Will Blacks Recapture the Fifth Floor of City Hall after 28-year Victory?

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CAROLatpushby Chinta Strausberg


Chicago, IL – The entire world was watching 28-years ago tomorrow when the late Mayor Harold Washington won his historic election as Chicago’s first African American mayor.

Today, scores of black, white and Hispanic supporters of Carol Moseley Braun will come together in a last Get-Out-To-Vote (GOTV) rally, dubbed “Stand for Carol,” as a show of unity around the Braun campaign.

The press conference will be held 11 a.m.  at the Parkway Ballroom, 4455 South King Drive, Chicago, IL.

With six mayoral candidates running including three African Americans who will be ‘eating’ away at the same constituency pie, the question remains out of a total 1,406,037 eligible registered voters for Tuesday’s, February 22nd election, will there be a run-off set for April 5th or can one candidate garner the required 50 plus 1 vote total to become the next mayor of Chicago.

According to Jim Allen, director of Communications for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, there were 1,407,979 registered voters in February 2007 and 1,406,037 for tomorrow’s election.

Another question is will the 650,000 registered black voters come out and vote in a unified manner as it did in 1983 and 1987 that resulted in the election and re-election of Washington, or will they once again split their vote and lose the Fifth Floor of City Hall.

According to the Chicago Board of Elections, the Washington vote totals were: 424,126 in the 1983 primary, 668,176 in the 1983 general, 587,594 for the 1987 primary, and 600,290 in the 1987 general.

While the U.S. Census recently reported that Chicago lost 200,000 residents, there are still 650,000 registered blacks. Winning Tuesday’s election still literally lies in the hands of blacks who are celebrating Black History Month.

The question remains have blacks been psychologically beaten down by a bevy of media polls and now suffer from apathy, or will the “sleeping black giant” awaken and become the “quiet storm” it displayed in 1983 and 1987?

So, when the political dust settles, will Wednesday’s headlines read: “Braun upsets polls; wins mayoral race,” or will it read: “Blacks push Rahm over victory line,” or “Rahm wins by a landslide; blacks push Emanuel over victory line.”

Yet another question is whether the insult level of African Americans has been reached over the record of the perceived front-runner, Rahm Emanuel who has voted 128 times against the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

Some of those anti-CBC votes included Emanuel’s voting against: funding for education and affordable housing, voting against $5 million in funds to access to water during the draught in Sub Sahara Africa; saving jobs and funding retraining programs for federal prisoners; funds to fight cancer, diabetes, AIDS, heart diseases and infant mortality in minority communities.

There’s more anti-CBC voting by Emmanuel. He voted against the CBS on legislation to fund a pharmacy school for Chicago State University, voted against a bill that would have eased credit card rates, voted against holding gas prices down, voted against Jackson-Lee amendment to H.R. 5006 that would have increased funding for minority health research; voted in favor of the H.R. 2681 that shortchanged veterans; voted against the 2003 Small Business Health Care Bill (H.R. 660) that would have allowed small businesses to buy affordable health insurance for their employees; voted against state’s rights to legalize medical marijuana; voted in favor of eliminating diversity VISA program (amendment to H.R. 437); voted against saving federal prison job programs; voted for Homeland Security funds though his party members were critical over how Hurricane Katrina victims were treated and inadequate security at chemical plants, and he was against forcing conservative media to be ‘fair and balanced” (amendment to H.R. 2829)

Being 43 percent of all registered voters in Chicago, it will be African Americans who will determine how Wednesday’s headlines will be written. The question is will they awaken Wednesday morning to the realization that they once again split their vote and lost or will they deliver another stunning victory for their own community?

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host.

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