starters. From a peak of 3.6 million residents in 1950 the city has tumbled down to an estimated 2.7 million in 2021. What for a century had been the “Second City” in the United States has been #3 since the 1980s; what was the fifth-largest metropolis in the world in 1900 is now #5 just in North America.

And those U-Haul trucks are leaving behind a mess. Chicago’s public pensions have a larger combined total of unfunded liabilities – north of $46 billion – than 45 states. The funding shortfall, due to decades of Democratic mismanagement, has swallowed up most of the city’s many tax hikes.

“Chicago’s corrupt policing system of fines, asset forfeitures, and vehicle impounds serves to extract whatever money the city can get from its poorest citizens to pay for itself,” Reason‘s Scott Shackford wrote in 2020. Indeed, as much as Chicago was run as a mafia family during the Daley years, not much has changed. At every level there is corruption. And the residents are forced to pay for it.

The schools have lost 10% of their enrollment since 2020. But fewer students don’t mean anything. The teacher’s union gets more for the teachers, even though those same teachers are failing their students spectacularly.

“Nearly 80% of Chicago Public Schools students cannot read at grade level,” the Illinois Policy Center noted in December. “Just 15% met proficiency in math.” That’s a record of abject failure unmatched in any other big city.

Related: Okay, You’ll Never Believe Which City Is Hosting the 2024 Democratic Convention

But the Democrats just don’t get it. They’re either in denial or are desperately seeking ways to explain away the broken lives and broken cities left in their wake.

Chicago Sun Times:

For years Republicans have been trying to turn “Democratic” into an all-purpose insult by chopping off the ending and pretending that the problems facing cities are there because they tend to be run by Democrats, when it’s the other way around: Cities tend to go Democratic because they have problems that need to be addressed, not chuckled over. Thus, Democrats.

This is a chance for Chicago, the poster child for urban woes, to marry itself once again to the party that for too long has seen its mantle of patriotism and efficiency stripped away, and by those bumbling shambolically toward treason.

Could Republicans do any better at governing the city? Chicago’s political corruption is non-partisan. Republican businessmen don’t care if the influence peddlers are Democrats. They don’t mind that the graft comes from the left. The color of the money isn’t blue or red. It’s green.

And that’s really all we need to know about “reform” in Chicago.

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