Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Chicago political history...

Before I went to bed last night, I sort of went backwards a bit in time noting the death of a former Republican Cook County state's attorney in Bernard Carey. He was in that office until defeated by a future Mayor of Chicago in Richard M. Daley - who just so happen to be the son of Richard J. Daley who held that office for over 20 years.

Today I found another column and while Mr. Carey wasn't mentioned it talked about the rise of Richard M. Daley. Of course this article is passe now since the current mayor is none other than the seemingly unpopular Rahm Emanuel. Another reason this article is passe is that it was written by the late Chicago columnist Mike Royko who died in 1997.

It's interesting to see how he draws parallels between 1955 when Richard J. Daley was elected mayor and then presumably 1989 when his son first got elected mayor (BTW, this article had a publishing date of April 14, 2017 so perhaps it ran in the Chicago Tribune a year ago). Both men knew how to get along with the various factions of Chicago politics, especially within their own Democrat circles. Rivalries between the north and south sides of Chicago or more recent the battles between the various ethnic and racial groups politically. Then of course the battle between the machine and those pesky reformers. Seems like a never ending struggle and both Daleys navigated them to become long-term mayors.

Having read a biography of the first Mayor Daley, which I'm just giving you a simple title of American Pharoah, it showed how he rose in local politics. It also illustrated how he seemed to have been able to remain a force locally and nationally. Richard J. Daley was a smart man who knew how to play the game. And yes, he did play the racial game as he did nothing about segregation in Chicago though only to preserve his base among the various white ethnic groups of Chicago. Another interesting thing about the book is the pecking order among the ethnic groups of Chicago between say the Polish, the Jewish, the Irish, the Italians etc. Perhaps by the time he became mayor now we're including the Blacks.

Either way we have a Mayor Emanuel, the Blacks of Chicago well we could say they may not be the force they used to be in city politics as well the population of Blacks are beginning to diminish in Chicago though slowly, the Hispanics and Asians are rising population wise in the city. It's safe to say in the almost 30 years since this column was written a lot of changes in the windy city with more changes to come!

BTW, Royko himself wrote a biography of Richard J. Daley titled Boss. I've yet to read that unfortunately so perhaps I'll add this to my reading list in the near future. If you don't understand this title just remember that the first Mayor Daley was often referred to as the last of the big city bosses. We can just say at the very least patronage had some strong play during his time in office from 1955 to 1976.

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