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Trump’s MAGA and other tales of the last week’s election

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click to enlarge The candidate whose victory inspired my one-man conga line

The candidate whose victory inspired my one-man conga line

Michael Stokes

Despite the horn-honking, conga lines, and firecrackers all over town that greeted Joe Biden’s victory, MAGA had a surprisingly decent election showing in Chicago.

Donald Trump actually, believe it or not, increased his take from our city—winning about 16.5 percent of the vote. Up from 12 percent in 2016.

He even upped his take in the Black wards—more on that to come.

I know this because I spent much of the weekend doing what I always do after an election—geekishly poring over results in a desperate search for the larger meaning of it all.

Before I go further, allow me to make one thing perfectly clear—just because Donnie increased his Chicago totals does not mean I’m a Debbie Downer about things.

No, no, I was right there with you, Chicago, dancing in my own one-man conga line when word broke on Saturday that Pennsylvania had put Biden over the Electoral College top. (Yo, Dems, one more time—encourage hipsters to move from California to Texas and you’ll never have to worry about that damn Electoral College, or Senate, again.)

In fact, you might say I played a small role in Trump’s demise. It was all part of my devilish strategy when I wrote a column—one day before the election—predicting a Biden landslide.

As my editor, Karen Hawkins, explained—I was manifesting an act I wanted to happen. Yes, that’s what I was doing. I wasn’t predicting. I was manifesting—like a millennial. That’s me—Ben, the Manifester!

So, OK, I didn’t manifest hard enough to win Florida and Texas, as I predicted. But I manifested well enough to take Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and maybe even Georgia. So, you’re welcome, Dems.

click to enlarge Watching my manifesting manifest - BENNY J
  • Watching my manifesting manifest
  • Benny J

Actually, the credit for Wisconsin and Michigan goes to the hundreds of volunteers (I see you, Rose Colacino) who worked their asses off on behalf of Biden.

Just as the credit for Georgia goes to Stacey Abrams and her allies, who undid much of the voter suppression that Republicans had used against her.

Now, on with the election analysis, starting with the vote in Chicago’s Black wards . . .

The impact of Black voters

By my estimation, Biden won about 95 percent of the Black vote in Chicago.

Which is about what he got from Black voters in Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.

In fact, it was Black voters in Milwaukee that put Biden over the top in Wisconsin, just as Black voters in Detroit, Philly, and Atlanta put him over the top in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia (if that lead holds on). And Black voters in Chicago comfortably put Illinois in the Biden category.

The good news for Trump is he increased his take from the Black wards.

In 2016, he picked up just under 2 percent of the votes from the four wards with the highest percentage (almost 100) of Black voters.

This time it looks like Trump will win around 3.1 percent of that vote—with mail-in votes still being counted.

For instance, in 2016 he took 397 votes in the SixthWard. So far this year he’s won 669.

In the EighthWard, he went from 405 to 765.

In the 21st Ward, Trump jumped from 389 to 744.

And in the 34th—oh, you get the idea.

That’s the good news for Trump. The bad news for Trump is that we are still only talking about 3 percent of the Black vote.

At this rate, Trump may have to wait until the next century before he wins a majority of the Black vote in Chicago.

Several theories for these gains. He won over a handful of high-profile celebrities like Ice Cube and 50 Cent.

Ice Cube is the world-famous movie producer, actor, rapper, and billionaire who wrote the song Fuck tha Police.

Curiously, Trump was also endorsed by John Catanzara—the MAGA-loving president of the Fraternal Order of Police—who has threatened to kick out of his union any member who dares to take a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Ice Cube and Catanzara—now, that’s some coalition. Maybe they’ll cut a duet of Fuck thaPolice in time for next year’s Grammys.

Anyway, winning over rich celebrities like Ice Cube is part of Trump’s two-prong strategy for Black voters.

On the one hand, he accentuates his celebrity blessings—it’s almost as though we know the names of every Black person for Trump. And on the other he moves heaven and earth to suppress the vote of millions of ordinary Black voters who wouldn’t vote for him in a million years. No matter what any celebrity says.

As we can see, the first part worked. But the second part was a miserable failure, as demonstrated by the long lines of Black voters in Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Atlanta (by the way—thank you Stacey Abrams) patiently waiting for their chance to vote against Trump.

Where Trump won in Chicago

As for the rest of the city, Trump picked up his totals, especially on the northwest and southwest sides—or, what passes for MAGA country around here. In the 41stWard, out by O’Hare, he won over 47 percent of the vote. Up from 43 percent in 2016.

And in the 19th Ward—in and around Beverly—he won about 39 percent. Up from 35. Not bad. But not great.

Trump also received more votes in the wealthy north lakefront wards. For instance, he won 23 percent from the Gold Coast-based 42nd Ward. Up from 20.1 percent. And the 43rd Ward, in Lincoln Park, gave him 18 percent. Up from 16.3 percent.

Proving once again that if you give some rich guys a tax break, they’re yours for life. Even if you endorse bleach as a cure for COVID.

Trump also gained among Latino voters. He won about 16 percent of the 12th ward—which has the highest concentration of Latino voters in the city. He got 10.4 in 2016.

All in all, this says as much about Chicagoans as it does about Trump.

Think about it—Trump spent the better part of the last four years bashing Chicago, using us as a horror story to scare white people into voting for him.

His message was basically—Hey, suburban white women, if you don’t vote for me, your communities will turn into a hellhole like Chicago.

