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You can’t stop candidates from running for office

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

“You guys in the news media are so tough on politicians no one is going to want to run for office.”

I’ve heard that hundreds of times. And I always tell people there is no way anyone is ever going to discourage people who believe they alone are qualified to run things.


There may be 99 candidates running for mayor of Chicago in 2019 by the time the filing period officially closes in November. As of this writing, I think the number declared or seriously pondering a run is 21.

There are people so desperate to get elected they’re actually handing out money to potential voters.

I am an advocate of that. If I am going to be forced to look at the face of some politician on a piece of paper, I prefer dollar bills to campaign literature.

There was a time when being mayor of Chicago seemed like a pretty good job. In addition to leading one of the largest cities in the world, you could hand out tens of thousands of jobs, solicit bribes from wealthy businessmen and give your children government contracts.

To guarantee re-election you raised the salaries and increased the pensions of police officers, firefighters and teachers.

Do-gooder organizations would squawk, newspaper editorial writers would complain, but the average folks didn’t much care so long as their garbage got picked up and their kids were safe.

Nowadays children are dropping in the streets like flies. Old people get shot sitting on their front porch. Motorists have to duck while checking their texts on the Dan Ryan.

Schools keep closing. Drugs and gangs dominate city neighborhoods. And people are often more afraid of the police officers than the gang bangers.

The cops are blamed for crime. The cops are blamed when they shoot the criminals.

Nobody likes the mayor because he raises taxes, refuses to hire enough police officers, pays people too much money, doesn’t pay them enough money, closes the schools, fights with the teacher’s union, gives the teachers too much money and doesn’t pay teachers enough money.

The city gives too many tax breaks to the fat cats and the government skins the working people who live in the neighborhoods.

Protestors march on the expressways forcing police to block traffic, which they claim is a hazard to public safety, except when police close the expressway system to investigate a shooting.

If you’re the mayor you’ve got to find a way to make nice with the Irish, the blacks, the Hispanics and the Poles and protect illegal immigrants, even if the president of the United States threatens to withhold federal funding.

The mayor does get to meet with billionaires like the owner of Amazon and the guy who founded Tesla, but also has to deal with billionaires who sit in the governor’s mansion. It was much easier to be Chicago mayor when governors were so desperate to stay in office they were willing to cut deals and go to prison.

As bad as things are, you can’t discourage people from running for office. They seem not to care what people say about them.


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I think 109 people ran for president in Republican primaries back in 2016 and all that competition yielded Donald Trump.

Chicago has Bill Daley, Toni Preckwinkle, Paul Vallas, Garry McCarthy and Dorothy Brown, just to name a few running for mayor. These are people who know how dirty city politics can get. They don’t care. If their families get smeared in the process, so what?

They want the job.

Someone could qualify for a mayoral runoff with less than 30 percent of the vote. That would be humiliating. I doubt the winner would feel a sense of shame.

This could be fun. Especially if all the candidates start handing out cash to the voters.