Will progressives flop again?

“The Left Blows its Big Chance,” read the February 2011 headline. My column predicted that Chicago’s so-called progressives would fail in their crusade to win the 5th Floor of City Hall.

Three weeks later, Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago.

Will they blow it again?

The last time progressives took City Hall was in 1987, when Harold Washington, the only progressive mayor in the city’s history, was re-elected to a second term. His coalition of blacks, Latinos and white liberals never recovered from Washington’s sudden death that November.

They can’t seem to manage the fundamental arithmetic of winning politics: addition, not subtraction. Consolidate the black vote behind a charismatic, qualified African American candidate and sell a reform agenda to other progressives, and people of color.

Many aspirants have been dispatched to fly the progressive flag. Every effort dissolved into infighting, miscalculation, grandstanding and hubris.

Now, once again, progressives are talking tough.


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