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Tipsheet

Chicago: The DNC's Kind of Town

AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

We've known for months that the 2024 Republican National Convention will be held in Milwaukee, a major city in one of the most closely divided states in the country.  Wisconsin is where conservative received another rude electoral wake-up call in recent days.  It's also where the very first GOP presidential debate of the cycle will take place sometime in August, airing on Fox News.  Democrats took quite a bit longer to select their convention's host city.  You may recall that a group of Southern Democrats signed a letter earlier this year urging the party to select Atlanta, a city in the heart of perhaps the single biggest political battleground state over the last several years.  That option made a lot of sense for a number of reasons, but quite a few observers (myself included) preemptively noted the potential irony of Democrats planting their flag in Georgia, which President Biden has labeled a worse-than-Jim-Crow 'voter suppression' state -- a grotesque and factually false smear.  

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Ultimately, the ATL got the axe, another blow to the city's businesses, which were unduly harmed by Major League Baseball's craven and partisan decision to strip the Braves of the All Star Game, under pressure from the White House and left-wing activists.  Other businesses similarly and shamefully caved.  Instead, the DNC will be in Chicago, which is Democrats' kind of town.  The city's newly-elected mayor is even more intensely ideological than the soon-to-be-former incumbent.  Chicago's public schools were among some of the very last in the nation to fully open during COVID, inflicting untold harm on children stuck in the disaster of "virtual learning" for far longer than many of their peers across the country and around the world.  This was done for no good scientific reason.  It was done for political reasons, at the behest of the radical Chicago Teachers Union, which made headlines for its insanely extreme public statements and best-in-show hypocrisy.  Not long after finally, scandalously belatedly allowing kids to once again learn in-person, Chicago's teachers went on strike (yet again), forcing more needless and selfish learning loss.  

Cheering the union on, every step of the way, was Brandon Johnson, a paid teachers union agitator...and now the mayor-elect, who narrowly won a runoff this month against a moderate Democrat.  Nearly all of Johnson's campaign funding came from unions, including controversial contributions from unions whose membership had not voted to actually endorse him.  Now the favorite organizer/candidate of Al Sharpton, Bernie Sanders, and Randi Weingarten, with precious little executive leadership experience, is poised to lead the nation's third-largest city.  Given the Democratic Party's views on education and parents' rights, their fanatical commitment to trapping poor kids in the schools run by their union bankrollers, and their widespread abuse of fake 'Science' to justify all sorts of unsupported COVID mandates and restrictions, Chicago seems like a very good fit.  They are sending a signal to voters that Democrats very much support The Chicago Way.  Will the national electorate embrace that message?

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Then there's the crime.  The Windy City has suffered through terrible crime waves for many years, but it's gotten quite a bit worse during the post-2020 era.  Local leaders, uniformly Democrats, will cherrypick certain statistics to try to paint a less dire picture, but the city's lived reality it is what it is.  Voters gave Mayor Lori Lightfoot the boot in significant measure due to the deterioration of the crime problem on her watch.  They then elected a man who was on the 'Defund the Police' train until he realized he needed to backpedal for political reasons.  He still blows dogwhistles at his 'defund' comrades, using buzzwords they understand to align with their vision of anti-law enforcement policies, and he's refused to commit to rebuilding the police force back up to previous levels, following an exodus (which the police union has warned could only get worse under Johnson).  Indeed, on the very day the Democrats announced their quadrennial nominating convention would land in Chicago, a major corporation announced it is closing four locations in Chicago, due to massive losses:

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Walmart Inc. is closing four stores in Chicago after earlier closing several others in urban areas, a sign that the company is retreating from stores it hoped would attract new shoppers but that lag behind the profits of rural and suburban locations. Earlier this year the country’s largest retailer by revenue also closed a store in Washington, D.C., near the White House and two locations in Portland, Ore. It didn’t reopen a store in Atlanta after a fire... “Collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago,” said Walmart Tuesday. “These stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years.” ...The closures sparked criticism from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “I’m incredibly disappointed that Walmart, a strong partner in the past, has announced the closing of several locations,” she said. “Unceremoniously abandoning these neighborhoods will create barriers to basic needs for thousands of residents.” The spokesman for Walmart declined to comment.

Notice Lightfoot's quote upbraiding Walmart for "abandoning" these communities, as if these stores are charities that the company has an obligation to keep running, even if they're bleeding money.  Unprofitable companies in a dangerous city may be in for even harder times ahead, as the mayor-elect is proposing a raft of huge new taxes, in a city already under the taxation gun.  Economically-illiterate lunacy like a per-employee tax levied against large job creators will obviously crush hiring and drive more businesses out of the city.  This is what the citizens of deep blue Chicago have asked for.  And it's what the national Democratic Party made a decision to enthusiastically endorse -- after the election result was known.  The party is tripling down on the bluest of blue policies in the bluest of blue cities, in the bluest of blue states.  This is who they are.  Voters really aren't loving it, per a recent CNN poll:

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(Imagine if Republicans had a strong, coherent, popular message on abortion that didn't cede the field to the Democrats' distortions and extremism).  But these numbers are also reflect what a lot of the polling looked like ahead of the very underwhelming 2022 midterm elections, in which the unpopular ruling party had an historically strong showing, barely losing the House and gaining in a Senate seat and a few governorships.  Many swing and indepenedent voters have made clear that they are very open to voting red, but can't stomach the current iteration of the Republican Party and its most prominent, ubiquitous face.  Republican primary voters can either internalize the lesson they've been sent by those voters for three consecutive elections, or they can quadruple down.  We'll see.  I'll leave you with a similar story to the Walmart development mentioned above.  I'm a bit surprised the DNC didn't go with San Francisco in 2024, to be honest, given what that place represents.  Alas, delegates won't have to suffer the indignity to dodge homeless encampments and piles of human feces on their way to pick up lunch, only to discover that their desired destination is no longer open:

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One of the largest supermarkets in downtown San Francisco closed its doors this week due to deteriorating street conditions nearby. Increased drug use and crime near the Whole Foods on Eighth and Market, which opened just one year ago, contributed to the store’s closing, a city hall source told the San Francisco Standard. “We are closing our Trinity location only for the time being,” a Whole Foods spokesperson said in a statement. “If we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store, we will evaluate a reopening of our Trinity location.” The news comes after a recent spate of violent attacks upon prominent San Franciscans. CashApp founder Bob Lee was fatally stabbed last week, cycling champion Ethan Boyes died after being struck by a car, and former fire commissioner Don Carmignani was brutally beat over the head with a pipe by a homeless man, surviving. When a team from CNN traveled to San Francisco’s city hall to report on the crime issue, members of the crew had their bags stolen out of their rental car nearby.

"Progress."

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