Rahm Emanuel is a mayor who now has a 27 percent approval rating, based on unpopular decisions that didn’t sit well with the people of Chicago. His longstanding connection with Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton may well cost her the Illinois primary on March 15, according to the pollsters and pundits.
It seems that taking a low profile and staying out of the limelight is what Emanuel is now relegated to doing. Many consider him to be a lame duck mayor, and the outcome of the state’s attorney race between incumbent Anita Alvarez and opponent Kim Foxx will largely be a referendum on the mayor. The same can be said of Clinton’s showing at the polls. On a March 14 visit to Chicago, Clinton didn’t meet with her long-time ally, colleague, and mutual supporter.
Emanuel endorsed Clinton some time ago, but she has tried to distance herself from him since the major protests in Chicago by Black Lives Matters and other groups who spoke out against the mayor and Alvarez’s handling of the Laquan McDonald case, where a 17-year-old was shot 16 times while walking away from police officer Jason Van Dyke, who has since been charged with murder.
As recently as December 2015, Clinton pledged her continued support to Emanuel, but in January, she advocated a DOJ investigation into the McDonald case and stated that Chicagoans would best be in a position to determine if Rahm Emanuel is reforming the city’s broken criminal justice system, per the Huffington Post.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) March 15, 2016
The relationship between Emanuel and Clinton goes back as far as 1992, when the now Chicago mayor campaigned for then presidential candidate Bill Clinton. In 2006, Rahm stated he would support Clinton if she pursued the presidency in 2008. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he strategized with her, but when then Illinois Senator Barack Obama decided to run, he received Rahm’s endorsement; he was hired as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff in 2009. When then incumbent Mayor Richard M. Daley opted not to run for office in 2011, Emanuel ran and won, garnering 55 percent of the vote. He won again in 2015 — with only 46 percent of the vote.
Bernie Sanders zoned in on the Emanuel-Clinton connection, and the Vermont senator stated he wouldn’t want an endorsement from the Chicago mayor, according to Esquire.
“Hillary Clinton proudly lists Mayor Rahm Emanuel as one of her leading mayoral endorsers. Based on his disastrous record as mayor of the city of Chicago, I do not want Mayor Emanuel’s endorsement if I win the Democratic nomination. That is not the kind of support I want. We want the endorsement of the people who are fighting for social and racial justice… He has no problem arm-twisting the parents on the South Side or the West Side when he wants to close their schools. He is really tough, isn’t he? Taking on the children and the parents. But he ain’t so tough taking on the big money interests on Wall Street.”
Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel aren’t expected to see each other while she’s in Chicago https://t.co/7w2e3yv0sj pic.twitter.com/VKUY3UpUX4
— Bloomberg Business (@business) March 14, 2016
It took Alvarez over a year to charge Van Dyke, and she didn’t make the announcement until after a video of the shooting was released. Emanuel claimed he didn’t see the video until immediately before it was released to the public. However, many city residents didn’t believe this, resulting in protests on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping district during the 2015 holiday shopping season.
Calls were made for the resignations of Rahm Emanuel and Anita Alvarez, and although there was no legal means of removing either from office, voters can now have their say at the polls by not voting for Alvarez or anyone who has a close relationship with Emanuel.
[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty]