WBEZ | Election 2012 http://www.wbez.org/tags/election-2012 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Harold Washington's lessons for Obama http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/harold-washingtons-lessons-obama-103935 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6694_AP8305250204-scr.jpg" style="height: 421px; width: 620px;" title="Former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington during a 1983 City Council hearing. (AP Photo/James Bourdier)" /></div><p>There are probably hundreds of thousands of people who have first-hand, shared memories of Harold Washington becoming Chicago&#39;s first black mayor and of Barack Obama becoming the country&#39;s first African-American president. There are certainly several dozen people (at least) who were actively involved in both efforts.<br /><br />You&rsquo;d think, then, that more people would pick out the parallels between Washington and Obama&#39;s first terms. Yet, it appears that some important lessons have gone unnoticed.&nbsp;Why bring this up now? Sunday is the 25th anniversary of Washington&rsquo;s passing. Perhaps it&#39;s as good a moment as ever to consider his crusade and what it meant. Washington&rsquo;s legacy is, more than anything, to fight for what&rsquo;s right. (For disclosure, I worked on Washington&#39;s committee on gay and lesbian issues. I also worked on the media team for his 1987 reelection campaign.)<br /><br />In 1983, when Washington broke decades of Democratic machine control, the immediate reaction was steadfast, uncompromising opposition that coalesced around political power and racial justifications made to stymie every one of the new mayor&#39;s moves.&nbsp;For the first half of Washington&#39;s initial term, every single step was blocked by legislative opposition in the City Council. In his inner circle there were ongoing debates as to how to deal with this intransigence. Some wanted compromise, some wanted a fight. Washington was forced to govern by veto.<br /><br />Ultimately, Washington &mdash; a former boxer &mdash; chose to fight, and the struggle became part of both history and pop culture. These days, we remember the clash with fondness: &ldquo;Council Wars,&rdquo; the Eddies, the 29 vs. the 21. But at the time, it seemed like a paralyzing and ugly mire.<br /><br />A little more than halfway through Washington&rsquo;s first term, there was a special aldermanic election in four Chicago wards. You might consider these analogous to the congressional midterm elections. But unlike Obama&rsquo;s &ldquo;shellacking&rdquo; in 2010, in 1985 all four seats were won by Washington supporters. The people rewarded Washington for his passion and punished the opposition for its pigheadedness.<br /><br />With a 25 to 25 City Council split, Washington himself became the deciding vote. He then spent the rest of his first term pushing through his agenda wholesale. In the spring of 1987, Washington won re-election easily, and greatly increased his majority in the City Council. Again, the people rewarded his committment and spirit. He&rsquo;d totally broken the opposition &mdash; until he died a few months later.<br /><br />Curiously, many of the folks around Obama now, who were also around Washington, were those who argued <em>against</em> staunch fighting. They were, in the main, arguing for compromise. And, as we saw in Obama&#39;s first two years (when he had the majority that Washington briefly had at the end of his first term) instead of pushing through his agenda, Obama negotiated against himself nearly every step of the way.<br /><br />It seems to be in Obama&#39;s nature to try to be everyone&#39;s president. It is also undoubtedly in Obama&#39;s nature to try to find common ground. He is not the brilliant and messy volcano that Washington was. As we were all reminded in that nerve-wracking first debate against Mitt Romney, Obama can be frosty and alienated from the process. Obama has written that he came to Chicago in 1985 because of the Washington revolution; yet in his first term, Obama and much of his Chicago team ignored the lessons provided by Washington about fighting on principle, often ceding his own political power and making the path to re-election and to real change harder.<br /><br />Obama won this time by a comfortable margin, but we shouldn&#39;t interpret the victory as a wholesale approbation of his policies and practices. The Republicans helped plenty, by putting up a candidate they could barely stand. The grassroots came alive for Obama after it looked like Mitt Romney might actually pull it off, and after Obama came back with a fiery spirit in the last month of the campaign. In other words, when he began fighting, hard, for his political life.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s the lesson here, Mr. President. If you were able to defy history&rsquo;s racial bias the first time and economics to get elected the second, then consider that your most important campaign is still ahead of you: the 2014&nbsp;midterms.</p><p>Think about Harold and how very fiercely he fought. Think of Washington&#39;s 26th vote and draw the line from him to you. Think of all he would have done, and couldn&#39;t do, and of all that&#39;s still within your grasp.