Mitt Romney, Bernard Epton, And The Chicagoization Of America
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Another day in the death of Chicago: The South Side funeral of a murdered gang member was disrupted Monday by what appears to have been a revenge shooting (Cops: Gang member killed, another seriously wounded at funeral, By Jeremy Gorner, Liam Ford and Carlos Sadovi, Chicago Tribune, November 26, 2012).

But Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the Second City is the blueprint for the New America. And certainly with a population that is almost 1/3 white, 1/3 black, and 1/3 Hispanic, Chicago looks like the racial pie that both Democrats and Republicans seem hurried to bake as the future of the United States.

Emanuel wrote recently:

 “Demographics alone are not destiny. There is nothing in this year’s election returns that guarantees Democrats a permanent majority in the years to come. President Obama and the Democratic Party earned the support of key groups—young people, single women, Latinos, African Americans, auto workers in the Rust Belt and millions of other middle-class Americans—because of our ideas.” [How to Rebuild America, Washington Post, November 23, 2012]

Emanuel’s “ideas” are just neoliberal boilerplate about public-private “coordinated investment” a.k.a. spending, plus (of course) “comprehensive immigration reform.”

But, actually, demographics are destiny. Obama won reelection from black voters primarily because he too is black; he won reelection from other minority groups because of anti-white racism and, as Patrick J. Buchanan noted in defense of Mitt Romney, because he offered more goodies.

And demographics certainly seem destiny for the Chicago public school system, where only eight percent of the more than 400,000 K-12 students are white (41% black, 44% Hispanic) and an incredible 82 percent of the students are on free or reduced-price lunch.

Demographics have also made Chicago into a one-party (Democrat) city-state, where the dwindling percentages of white people are tasked with providing the tax revenue. Meanwhile, the city’s financial situation is so dire that it has been forced to borrow money to pay for a lawsuit over black residents’ inability to pass a firefighter exam. And a judge has ordered the Chicago Fire Department to hire 111 black firefighters in recompense for their inability to pass a firefighter test.

Of course, Mayor Emanuel is right in one sense: that there is nothing in the 2012 Presidential election that guarantees Democratic electoral hegemony. As has repeatedly pointed out, had Republicans motivated white voters, then Mitt Romney could have won the election with the “Big Ten” Rust Belt states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Nevertheless, Chicago offers a terrifying glimpse of the future—an increasingly multicultural America where white conservative voters are increasingly marginalized and preyed upon.

A forgotten Chicago Mayoralty election eerily presaged Mitt Romney’s 2012 fiasco: the 1983 victory of Chicago’s first black Mayor, Harold Washington.

The notorious Chicago Machine usually held firm to select the right candidate to run the city (right = a Daley). But in 1983, the rising numbers of black voters—courtesy of the continued Great Migration from the South—unexpectedly broke the machine’s grip.

After a contentious primary, Washington faced a serious Republican challenger in Bernard Epton, a Jewish liberal Republican with a distinguished record in World War II. Epton benefitted from rush of support from white voters—but he still denounced any white voter who voted for him specifically because he was white. Needless to say, Washington never denounced any black voter who voted for him specifically because he was black.

Washington also had the usual ethical issues—his law license had been suspended for defrauding clients and he had spent time in jail for not filing income tax returns. But he defeated Epton anyway, by fewer than 50,000 votes—of the more than 1.3 million cast.

Gary Rivlin’s Fire on the Prairie: Chicago's Harold Washington and the Politics of Race makes Washington’s victory sound like Obama’s:

Black turnout was an incredible eight-five percent—two percentage points higher than white registration. Washington won over ninety-nine percent of the black vote—or, as one Epton adviser put it, every black "except for the accidents."

The Latino vote proved key to Washington's victory. Washington had won only fifteen percent of the Latino vote in the primary despite Latino activists who tried to convince voters of a natural alliance between minorities. In the general election Washington captured around 82 percent of the Latino vote. Had the opposite occurred—had 4 of the 5 vote Latino voters gone with Epton instead—Washington would have lost. 

Typically, this account of anti-white voting neglects to mention the divided white vote: Washington got a “key” 12 percent of the white vote, which combined with his extreme share of the non-white vote was enough to make him mayor.

 In Chicago Divided: The Making of a Black Mayor  Paul Kleppner  quotes the Rev. Jesse Jackson, on the night Washington was elected, speaking on WBBM-TV:

“There was an unfounded fear… the idea that blacks once they take power will engage in retributive justice is just not so. There will be a process of healing… And now we’ve got a chance to really show just how gracious black people can be with power.”

