Mayor Richard M. Daley has announced that he will not be running for re-election. For those of you who don’t immediately see the significance of this fact, let me give you a very brief history lesson. Daley’s father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, was elected on April 20th, 1955, and maintained his knuckle-whitening grip on power until it was pried from his cold dead hands on the day he died, December 20th, 1976. After a succession of five mayors over the course of thirteen years, including the great and much embattled reformer, Harold Washington, the reins of power were taken by the current Mayor Daley on April 24th, 1989. The Daley “machine” has either run or greatly impeded the running of Chi Town for about fifty years now, and it finally seems as if history is about to turn some kind of corner. The government that has shaped American politics perhaps more than any other city government ever has, from the election of John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, is about alter in a fairly dramatic way.
The most likely successor, given his own avowed pretensions to the throne and the fact that the Second City is decidedly Democrat, is the current White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. One way of reading the transition is as a move from old Neoliberalism, burdened by Chicago corruption and some stubborn, weedy humanity, to a new more vigorous Neoliberalism. But really, who knows.
As far as I can tell, the next Mayoral Election is scheduled for February 22nd, 2011. That means y’all’re gonna be here.
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