</p></p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/harold-washingtons-lessons-obama-103935 Illinois GOP chair to take 'cold, hard look' at election losses http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-gop-chair-take-cold-hard-look-election-losses-103764 <p><p>The head of the state Republican Party says the GOP is regrouping after tough losses in Illinois elections, but he doesn&#39;t seem ready to resign on his own.</p><p>Illinois GOP chairman Pat Brady said Thursday party leaders are in the process of putting together an &quot;after action&quot; report to find out why his party&#39;s candidates had a &quot;very, very bad night&quot; on Tuesday.</p><p>Of the six hotly-contested congressional races in Illinois, Republicans lost four of them, thereby erasing the GOP gains of 2010. Among the defeats was Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Dold&#39;s one-point loss to Democrat Brad Schneider in the north suburban 10th District, where voters haven&#39;t sent a Democrat to Congress in more than three decades. Meanwhile, 13-year incumbent Rep. Judy Biggert lost by double digits to Democrat Bill Foster.</p><p>Democrats also picked up veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the Illinois House.</p><p>Part of Republicans&#39; brutal losses can be chalked up to the once-a-decade redistricting process, during which Democrats redrew political boundaries to their favor, Brady said.&nbsp;</p><p>But he also said Tuesday&#39;s losses demonstrate that Illinois Republicans have a larger image problem.</p><p>&quot;You can&rsquo;t whine about the map. The map&rsquo;s the map,&quot; Brady said. &quot;We need to take a cold, hard look at what happened, face the realities and do better, which we will.&quot;</p><p>Despite the tough losses, Brady would not say he was ready to resign the party chairmanship he&#39;s held since 2009.</p><p>&quot;I&rsquo;m a volunteer. If I&rsquo;m asked by the central committee or Sen. [Mark] Kirk to step down, I&rsquo;ll do whatever&rsquo;s in the best interest of the party, but no one&rsquo;s approached me about that yet,&quot; Brady said.<br /><br />Brady also said strong Democratic turnout hurt Republicans on Tuesday.</p></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 16:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-gop-chair-take-cold-hard-look-election-losses-103764 Despite troubles, Jesse Jackson, Jr. wins re-election in 2nd district http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-troubles-jesse-jackson-jr-wins-re-election-2nd-district-103703 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jessejackson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. cruised to victory on Tuesday night, but the Democratic congressman from Chicago&rsquo;s South Side will not be in town and his camp is not having a party.</p><p>&quot;My deep and sincere thanks to the people of the 2nd Congressional District, I am humbled and moved by the support shown today. Everyday, I think about your needs and concerns,&quot; the congressman said in a written statement.</p><p>He beat political unknowns Republican Brian Woodworth and independent Marcus Lewis.</p><p>Jackson, who has represented the 2nd Congressional District since 1995, has been on medical leave since June. He&rsquo;s suffering from bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues. On Monday, the Mayo Clinic confirmed that Jackson is currently a patient.</p><p>&quot;Once the Doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better everyday and look forward to serving you,&quot; Jackson said.&nbsp;</p><p>Amid his health woes, Jackson has also been under a cloud of investigation going on four years. Jackson is the subject of a U.S. House ethics investigation relating to accusations that he orchestrated a pay-to-play scheme aimed at getting a U.S. Senate seat appointment from imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Recent reports have come out saying that the feds are also inspecting his campaign spending.</p><p>Jackson hasn&rsquo;t been charged criminally and has denied wrongdoing. He was once considered a rising star in the Democratic party and a possible Chicago mayoral contender.</p><p>Jackson voted absentee by mail and has not made any public appearances since his leave of absence. In October, he put a robocall out to his constituents. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m anxious to return to work on your behalf,&rdquo; Jackson said. &ldquo;But at this time, it&rsquo;s against medical advice. And while I will always give my all to my constituents, I will ask you to continue with your patience as I ask to get my health back.&rdquo;</p><p>Jackson&rsquo;s absence and silence, along with the federal investigation, leaves many to speculate that he will resign. Others question Jackson and his family&rsquo;s handling of the illness.</p><p>In September a political analyst and Chicago Sun-Times columnist wrote this about Jackson:</p><p>&ldquo;Your silence leaves little room for empathy. Some are calling on you to speak out, to help encourage others who suffer in the shame of mental illness. Others claim that you are just hiding from the feds. I don&rsquo;t buy that noise. Your job belongs to the voters. Not to the Democratic Party bosses readying their smoke-filled rooms. Not your would-be successors who are writing your political obituary. Not to family members looking for a shortcut to high political office.