This is, of course, the same Jesse Jackson who just told CBS Chicago that black voters deserve a huge return on their monolithic vote for Barack Obama:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Saturday said that President Obama’s reelection was “a great victory,” but that it would be incomplete with a reconstruction of urban America and an investment in the communities where the blacks who voted overwhelmingly for the president live.

Rev. Jackson, who spoke longer, louder, and more forcefully than he has in some time at the Saturday morning Rainbow/PUSH meeting, asked the crowd, “What do we want? We want, we want, we want, we deserve, we deserve … a return on our investment.

“What’s good for us is good for everybody. What’s good for blacks is good for everybody,” he said. “We bled too much, we died too young, we cried too much, we prayed too long, now we want a return on our investment.”

[Jackson: Black Voters Deserve A Return On Election ‘Investment’, November 10, 2012]

Retributive justice much? That’s just the Chicago Way, right?

In fact, Washington (who was largely stymied by the Daley machine’s continuing control of City Council) was preoccupied by racial retribution. The New York Times reported in 1987 that a teacher’s strike, an emergency food program that was out of money, and the impending takeover of the public housing system were secondary issues to the most pressing matter of the day: the racist Chicago  city seal:

Mayor Harold Washington and a group of black aldermen say the seal is racist because it includes a depiction of a high-masted sailing ship that city documents once described as ''emblematic of the approach of white man's civilization and commerce'' back in the 17th century.Click To Enlarge

''The ship represents institutionalized racism in this country,'' said Alderman Robert Shaw, who also believes that the vessel bears a resemblance to the slave ships that plied the coast of Africa. As a result, Mr. Shaw and Alderman Allan Streeter last week asked the City Council to alter the seal by replacing the ship with a likeness of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, a black who, as a fur trader, in 1779 became the city's first permanent non-Indian settler.

Mayor Washington, for his part, has elected to take the matter seriously. ''It's old, it's degrading, and it has historical baggage,'' he said of the ship in a weekly radio interview. That black people are upset, he said, is evidence enough for him. ''If it were Polish people, or Italian or Irish people, I'd still be upset if they were upset,'' he said.

[Chicago Journal; What's Wrong With City's Seal? Racism, to Some, New York Times, By William E. Schmidt, September 14, 1987]  

Once a black candidate graces an office, it’s usually considered a black position, as’s Ellison Lodge noted in his article about the “post-racial” Atlanta Mayoral race of 2009. And Washington was duly re-elected in 1987.

But then, in a development that has excited conspiracy theories, he died in office. The Daley machine succeeded in dividing its opposition, and the man Washington defeated in the 1983 Democratic primary, Richard M. Daley, became Mayor in 1989. He held the office for the next 22 years. His successor: Rahm Emanuel.

And Chicago has not become Detroit. (Yet).

This reversion did not occur without difficulty, as Jared Taylor recounted in Paved With Good Intentions :

Ron Brown, the black chairman of the Democratic Party, braved black criticism to support a white fellow Democrat in Chicago, but others were not so principled. John Johnson, the publisher of Ebony and Jet, is one of the richest men in Chicago. When word leaked out that he planned to support white candidate Richard M. Daley against his black opponent, the black community rose up against him. Black radio stations, one of which he owns, accused him of treachery and called for a boycott of his magazines. A black editorialized in the Chicago Times about “the nerve of this man to play around with Daley when he has become a millionaire off black people.” Black City Council members called for a black mayor “not as a matter of fairness but of divine right.” Despite an estimated net worth of $200 Million, Mr. Johnson was shaken by the furor. He promptly broke with Daley and contributed $25,000 to the black candidate.

Republicans in America have one choice, and one choice only: no longer be ashamed of being the party of white America.

Bernard Epton refused to run for the white vote, even denouncing those white working class people who voted for him because he was white. But white voters nearly elected him anyway.

Who does that remind you of?

What could Epton have done as Mayor of Chicago? Obviously, he would not have had the options open to a patriotic President. But he could have not signed Executive Order 85-1, by which Harold Washington declared Chicago a “Sanctuary City,” attracting illegal immigration which has swelled Chicago’s Hispanic population (and, ironically, displaced Washington’s black power base). Significantly, Mayor Emanuel signed a similar treasonous measure this year

If the Republican Party lurches left trying to attract Hispanics, then we can expect “retributive justice” to be the name of the game in America forever.

Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface andEscape From Detroit, and Opiate of America: College Football in Black and White.

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