Bringing Chicago Home

The Chicago mayor has raised questions once again about his limitations.

The issue this time is his reaction to the Bring Chicago Home initiative, which was a campaign promise to address homelessness in the city. This initiative after legal wrangling about its ballot legitimacy was rejected by Chicago voters.

Johnson suggested after this vote that ethics rules prevented him from prevailing and that his signature issue had been defeated by Trump supporters. He also promised to proceed with his progressive agenda of investing in individuals.

Johnson’s reaction is understandable, and even predictable. It also attests to his limitations as a politician and even a person.

A substantial number of those who rejected this measure as the Tribune has argued had to have been fellow Democrats. At least some of these voters were also rejecting J’s substance and style.

This condition was clear even before the election. For instance, a Chicago lawyer suggested that the Bring Chicago Home initiative, which might “feel progressive,” undermines its purpose and could actually harm “rent-burned” and homeless Chicagoans.. This concern is even more credible given that it was raised by an attorney whose practice includes affordable housing.

A more reassuring response would have been to acknowledge these possible reactions and the political realities even before the vote. After the outcome, a more competent leader would have offered to negotiate with the Bring Chicago Home opponents and affirmed to collaborate with everyone who cares about this great city.

Perhaps Johnson if nothing else can help by illustrating the limitations of emphasizing policy differences rather than a shared belief in and commitment to social obligation and communal support before all the other Democrats arrive this summer. That could highlight the need for different leaders from the ones we currently have.



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