&rdquo;</p><p>Last month congressional colleagues Danny Davis and Bobby Rush visited Jackson in his Washington, D.C. home. Davis defended Jackson and recounted the visit to WBEZ: &ldquo;I remember a fella named Job who got sick during the Biblical days. And Job&rsquo;s friends went to see him because they thought that he must have done something that was terrible to have this illness heaped upon him. Turned out that Job had not done anything!&rdquo;</p><p>While some voters expressed sympathy for Jackson&#39;s illness Tuesday night, others want questions answered.</p><p>&quot;I&rsquo;m just not understanding the illness, something else is involved in it also,&quot; said South Shore resident Melvin Jones. &quot;He&rsquo;s not answering any questions and he&rsquo;s being real closed-mouth about everything is bothering me.&quot;</p><p>In the March primary, Jackson handily beat former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson in the changed district. The 2nd Congressional District boundaries were redrawn and now extend through the south suburbs and past Kankakee.</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 20:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-troubles-jesse-jackson-jr-wins-re-election-2nd-district-103703 Quinn calls for progressive policies with veto-proof majorities http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-calls-progressive-policies-veto-proof-majorities-103734 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/quinn_121107.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois&rsquo; Democratic Governor Pat Quinn is celebrating his party&rsquo;s big wins in this week&rsquo;s election.&nbsp;Democrats picked up several state Senate and state House seats, giving them a veto-proof majority in both chambers.&nbsp;Some Democrats picked up seats in traditionally Republican areas of the state.</p><p>Quinn said Wednesday that the new majority will allow for what he calls progressive and overdue policies.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s important to see that the Democratic Party made great inroads in suburban communities, and I think that&rsquo;s healthy for our democracy in Illinois. It&rsquo;s not just one party in one part of our state,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Quinn reiterated his call for legislators to tackle the state&rsquo;s pension system, which is the worst funded in the country.</p><p>Legislative leaders have said they plan to address the $83 billion in unfunded pension obligations in January, which would occur in a lame duck session before the new legislators are sworn in.</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 15:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-calls-progressive-policies-veto-proof-majorities-103734 Republicans in Illinois lose seats after new district map http://www.wbez.org/news/republicans-illinois-lose-seats-after-new-district-map-103730 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Aaron Schock.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock said that redistricting is to blame for Republican losses in Illinois this year.</p><p>Democrats picked up four U.S. House seats and gained several in the Illinois General Assembly. Schock expects the new voting map to change Republicans&rsquo; political strategies going forward.</p><p>&ldquo;If you know you&rsquo;re a party that needs to win independent and Democratic voters, you can&rsquo;t be so strident,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t just placate the base all the time, &#39;cause at the end of the day, if you just win Republicans in Illinois, you are going to lose on Election Day.&rdquo;</p><p>He said that means that in the suburbs, Republicans will need to be less socially conservative, while Downstate, they&rsquo;ll have to show stronger cooperation with unions.</p><p>District remapping occurs every ten years based on census numbers.&nbsp;This year, the process happened under Democratic control.</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 13:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/republicans-illinois-lose-seats-after-new-district-map-103730 Photo of the day: November 7, 2012 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2012-11/photo-day-november-7-2012-103727 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/noradbase/8164087660/in/pool-32855810@N00/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/POTD_ElectionNight.jpg" title="Untitled (Flickr/Alek S.)" /></a></div></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 12:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2012-11/photo-day-november-7-2012-103727 Stocks plunge after election http://www.wbez.org/news/stocks-plunge-after-election-103722 <p><p>The election behind them, U.S. investors dumped stocks Wednesday and turned their focus to a world of problems &mdash; tax increases and spending cuts that could stall the nation&#39;s economic recovery and a deepening recession in Europe.