Despite the hate, his vote tally grew as voters from Rogers Park to Mount Greenwood put on their MAGA hats. Even if many only wore them in the confines of their homes.

I suppose I should look on the bright side. Biden did win over 82 percent of Chicago’s vote.

But at the risk of sounding like Dr. Freud—there do seem to be more self-hating Chicagoans around town . . .

Here’s a trivia question for you: Who was the leading Republican vote-getter in Chicago?

I’ll give you a hint—his name is not Trump.

The race for state’s attorney

The honor belongs to Pat O’Brien, the former Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for Cook County state’s attorney.

He got about 29 percent of the Chicago vote in his race against Kim Foxx. That’s up from the 18 percent that the last Republican who ran against Foxx got in 2016.

Now, here’s an even tougher trivia question: Who ran against Kim Foxx in 2016? Don’t cheat by looking it up on your cell phone. OK, time’s up, people.

His name’s Christopher Pfannkuche. Oh, don’t act like you know that.

In 2016, Pfannkuche won 187,783 votes in Chicago. In contrast, O’Brien won over 285,000. That’s quite a leap.

O’Brien had a couple of things working in his favor. Number one is his name—we all know how much Chicagoans can’t resist voting for Irish names.

Secondly, there was Smollettgate. Or Foxx’s clumsy—to put it mildly—handling of the Jussie Smollett situation. I’ll spare you another recitation of that debacle.

Also, there was the summer’s unrest, which O’Brien blamed on Foxx, though she had absolutely nothing to do with it.

(By the way, in the 14th congressional election, James Oberweis blamed the unrest on Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, which is just as preposterous as blaming it on Foxx. Seems like a popular tactic for old white Republicans is to blame younger Black women for looting.)

O’Brien was a huge hit in MAGA land, outpolling Trump in the 19th and 41st Wards.

He even won the 13th Ward, out by Midway Airport. That happens to be the home ward of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

That’s correct. Madigan—the all-powerful chair of the state Democratic Party—could not carry his ward for Foxx. A Democrat.

That tells me Madigan wasn’t exactly sticking his neck out for an unpopular candidate. Or maybe he’s not so all-powerful anymore.

Not very reassuring in either matter, Dems.

Fortunately for Foxx, she was saved by big turnout in the Black wards, where she got over 90 percent of the vote.

But even there, O’Brien outperformed Pfannkuche—a name that doesn’t get easier to spell, even with practice.

O’Brien, running on a law-and-order message, got over 5 percent of the vote in the Black wards. Up from the 2 percent Pfannkuche won.

OK, that’s not much. But it suggests that the law-and-order message has some resonance in wards hit hardest by crime—which also explains why not all Black aldermen are jumping aboard the defund-the-police movement.

O’Brien’s biggest gains came in the land of milk and honey—the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and other upscale north-side areas.

In the 42nd Ward he ran so strong that Alderman Brendan Reilly—who’s also the Democratic committeeman—dumped Foxx and endorsed O’Brien.

O’Brien won over 50 percent of the vote in the 42nd. Up from the 37 percent Pfannkuche won in 2016.

No doubt this is a backlash to the looting that O’Brien blamed on Foxx, even though—again, and I can’t repeat this enough—she had nothing to do with it.

Before I get too depressed about all of this, let me point out that Gold Coasters and Lincoln Parkers restrained themselves. As I already noted, most of them voted for Biden.

So they settled on Foxx as the scapegoat for the looting. And managed not to go full MAGA. How’s that for looking on the bright side? Told you I wasn’t going to be a Debbie Downer . . .

Finally, there’s the matter of which ward wins the coveted dumbest voters of the year award.

I know—I promised no more voter shaming. But, c’mon folks, allow me one last indulgence.

Geez, people, you voted no on the Fair Tax?

Congratulations to the voters of the 41st Ward, where over 61 percent of the electorate voted against the Fair Tax amendment.

Even though many of these voters are public employees—either retired or active—who will be living on a pension in their golden years.

I really don’t want to launch into another recitation of the Fair Tax—which my beloved Democratic Party managed to make a mess of.

Suffice to say it would have been a bonus for pensioners.

State law prohibits pensions—or any retirement income—from being taxed. The Fair Tax amendment would not change that.

Alas, hedge fund billionaire Kenny G and his rich buddies launched the infamous Phyllis commercial, where they found a retiree in Park Ridge willing to say the Fair Tax amendment would tax retirement income.

Apparently folks on the southwest and northwest side bought that lie hook, line, and sinker. Either that or they hate Dems so much they voted no just because Governor Pritzker wanted them to vote yes.

Whatever the case, they essentially voted to cut their own throats. Metaphorically speaking.

Their no vote was even higher than the one on the Gold Coast—where the richest of the rich reside. So, you might say the Gold Coast and the Bungalow Belt voted against their self-interests.

Overall, over 70 percent of Chicagoans voted yes on the Fair Tax. The biggest support came from the Black wards—where the vote ran over 80 percent.

But it got crushed elsewhere in the state. And it failed.

Now that same bunch who financed the Phyllis ad will probably look to advance a constitutional amendment to cut pensions.

At which point all those pensioners in the 41st Ward will ask other voters—including Black voters—to come to their rescue.

I got bad news for you, northwest-siders. In this case, Ice Cube, who’s a billionaire, probably won’t be on your side.  v

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