‘Hoping to win by default in 2020 isn’t an option for the Democrats’

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In this June 22, 2018, file photo, Beto O’Rourke, who is running for the U.S. Senate, speaks during the general session at the Texas Democratic Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. | AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez, File

Former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke is ready for the White House.

He’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and doggone it, people like him.

I don’t know that O’Rourke ever said that, but he doesn’t have to. His body language and campaign style say it for him.

He’s not alone.

Since last year’s midterm elections, Democrats have been on a sugar high, somewhat tempered by the disappointing (for President Donald Trump opponents) Mueller report. Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley character from ‘Saturday Night Live’ (“I’m good enough, and I’m smart enough…”) seems to fit a number of Democratic hopefuls, but mostly O’Rourke.

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Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and presidential-hopeful-in-waiting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are waiting for Trump to mess up so badly that even the Republicans will want to replace him. That’s optimism for you, but trying to wish something into reality isn’t new.

Richard Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the Vietnam War turned wishful thinking into enough votes to get him elected president in 1968. George W. Bush’s warnings of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, also false, led many to wonder if we learned anything from Vietnam.

Democrats won’t be able to will their way to their intended goal. Trump has more Teflon than Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton combined. Hoping to win by default in 2020 isn’t an option for Democrats.

In the TV series “Dallas,” oil man Jock Ewing schooled his youngest son, Bobby: “Nobody gives you power. Real power is something you take!”

O’Rourke and his fellow Democrats might want to remember that next year.

James H. Newton, Itasca

Stand with the new mayor

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot made a litany of promises in her victory speech Apr. 2. And she was elected because she is not beholden to anyone, and she has a long-awaited vision for all Chicago’s neighborhoods, residents and businesses.

As a lifelong resident of Chicago, I hope Lightfoot can make good on those words of assurance, especially in deleting the cronyism, nepotism and machine politics that has plagued the city for too long.

Our mayor-elect will need cooperation along this unbeaten path, including from the full City Council. Let’s stand up for Lightfoot. Let’s give her and her staff the support to make Chicago great again.

Richard Pacer, Lincoln Square

Not so fast on ending gerrymandering here

Gerrymandering has been a stain on our democracy for 200 years. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is on the right side of history in pushing to end it here.

But if the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to declare gerrymandering unconstitutional, Illinois Democrats should not disarm unilaterally. Not while states such as Wisconsin and North Carolina continue to rig maps to unfairly favor Republicans.

Given that scenario, Illinois should push for a map gerrymandered for maximum benefit to the Democrats — and refuse to abolish the practice until Republican-run states do, too.

Benjamin Recchie, Near West Side 

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