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ANALYSIS: Lightfoot and Preckwinkle Spar In Final Days of Election

Last updated on March 31, 2019

The final days…

As the final days of Chicago’s historic mayoral election approach, candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle make their closing arguments to win over the reported 29% of undecided Chicago voters.

In a poll conducted by Crain’s Chicago Business and WTTW, it is made clear that Lightfoot has 53% of the vote at the moment. This is a stark contrast to the relatively low 17% Toni Preckwinkle has earned; this percentage poin is even lower than the undecided rate.

If the metrics presented in the poll are correct and Toni Preckwinkle were to win over all of Chicago’s undecided voters, only 46% of the final ballots would be allocated to Ms. Preckwinkle. In other words, if Preckwinkle somehow convinced every undecided voter to make the right choice by April 2, she would still lose.

To be clear, this poll represents the views of just 500 people in Chicago. While this may not be the view of the projected 500,000 who will cast their ballot, it certainly provides insight as to who may become Chicago’s next mayor.

At the end of the day, though, all of these polls can either be proven to be useful or useless… very often there is no middle ground.

In other words…

There is only one poll that matters: Election Day.

This is something that voters have realized time after time. A recent example of this would be Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential victory. Nearly every single poll conducted by mainstream networks reported Hillary would decimate Trump’s numbers, yet Mr. Trump was allotted 77 more electoral votes than Ms. Clinton was by the end of the night.

While we now face a very different situation, the premise and circumstances are quite similar.

I assume Ms. Lightfoot will most likely be using the Election Day line in the coming days not only because of its truth but also because it appears unbiased and straightforward. Unbiased and straightforward are terms progressive democrats usually like to push forward; Lightfoot is no different.

How Things Stand Now…

According to all recorded data, Lori Lightfoot seems to be leading, and will most likely be Chicago’s 56th Mayor.

As I wrote about in my previous Mayoral article, one of the driving factors of Lightfoot’s triumph is that she is not a politician. 20 years ago, that would be a negative attribute. Now, it is driving her success. She slacked in financial contributions but willfully earned an endorsement from The Chicago Sun-Times, and campaigned heavily on equity and change. Raising $1.5 million in campaign funds, Lightfoot had a relative deficiency in finances compared to other candidates (including Preckwinkle), but she still pulled through strongly in February, where she achieved a stunning upset.

What happens now?

The big question many voters are faced with is: What happens if a candidate loses? Obviously, the answer is different for everyone, but in this case, it’s pretty easy to understand.

If Toni loses the election, she will continue serving as Cook County Board President, a powerful position that she recently secured for another term. Nonetheless, if Toni were to lose the Mayoral election, she still would have a very powerful position in City Hall, and would even be able to confront Ms. Lightfoot on certain issues she disagrees with. This is not the case for Lori.

If Lori loses the election, she will most likely continue her police reform advocacy and/or re-join her private prosecutorial practice. Relative to Preckwinkle, the specifics are a bit unclear with respect to the future of Lightfoot’s career. This lack of clarity is most probably because she is winning.

Who will win?

Lori.

At least, I think so. The only potential problem that Lori could face is swaying voters. The thing that people must realize is the 17% of people committed to Preckwinkle are strong, cold-hard, and loyal. They are not going to shift their politics… many of them have voted for Preckwinkle for a long period of time.

Due to her inherent lack of governmental experience, Ms. Lightfoot does not have this asset to fall back on, but at the end of the day: a vote is a vote. This means no matter how loyal or disloyal Lori’s voters are, their vote will still count just like everyone else’s.

Candidates are faced with the question of: Would you rather have a bunch of relatively unloyal voters OR a small amount of unbelievably loyal voters? The only catch to this question is that the loyalty factor does not matter… welcome to democracy!

Joking aside, the answers to the questions on the minds of voters may now shift as we approach the final days… No matter your politics, your vote will make history and that is exactly what defines the power of a stable democracy.

Jay Doherty

2019

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Jay Doherty, Jr. 2019. All rights reserved.