The end of a year is the traditional time to take a moment to step back from the daily news and reflect on the events of the past year. It is important to look with an intense, accurate retrospection at what happened and appreciate why events unfolded the way they did. This historic election year is perfect fodder for the political junkies like me that do not just read or listen to the news. We actually try to understand the reason ‘why’ events occur.
It is an inescapable fact that I am from Chicago and have observed politics at their highest. I remember the stories, the jokes and the old wise tales about Chicago Politics. I remember a major network news anchor telling everyone (nationally) not to jump to any conclusions, “We haven’t heard from all the cemeteries in Chicago yet.”
I had the great honor of attending a fine Catholic University, though not in Chicago. It was an education in itself to learn the political stories about my town were not only local. I found out I was wrong. I was constantly reminded that “four legs in a voting booth” is a common sight in The Windy City, and that Chicago is the only city in the world that officially recognizes the resurrection of the dead, as the deceased often turn out to vote.
The nation knew that Chicago stole the election of 1960 for John Kennedy and ‘just smiled’ at the creativity of the late Mayor Daley and the Chicago Machine. That was how the nation looked at Chicago politics for decades. Everyone knew it was corrupt but people also knew it was only in Chicago so it did not make any difference to them. Our style of politics did not matter to the rest of the country.
Since Illinois has turned solidly Democratic over the past decade, the ‘tricks’ of the Democratic Party have not been needed (or, to be more exact, have not been as visible). They are just more subtle about it now. For years one of the top five political leaders in this country used my office for his national fund-raising matters. For this, my firm had the ability to ask for favors in return. Our requests were granted. That was the Chicago way.