</p><p>The&nbsp;Dow&nbsp;Jones&nbsp;industrial average plummeted as much as 369 points, or 2.8 percent, in the first two hours of trading. The average was on track for its worst decline in a year.</p><p>The Standard &amp; Poor&#39;s 500 index fell as much as 40 points, or 2.8 percent.</p><p>Energy companies and bank stocks took some of the biggest losses. Both industries presumably would have faced lighter and less costly regulation if Mitt Romney had won the election.</p><p>&quot;It does look ugly,&quot; said Robert Pavlik , chief market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC. He said it&#39;s hard to untangle Europe-related selling from nerves about the nation&#39;s fiscal policy, he said.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a combination of all that, quite honestly,&quot; Pavlik said.</p><p>Stocks seen as benefiting from President Barack Obama&#39;s decisive win rose. They included hospitals, free of the threat that a Romney administration would have sought to roll back Obama&#39;s health care law, and renewable-energy companies.</p><p>With the election over, traders&#39; attention returned to an increasingly sickly European economy, dragged down by a debt crisis for more than three years. The 27-country European Union said unemployment there could remain high for years.</p><p>The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, said that it expects the region&#39;s economic output to shrink 0.3 percent this year. In the spring, the group predicted no change.</p><p>For next year, the commission predicted 0.4 percent growth, barely above recession territory. It predicted 1.3 percent last spring.</p><p>U.S. stock futures were higher overnight after Obama cruised to victory. They turned sharply lower after the European forecasts and discouraging comments from Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank. European markets turned negative as well.</p><p>Now that the U.S. election has been resolved, it&#39;s natural for traders to focus on Europe&#39;s problems, said Peter Tchir, who manages the hedge fund TF Market Advisors.</p><p>What they&#39;re tuning in to, he said, is the failure of a major European summit last week and minimal progress on the issues that are holding the region back.</p><p>&quot;People can only digest one or two stories at a time, and people had put Europe on the back burner&quot; before the election, he said.</p><p>Obama&#39;s win followed a costly campaign that blanketed markets with uncertainty about possible changes to tax rates, government spending and other issues seen as crucial to the prospects of some industries and the broader economy.</p><p>As jitters about the election subsided, traders confronted an ugly reality: The so-called fiscal cliff, which will impose automatic tax increases and deep cuts to government spending at the end of the year unless the president and Congress can reach a deal.</p><p>That&#39;s no easy task for a deadlocked government whose overall composition has barely changed &mdash; a Democratic president and Senate and a Republican House.</p><p>If Congress and the White House don&#39;t reach a deal, the spending cuts and tax increases could total $800 billion next year. Some economists say that could push the economy back into recession.</p><p>&quot;Obama&#39;s re-election does not change the bigger economic or fiscal picture,&quot; Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics Ashworth, an economic research company, said in a note to clients.</p><p>Fitch Ratings offered a warning about the fiscal perils facing the U.S. If Obama does not quickly forge agreement with Congress to avert the fiscal cliff, the credit rating agency said Wednesday, it may strip the U.S. of its perfect AAA credit rating.</p><p>Fitch changed the outlook for the U.S. rating to negative last year after Congress and the Obama administration failed to meet an earlier deadline for resolving their differences on fiscal policy. Other rating agencies also have warned of possible downgrades.</p><p>Tobias Levkovich, a financial analyst at Citi Research, told clients Wednesday that a compromise on taxes and spending was likely in mid- to late January, but that stocks will probably fall in the meantime.</p><p>A deal early next year is much more likely &quot;once the political class begins to negotiate realistically and as the consequences . . . are too costly for either party to ignore,&quot; he wrote.</p><p>Shortly before 12:30 p.m. EST, the&nbsp;Dow&nbsp;was down 296 points at 12,949, dipping below 13,000 for the first time since Sept. 4. The S&amp;P 500 was down 31 at 1,397. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 68 to 2,943.</p><p>European markets closed sharply lower, with benchmark indexes in France and Germany losing 2 percent. Italy lost 2.5 percent; Spain lost 2.3 percent.</p><p>As traders streamed into lower-risk investments, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note plunged to 1.64 percent from 1.75 percent late Tuesday. A bond&#39;s yield declines as demand for it increases.</p><p>Stocks continue to hurt from lackluster third-quarter earnings reports, Tchir said.