November 17, 2010


Don't call Chicago the "Windy City" anymore. Or even "Windbag City." As the results of the Nov. 2 election indicate, it's now "Sanctuary City."

A few self-righteously liberal American cities, such as San Francisco, have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal aliens and refuse to cooperate with federal authorities to deport them.

Likewise for Chicago and Cook County, which now form an unassailable sanctuary for reprobates, rapscallions and flawed, inept Democratic politicians -- or, more accurately, for pea-brained Democratic politicians who are reprobates and rapscallions. In any other political environment, such odious and mendacious characters as Rod Blagojevich and Todd Stroger would evoke revulsion and outrage, and their party would be punished.

Not in Chicago and Cook County, where sorry antics and moral turpitude evoke only indifference. The local Democratic "Machine," which is responsible for the plethora of rapscallions in office, is eternally rewarded by having even more elected and none defeated. Here's why:

Fact Number One: Chicago and Cook County are becoming more, not less, Democratic. Pat Quinn, Illinois' clueless governor, who promised to raise the state income tax if elected, beat Republican Bill Brady by an unofficial statewide margin of 19,000 votes.

Quinn trounced Brady in Chicago by 519,367-119,834, getting 75.4 percent of the vote and winning by a margin of 399,533 votes. He beat Brady in the Cook County suburbs by 378,410-278,956, getting 53.8 percent of the vote and winning by a margin of 99,454 votes. Coming out of Cook County, Quinn was up by 498,987 votes. That meant Brady had to win the Collar Counties and Downstate by at least 500,000 votes. He didn't. He won them by about 470,000 votes, a very respectable showing, but not enough to offset "Sanctuary City" (and County).

In 2006 the now-disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich carried Chicago over Republican Judy Baar Topinka by 504,457-99,732, with 77.4 percent of the vote. Blagojevich promised to veto any tax hike, and Quinn, his lieutenant governor candidate, praised him as a "decent, honest and honorable man." Four years later Blagojevich is impeached and on trial in federal court and Quinn is antsy to raise taxes. So what do Chicagoans do? They give Quinn more votes than Blago got.

Fact Number Two: Chicago's minority voters, especially black voters, are vociferous in demanding societal diversity and racial preferences, but their partisan affiliation is programmed into their DNA. They vote for all Democrats, all of the time, regardless of candidate disqualifications. Being a Democrat is part of the black culture and experience. Voting for a non-Democrat is a perversion. Republicans are the white "racist" oppressor, so any Democrat, regardless of moral deficiencies, is preferable to every Republican.

Quinn won Chicago because he got 263,386 votes from the 20 black-majority wards and 50,733 votes from the eight Hispanic-majority wards. In 2006 Blagojevich got 257,298 votes from the black wards. Despite the fact that both governors' record on state minority hiring is abysmal, black voters still supported them.

Quinn got roughly 1.7 million of the 3.7 million votes cast statewide; of that number, about 500,000 came from black and Hispanic voters in Cook County, with another 75,000 in the Collar Counties and Downstate. That means a third of Quinn's vote came from minority voters. About 55 percent of the 3.125 million white and Asian voters opted for Brady. To win in Illinois, a Republican needs 55 to 58 percent of the white vote.

Fact Number Three: A political realignment is under way Downstate. The faces of the Democratic Party (Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Hillary Clinton) have become anathema to rural Illinoisans, as has the Democrats' pro-tax, big spending, pro-abortion rights, pro-gay marriage and pro-gun control agenda. Republicans won six Illinois House seats south of Interstate 80 and three congressional seats, and Brady topped Quinn by 347,247 votes in the 96 Downstate counties.

Downstate is the obverse of Chicago's black wards. Being a Democrat is culturally unacceptable. Brady beat Quinn in that area by 832,006-484,579, getting 63.1 percent of the vote, but to offset Chicago, until and unless Downstate provides Republican vote shares approaching 75 percent, Illinois will stay Democratic.

Here's an analysis of key races:

Governor: Throughout the campaign, both Quinn and Brady were mired in the low 40 percents in a multiplicity of polls, with the "undecided" vote hovering around 15 percent. In 2006 Topinka got 39.3 percent of the vote (1,369,315 votes), to 49.8 percent (1,736,731 votes) for Blagojevich and 10.4 percent (361,336 votes) for the Green Party candidate. Political pundits made several assumptions:

First, when an incumbent barely cracks 40 percent, he's toast. If undecideds voter were not enamored with Quinn, then they would likely break 2-1 for the challenger. That meant that Brady would get 46 to 48 percent of the vote.

