November 18, 2020


Political correctness comes at a cost. And state's attorney Kim Foxx paid that price on Nov. 3 in the amount of about 300,000 votes. She won 1,168,059-846,130, getting 58 percent, down from her initial 2016 victory of 1,459,087-565,671, when she got 72 percent.

There is no "Foxx Fatigue" among voters. Instead, there is "Foxx Fury." A lot of voters despise her "re-imagining" of the criminal justice system, which is therapy rather than punishment; social services rather than incarceration; no- or low-bail and lenient sentences; dismissal of low-grade misdemeanors like drug possession; desultory prosecution of looters.

So let me get this straight. Are lawbreakers just victims of their dysfunctional upbringing? Where is the deterrence? People used to be afraid to break the law, because you know, you could go to jail.

There was a lot of it among voters, as shown by the adjoining vote chart - as in a deterrence to vote for Foxx. Republican opponent Pat O'Brien, a former judge, was not a stellar candidate. But there was a substantial anti-Foxx uptick among law enforcement professionals, suburban Whites, Hispanics and Blacks living in high-crime neighborhoods, particularly Chicago's West Side.

However, Foxx, an African-American woman and protege of Toni Preckwinkle, won for four reasons. First, O'Brien was an old White guy and his appeal was based solely on the fact that he was the ONLY alternative to Foxx. In the March 17 primary Foxx got 48 percent. Second, she had plenty of money - $4 million - and was up on TV demonizing O'Brien, tying him to Trump and ripping his prosecutorial record. Third, her Black base remained rock-solid, especially on the South Side and south suburbs. And fourth, White liberals who often don't personally experience crime, who don't experience shootings or gang activity in their neighborhoods (not yet,) and who view cops as bad guys, went overwhelmingly for Foxx.

Crime remains undiminished in Chicago. Foxx is among those who want to "re-imagine" policing, using social workers in domestic and mental health situations. Arguably, about half the voters disagree. Pre-election polls got it right when they indicated that Foxx had a FLOOR of 45 percent of the vote and O'Brien a CEILING of 45 percent. Trump lost Chicago by 753,338 votes and the Cook County suburbs by 384,054, for a countywide deficit of 1,137,392. O'Brien got 298,575 more votes than the president.

And the O'Brien vote was an intentional anti-Foxx vote. And across-the-board the Foxx vote was down 10 to 20 percent among all demographics. The six Chicago Northwest Side wards (excluding the 47th Ward) gave Foxx 79,878 votes in 2016, with a Republican carrying the cop-filled 41st Ward with 55.3 percent. This time, with several Republican candidates (like Dan Stephens for state representative and Anthony Beckman for state senator) tying their opponent (D) to Foxx and Mike Madigan, the outpouring of votes for O'Brien was remarkable.

In the 41st Ward, where turnout was 27,233, up 2,392 over 2016's 24,841, O'Brien swamped Foxx 21,188-6,045, getting an astounding 73.3 percent to Foxx's 20.9 percent. (A third-party candidate, Libertarian Brian Dennehy was on the ballot and got about 2.5 percent countywide.) The 2016 ward vote was 13,735-11,106, so Foxx's vote plunged by 5,061, well over 45 percent, and the 2016 Republican vote spiked by 7,453, almost 54 percent. The ward's "Red Wave" was no mirage. Law-and-Order was not a dirty word. Trump lost the ward 15,446-14,249, getting 48 percent and carrying 14 of 47 precincts. Foxx got less than one-quarter of the vote in most precincts.

In the 45th Ward, also home to many first responders but also a progressive base in Portage Park and Old Irving Park, Trump's 18,547-8,240 loss in the ward did not impede a 13,195-10,484 O'Brien win, with 51.1 percent. Foxx won 14,182-7,923, with 64.2 percent the last time. This time, she got 40.5 percent, losing 3,698 votes and O'Brien gaining 3,698 - the EXACT same amount. Like the 41st Ward, there is a solid conservative, pro-cop base in the 45th's north end (Jefferson Park and Gladstone Park).

