Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Blames Election Loss on Racism
- Post AuthorBy Henry Wolff
- Post DateThu Mar 02 2023
Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blamed racism and her gender for her landslide defeat in her re-election bid, as Chicagoans weary of the rising crime on her watch celebrated her fall from “political rock star to rock bottom.”
“I’m a black woman in America. Of course,” she replied when asked by a reporter if she had been treated unfairly.
Amid heavy criticism for the crime wave, homelessness and other troubles plaguing the city, the mayor had also injected race into the run-up to the election.
“I am a black woman — let’s not forget,” Lightfoot, 60, told the New Yorker in a piece that ran Saturday. “Certain folks, frankly, don’t support us in leadership roles.”
The Chicago Tribune called her loss a “political embarrassment” and argued that crime “skyrocketed” on her watch.
“Lightfoot campaigned for mayor in 2019 by arguing crime was too high, saying she wanted to make Chicago the ‘safest big city in the country,’” the Tribune said in its analysis of how she went from “political rock star to rock bottom.”
“But homicides, mostly from gun violence, spiked dramatically in 2020 and 2021 from 500 murders in 2019 to 776 and 804 in the next two years, respectively. Shootings and carjackings also skyrocketed.”
Violent crime in the city spiked by 40% since she promised during her inaugural address to end the “epidemic of gun violence that devastates families, shatters communities, holds children hostage to fear in their own homes,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The paper attributed some of her woes to bad timing — due to the pandemic and civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
Lightfoot — the first black woman and first openly gay person to lead Chicago — has became the city’s first elected mayor to lose a re-election bid since 1983, when Jane Byrne, the city’s first female mayor, lost her Democratic primary.
“The same forces that didn’t want Harold Washington to succeed, they’re still here,” she told the New Yorker, referring to the Democrat who was elected that year.
“The last time we had an African American mayor in power was 40 years ago. It’s important for us not to repeat history,” she added.
On Tuesday, Lightfoot received only 16.4% of the vote, finishing behind former head of Chicago Public Schools Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson.
Vallas, who won 35% of the vote, and Johnson, who got 20.2%, will head to an April 4 runoff election to determine who will be the next mayor.
Lightfoot’s demise comes after the Windy City recorded more than 800 murders in 2021, the most in a quarter-century.
The homicide rate dropped 14% in 2022 but remained nearly 40% higher than in 2019.
The city also saw more than 20,000 cases of theft in 2022, nearly double the amount of 2021, according to the police department’s end-of-year report.
In the first three weeks of this year, crime rates have skyrocketed by 61% compared to last year, according to police.
- Post TagsBizarre Racism Charges, Chicago, Race and Politics