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The Mechanics

Democrats Thu Dec 31 2015

Where are the Peace Candidates?

Americans are statistically more likely to be killed by a storm or by their neighbor's dog than fall victim to an ISIS marauder or jihad-inspired rando. Nonetheless, the Conventional Wisdom seized on the Paris and San Bernardino massacres to declare that national security was now the top issue in the presidential campaign. Thus seemingly the entire first half of the most recent presidential debates consisted of "moderators" pressing the candidates not only to affirm being on board the national mass hysteria train, but to state how much coal they were ready to shovel into the firebox. As a result, you can search the entire 20,000-word transcript for the third Democratic debate without stumbling across the word "peace" passing any candidate's lips.

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Jeff Smith

Democrats Mon Dec 14 2015

Alvarez Headed for Shoals on North Shore

Doings in Evanston this Sunday gave strong indication that State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, in her bid for re-election, is heading for some rocks along the north lakefront of Cook County as perilous as those that occasioned the erection of the historic Grosse Point Lighthouse in the 1800s. Bearing in mind, as an old Danish proverb goes, that it is always dangerous to prophesy, especially about the future, and that that danger is multiplied by trying to use orchestrated political events as tea leaves, the Democratic primary bid of Kimberly Foxx stands to gain a massive boost from both the Chicago wards and suburban townships of the shoreward persuasion.

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Jeff Smith

Election 2016 Wed Nov 18 2015

Republicans in Disarray, but Democrats in Despair

GOP dissarayNate Silver is one of America's sharpest political analysts, so when he writes a piece like "Maybe Republicans Really Are In Disarray", it should raise some eyebrows. Silver doesn't come to a definite conclusion, but he does lay out a logical explanation of why "disarray" might be the right term to describe the current standing of the Republicans nationally. I would add that it could easily be extended to the situation in Illinois, where Governor Bruce Rauner seems to be alienating his own party, and where at a glance it would seem increasingly likely that Senator Mark Kirk will lose next November.

Silver, though, also argues against the disarray argument, by making a fairly simple point: excluding the presidency, Republicans are winning a lot more than they're losing. Even here in Illinois, with Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the General Assembly, the reality is that the Republicans hold the governorship, one U.S. Senate seat, and eight of 18 U.S. House seats. The voting profile of the state would suggest that the Republicans should be doing far worse here.

So are the Republicans in disarray? I think the answer has to be yes. But does it matter very much? Maybe not. As bad as things may seem for the Republicans, they're nevertheless the majority party in the country, based on control of both houses of Congress, a large majority of governorships, and most state legislatures.

The party with the worst problems right now is the Democratic Party, and we can even see this playing out in Illinois.

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Phil Huckelberry

Election 2016 Tue Sep 22 2015

Wrigley Dodges a Walker

walker-wrigley.jpg

One thing that was avoided by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dropping out of the presidential race: a private event at Wrigley Field for donation bundlers, hosted by members of the Ricketts family. Reports Politico:

Walker's biggest political patrons, the Ricketts family, which has contributed $5 million to his super PAC, felt similarly blindsided, according to an adviser to the Walker campaign. Todd Ricketts, who has been among Walker's most aggressive fundraisers, did not get a call until later Monday afternoon.

Ricketts, whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, was set to host a Manhattan fundraiser later this week and had been busily organizing a never-before-reported event for Walker bundlers at Wrigley Field on Oct. 2. Even amid sinking poll numbers, turnout was expected to be high. The Wrigley Field thing was going to be awesome," said the adviser. "This guy busted his ass for Scott Walker."

Andrew Huff

National Politics Wed Sep 16 2015

Don't Bother, They're Here

gop-clown-car.jpg
Illustration by DonkeyHotey.

It's unclear at what point the clown car metaphor became too undersized, and a clown stretch minivan, with attached elephant trailer, more apt for the traveling circus that has become the Republican presidential nomination contest. What's clearer is that there are more GOP candidates than living Americans who can name them all.

The paper today said that someone named Gilmore, or Fillmore, or Milhous, was not invited to any of tonight's debates. Looking up from my coffee, I announced this with all the seriousness and sorrow I could muster. My wife, looking as if I had asked her to name the last three finance ministers of Kyrgyzstan, said "Who?!"

"Exactly," I replied.

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Jeff Smith

Election 2016 Tue Jun 02 2015

The Progressive Path: Bernie Sanders and How to Operate Off the Two-Party Trail

Did Bernie Sanders make the right decision?

My question last year was not so much whether Vermont's junior Senator would run for President, but rather, if he were to do so, how he would: as a Democrat, as a Green, or as an Independent. The fourth option, of course, was not to run at all. But that decision was likely already off the table. Eugene McCarthy once remarked that "It's harder to stop running for president than it is to start." Once Sanders was running, he wasn't going to stop. He just needed to decide how. In the end, of course, he decided to run as a Democrat.

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Phil Huckelberry

GB store

Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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