In the 38th Ward, where state senator Rob Martwick (D-10) is Democratic committeeperson, Foxx again tanked, losing 14,026-7,287, getting 31.4 percent to O'Brien's 60.4. Trump came close, losing 14,350-9,806. The 2016 vote was 11,367-8,126, with Foxx getting 58.3 percent. So she was down by nearly 27 points, or 4,080 votes. Martwick's organization did not endorse her, nor did popular alderman Nick Sposato support her. Sposato is vacillating on his pledge not to run for re-election in 2023. If Martwick's 2022 prospects don't rebound his exit strategy may be to quit and run for Sposato's seat.

In the 39th Ward, which has a liberal reputation largely because it includes part of Albany Park, Foxx lost again, dropping 22.5 points from 2016. O'Brien won 11,578-10,124, a gain of 4,394 votes over the 13,720-7,184 result; Foxx lost 3,596 votes. Trump lost the ward. State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-8) is the ward's new Democratic committeeperson. His 2020 performance was unimpressive.

In the 40th Ward, which circles around Rosehill Cemetery, it went 17,849-3,988 for Foxx in 2016, a massive 81.8 percent. This time she won by 63.9 percent (15,594-6,995), down by a couple thousand. Her left-wing base barely budged.

In the 50th Ward, which has a large Orthodox Jewish population, close to one-third, and nearly half of the voting population, is not enamored with defunding or re-imagining. Foxx romped to a 11,654-4,765 win in 2016, getting 71 percent. But 2020 was much different, with the result at 9,637-7,843, a mere 51.7 percent and a drop off of 2,000 votes for Foxx.

In the White liberal enclave of the 47th Ward (Ravenswood, North Center), where ideology usually prevails and law-and-order is sometimes viewed in a racist context, Foxx won 23,722-6,410 in 2016, getting 78.6 percent. This time it was 20,888-10,489. The anti-Foxx/ Republican vote ballooned by about 4,000.

In Chicago's African-American wards, Foxx experienced a decline that was not fatal. On the South Side she dropped 87.2 to 73.4 percent in the 3rd Ward, 92.2 to 81.1 in the 4th Ward, 94.7 to 85.5 in the 5th Ward, 98.1 to 91 in the 6th Ward, 97.3 to 89.2 in the 7th Ward, 97.9 to 90.8 in John Stroger's old 8th Ward, 97.7 to 90.7 in the 9th Ward and 98.1 to 91.7 in the 34th Ward. The West Side and near South Side was a different story: Crime - and released arrestees on the streets - mattered. Foxx's program was resisted.

Her numbers were down 10-15 percent in wards 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 27 (by 17 percent), 28, 29 (by 23 percent) and 37. But she got upwards of 75 percent in every ward but the near West Side 27th, which is rapidly gentrifying.

Hispanics were another Foxx problem. In the far south 10th Ward she dropped from 79.1 to 53.9, in the 12th from 84 to 59.2, in Ed Burke's 14th from 78.4 to 52.8, in Mike Madigan's 13th from 71.2 to 42.8 (with O'Brien winning), in the 22nd from 89.1 to 66.8, in the 25th from 81.5 to 61, in the 26th from 87.5 to 68.4, in Ariel Reboyras's 30th Ward from 79.5 to 58.2, in Joe Berrios's 31st Ward from 82.6 to 60, in the 35th Ward from 85 to 67.6 and in Gil Villegas's 36th Ward from 77.2 to 51.1. Foxx clearly was repugnant to a lot of Hispanics.

But White liberal wards came through: Foxx won the 32nd (Wicker Park) 17,555-11,162, the 46th (Uptown) 18,277-6,861, the 48th (Edgewater) 18,326-6,554 and the 49th (Rogers Park) 16,385-3,570. The "Gold Coast" 42nd Ward went 17,315-15,575 for the Republican. The Lincoln Park 43rd Ward went 48.2 percent for Foxx.