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s been this whole litany of things that have been dragging down the market for a while, earnings chief among them, and that&#39;s still out there,&quot; he said, adding that those concerns &quot;play as much of a role as anything to do with the election.&quot;</p><p>Earnings have been relatively weak, with many companies reporting lower revenue and darkening expectations for the coming quarters.</p><p>With more than four-fifths of them having reported, companies in the S&amp;P 500 index say earnings are up about 2 percent over last year, the lowest growth rate in three years, according to data from S&amp;P Capital IQ.</p><p>Most industries reacted to the election much as analysts had expected.</p><p>Hospital companies soared because of expectations that they will gain business under the health care law, known as ObamaCare. HCA Holdings and Tenet Healthcare leapt 7 percent, Community Health Systems 6 percent and Universal Health Services 4 percent.</p><p>Not all hospital companies are expected to benefit. Many of the patients who will gain insurance will be covered by Medicaid plans, which generally do not cover the full cost of care provided by hospitals.</p><p>Health insurance stocks sank, defying many analysts&#39; expectations. ObamaCare will expand coverage of the uninsured in 2014, giving insurers millions of new customers. But the overhaul also imposes fees and restrictions on the companies, potentially threatening their profitability. Humana slid 10 percent, UnitedHealth Group 5 percent, Aetna 4 percent and Wellpoint 6 percent.</p><p>With Obama seeking to restrain the growth of military spending, defense companies could struggle to win government contracts. Their stocks fell sharply: Lockheed Martin Lost 5 percent, Northrop Grumman 6 percent and General Dynamics 5 percent.</p><p>Among the 10 industry groups in the S&amp;P 500 index, financial stocks and energy companies fell the most.</p><p>Banks figure to face tougher regulation in a second Obama term than they would have under Romney. JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup fell 4 percent, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs 6 percent and Morgan Stanley 8 percent.</p><p>The biggest losers were coal companies, which had hoped that a Romney administration would loosen mine safety and pollution rules that make it more costly for them to operate. Peabody Energy dived 9 percent, Consol Energy 7 percent, Alpha Natural Resources 13 percent and Arch Coal 11 percent.</p><p>Oil companies fell less steeply.</p><p>Alternative energy companies, especially solar manufacturers, outperformed the indexes on expectations that they will continue to enjoy generous subsidies. First Solar was roughly flat and Yingli Green Energy Holding edged slightly higher.</p><p>Trading also reflected the outcome of ballot measures decided in Tuesday&#39;s election. After two states approved the recreational use of marijuana for the first time, Medical Marijuana Inc., a company too small to be listed on major exchanges, surged 17 percent.</p><p>Other notable moves included Apple, the world&#39;s most valuable company. IT fell 3 percent to $564.57 and has dropped 20 percent from its all-time high of $705.07, reached Sept. 21.</p><p>___</p><p>AP Business Writers Steve Rothwell in New York, Tom Murphy in Indianapolis and Linda Johnson in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 11:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/stocks-plunge-after-election-103722 7 takeaways from the election http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/7-takeaways-election-103714 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tammy%20baldwin%20AP.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px; " title="Tammy Baldwin wins in Wisconsin to become the first out lesbian U.S. senator in history. (AP)" /></div><p>1. President Barack Obama won 303 electoral votes but there are a few Republicans out there insisting he doesn&rsquo;t have a mandate. When George W. Bush won in 2004, he had 284 and everyone from Karl Rove on down called it a mandate. This time out, yeah, it&rsquo;s a mandate, too.</p><p>2. If last night was historic because it gave the nation&rsquo;s first black president a second term and preserved his legacy, it was also historic because, for the first time ever, LGTBQ rights were affirmed by popular vote in not one but four states. Maine, Maryland and Washington all approved same-sex marriage at the ballot box; Minnesota voted to keep its same sex marriage ban off the state constitution. And to cap it, Wisconsin&rsquo;s Tammy Baldwin will be the first openly gay U.S. senator in history. Sure, the Defense of Marriage Act is still on the books, but the nation&rsquo;s first same-sex marriage-affirming black president isn&rsquo;t defending it in the courts and it will, eventually, go down.</p><p>And this just in: Iowa Justice David Wiggins, the last of the pro same-sex marriage justices, has been retained &mdash; a complete reversal of two years ago when three of his marriage-equality-affirming colleagues were ousted in a recall.<br /><br />3. More women &mdash; 19! &mdash; will serve in the U.S. senate than ever before. Another historic turn. And in the process, rape apologists went down in flames, one by one.