Second, Scott Lee Cohen's independent candidacy would siphon more votes from Quinn than from Brady. Since an obscure Green Party nominee got more than 10 percent of the vote in 2006, Cohen, who spent $6 million, was presumed to get 8 to 10 percent.

And third, Democratic Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, who is grooming his daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, for governor in 2014, would be happier with a Brady victory than a Quinn victory. Therefore, Quinn would not do sufficiently well in Chicago wards controlled by the "Machine."

All the assumptions were wrong. Cohen's candidacy collapsed, and he got 3.6 percent of the vote. Undecideds voters broke 60-40 for Quinn, who finished with 46.6 percent of the vote to 46.1 percent for Brady, showing that they had more misgivings about Brady than about Quinn. Finally, Madigan concluded that it would be better to have Quinn as governor, let him take the heat for raising taxes, and discard him in 2014 for his daughter, with the new taxes ancient history and the budget in balance.

Despite Brady's implacable opposition to an income tax hike, he lost Chicago's predominantly white wards to Quinn by a 2-1 margin. Quinn carried the Northwest Side by 90,040-44,447, the Southwest Side by 46,080-20,137 and the north Lakefront by 69,130-28,839. Brady had 119,834 votes (17.4 percent of the total) in Chicago, and he averaged 5.4 percent of the vote in the predominantly black wards. In 2002, a banner Democratic year, Republican Jim Ryan got 130,614 votes in Chicago, while Topinka got 99,732 votes in the city in 2006. Clearly, the city's Republican base is static, if not shriveling.

Quinn topped Brady in the county suburbs by 378,410-278,956, getting 53.6 percent of the vote and winning by a margin of 99,454 votes. Blagojevich won the suburbs in 2006 by 103,880 votes. Quinn won Cook County on Nov. 2 by 498,987 votes. Blagojevich won Cook County in 2006 by 508,605 votes, for a statewide margin of 367,416 votes. The difference: At least 350,000 Downstate and Collar County Blagojevich backers rejected Quinn, but barely 10,000 did so in Cook County.

U.S. Senator: To win statewide, a Republican must lose Chicago by fewer than 400,000 votes and Cook County by fewer than 500,000, and win the Collar Counties by more than 150,000 votes and Downstate by more than 350,000. Republican nominee Mark Kirk, unlike Brady, managed that feat. According to unofficial tallies, Kirk beat Democrat Alexi Giannoulias by roughly 70,000 votes.

Like the gubernatorial candidates, both Senate candidates were flawed: Kirk embellished his resume, while Giannoulias's banking skills were negligible. Kirk lost Chicago by 527,176-133,720, running 13,866 votes ahead of Brady, and he lost the county suburbs by 368,246-306,566, running 27,610 votes ahead of his opponent. Kirk thumped Giannoulias Downstate by 827,140-475,754, running 4,866 votes behind Brady, and he won the Collar Counties by 498,648-323,802, running 32,323 votes ahead of Brady.

The key: the abortion issue. Kirk is pro-choice and Brady is pro-life. Although Brady eschewed all social issues, Personal PAC, Illinois' most effective pro-abortion lobby, mailed heavily to its constituency. Kirk ran about 65,000 votes ahead of Brady. The abortion issue moved at least 50,000 voters -- more than enough to elect Quinn.

One other notable race:

Cook County Assessor: The media excoriated Democrat Joe Berrios, the county Democratic chairman, for his pay-to-play policies at the Board of Review, but "Sanctuary City's" black vote rescued Berrios, who was opposed by Independent Forrest Claypool and Republican Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall. Berrios won by 645,769-426,536-236,945, getting 48.1 percent of the vote, with 35,213 votes to the Green Party candidate. Berrios lost the suburbs to Claypool by 198 votes but won Chicago by 219,428 votes, for a victory margin of 219,230. Berrios carried the black wards over Claypool by 232,646-38,828 -- a margin of 198,818 votes. That, and Strobeck-Eckersall's 17.7 percent share of the vote, saved Berrios' bacon. More than half the voters rejected Berrios.

In breaking Northwest Side political news, 28-year Alderman Pat Levar (45th) announced his retirement on Nov. 15. He anointed Marina Faz-Huppert, the 34-year-old political director of Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, as his successor, and he ordered his captains to get her petitions passed. There is considerable disgruntlement among Levar's captains.

In the 38th Ward, where Alderman Tom Allen is resigning to become a judge, the "Cullerton Dynasty" won't fade away. Organization Democrats, led by Committeeman Patti Jo Cullerton, are backing her brother, former Building Department deputy commissioner Tim Cullerton, for Allen's job.

The filing deadline for aldermanic races is Nov. 22. Next week: An analysis of all area contests.