<br /><br />4. The Latino vote came out in, yes, historic droves, even the Puerto Ricans along the I-4 corridor in central Florida. The next few weeks, when the polls are dissected so we know exactly how many pot smoking, gay-marrying Ecuadorians in Colorado voted for Obama, will tell a fuller story. But this much we know right now: Without the Latino vote, this would be a very different story. Because of that Latino vote, the future of America is being re-written.<br /><br />5. Everybody&rsquo;s talking about the Latino vote, but the African-American vote, underestimated by nearly all the pundits of every persuasion, came out in force. President Obama &mdash; without another election to worry about &mdash; now needs to remember he&rsquo;s black enough to talk about poverty, public education, economic opportunity and equality in real terms. And, you know, do something about those issues.<br /><br />6. No matter how much Republicans tried to &quot;unskew&quot; the polls, it turns out that the science of statistics as practiced by actual non-Republican pollsters proved more accurate than wishful GOP scenarios of young people staying home, disappointed African-Americans, Latinos and women who would respond to economic messages without a fundamental promise of equality. Crazy how math adds up. Crazy how people need to know they&rsquo;re safe before they believe they can climb up the economic ladder. Crazy!<br /><br />7. The motley crew that is the Democratic Party is now the first multiracial, multicultural party of the American 21st century. It is also the party with a future. But they&rsquo;ll be a better party if they have a adversary, so here&rsquo;s hoping the GOP has a revelation, or that the Green Party or something else rises to replace it.</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 08:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-11/7-takeaways-election-103714 To bind the nation’s wounds http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/bind-nation%E2%80%99s-wounds-103696 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/voting%20sign%202%20ap.jpg" style="height: 387px; width: 620px; " title="(AP)" /></div><p>It&rsquo;s over! It&rsquo;s finally over! Thank God almighty, it&rsquo;s over! No more newspaper, TV or radio ads! No more blitz of unending robocalls! No more sometimes-urbane-but-more-often-than-not-unbearably-pompous-post-debate-analysis by professional pundits! The votes are in, the count is official. The Electoral College has been given its marching orders. We no longer have two candidates, we now have a duly elected winner.</p><p>According to a number of sources, more money has been spent on this presidential campaign than ever before: Tally up the professional staff, organizing volunteers, neighborhood canvassing, major fund raisers, local bake sales, the kissing of random babies, the shaking of untold hands, the photos taken or the rubber chicken dinners eaten &mdash; the time and money spent on all sides has been staggering.</p><p>Then there are the candidates: Mitt Romney has almost exclusively devoted the last three years to running for the presidency; and, although President Obama&rsquo;s day job prohibited him from being a full time candidate, the power of the bully pulpit kept his candidacy in the public eye.</p><p>But now it&rsquo;s over. It sometimes seemed like sound and fury signifying nothing, but elections &mdash; no matter how long, how tedious or how divisive &mdash; lie at the core of what we mean by the &ldquo;sacredness of the individual&rdquo; and the &ldquo;purpose of the state.&rdquo; Democracy is about the rule of the people: the belief that the state exists to serve its constituents, citizens, and not the other way around.</p><p>Yes, we now spend too much money on campaigns, from the office of the presidency to state representatives to the local dogcatcher. Yes, the rhetoric is often vitriolic. Yes, the campaign season is too long. However, presidential campaigns, political campaigns in general &mdash; no matter how flawed, expensive or over the top &mdash; speak to Abraham Lincoln&rsquo;s central philosophical and political conviction, &ldquo;that (a) government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.&rdquo;</p><p>I&rsquo;ll end with words of Lincoln in his Second Inaugural Address: &ldquo;With malice toward none; with charity for all&hellip; let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind the nation&rsquo;s wound&hellip; to do all which may achieve and cherish, a just and lasting peace, among ourselves and with all nations.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chairman of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/bind-nation%E2%80%99s-wounds-103696 In Chicago, Obama reprises his presidential victory http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-obama-reprises-his-presidential-victory-103711 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/obama3_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After a long, contentious campaign, Barack Obama won re-election as president of the United States, a victory that became clear after he clinched the necessary electoral votes in the state of Ohio.</p><p>In his hometown of Chicago, Obama declared, &ldquo;We are an American family and we will rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.&rdquo;</p><p>The president delivered his victory speech to throngs of supporters at McCormick Place convention center, not far from the Chicago&rsquo;s Grant Park, the downtown venue where he claimed his historic victory four years ago.</p><p>Obama thanked thousands of supporters, many of whom had to work hard to earn their spots at the convention center rally.</p><p>Glen Kanwit of Evanston said he worked seven days a week focusing on what he called &quot;voter protection,&quot; which comprised of taking calls about the location of polling places and what volunteers needed to take. He came to McCormick Place late because he had worked phones well into Election Day.</p><p>&ldquo;I like my president but we have to play on a fair playing field,&rdquo; Kanwit said. &ldquo;I&#39;m going to keep this up after the election.&rdquo;</p><p>In his concession speech, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney congratulated the president and said, &ldquo;I pray that he will be successful in guiding our nation.&rdquo;</p><p>Congress remained split between the two major political parties, with Democrats maintaining the majority in the Senate. Their position was solidified after they wrested seats from the GOP in both Massachusetts and Indiana.</p><p>With almost 90 percent of the 435 House races called by The Associated Press, Republicans had won 224 seats and were leading in 15 more. For a majority in the chamber, a party must control 218 seats. By night&rsquo;s end, Democrats had won 170 seats and were leading in 25 others.</p><p>Both parties managed to take at least some House seats previously held by the rival party.</p><p>In Illinois, Democrats had much to cheer about as their state&rsquo;s stalwart wasn&#39;t the only one to claim victory. Democrats picked up four U.S. Congressional seats in some of the most contentious &mdash; and expensive &mdash; races in the country.</p><p>In Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, however, voters were less than cheerful ahead of the results. Early Tuesday morning, tech troubles dogged the Chicago Board of Elections website, causing voters to scramble for basic information such as where they should cast ballots.</p><p>Also problematic: reports and claims of long lines and voting irregularities.</p><p>Chicagoan Laura Ormaza said she went to her assigned polling place with her voter registration card. But she said officials told her she was in the wrong precinct and wouldn&rsquo;t let her vote.</p><p>&ldquo;I shouldn&rsquo;t have to yell and argue and fight with someone for my right to vote,&quot; Ormaza said. &quot;It&rsquo;s absurd. It&rsquo;s unheard of.&rdquo;</p><p>Ormaza said she was eventually allowed to cast her ballot, but she was concerned for other voters who were turned away or were not willing to fight.</p><p>Polling snafus aside, races in Illinois were tight and closely watched.</p><p>In Illinois&rsquo; 8th Congressional District, Democrat and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth beat tea party darling Joe Walsh.</p><p>The race attracted significant media attention &mdash; and PAC dollars &mdash; from beyond the state&rsquo;s borders.</p><p>&ldquo;Together, we bring a new attitude to Washington,&rdquo; Duckworth told supporters at her celebration rally. &ldquo;On my first day, I will remind Congress we are here to serve the people.&rdquo;<br /><br />Duckworth was aided by new congressional boundaries, which the Illinois General Assembly redrew to include more minority voters.</p><p>One-term U.S. Rep. Bob Dold conceded to Democrat Brad Schneider in an extremely tight race for Illinois&rsquo; 10th District, which encompasses many of Chicago&#39;s northern suburbs. Polls had consistently shown the race was a toss-up, though later polls predicted a Dold victory.</p><p>In the 11th District, Democrat Bill Foster defeated Republican congresswoman Judy Biggert, who&rsquo;d been the incumbent in the 13 District. The match was inaugurated after Illinois Democrats redrew district boundaries and forced Biggert into a match against a strong opponent. Still, Foster&rsquo;s final lead was far larger than expected &mdash; 58 percent to Biggert&#39;s 42.</p><p>In the 13th District, Republican Rodney Davis beat Democrat David Gill. The Republican incumbent Tim Johnson announced he would not seek re-election.</p><p>In Illinois&rsquo; newly drawn 17th Congressional District, Democrat Cheri Bustos defeated Republican Congressman Bobby Schilling.</p><p>That matchup had been one of the most closely watched in Illinois, as Democrats had considered it an opportunity to pick up a seat in their fight to regain control of the House. Republicans also poured in big money to defend it.</p><p>There were also some unorthodox victories in Illinois that are sure to garner commentary from Illinoisans and outsiders alike.</p><p>For one, longtime U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. handily won another term in the 2nd congressional district, despite being on medical leave since June. His office has said he is suffering from bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues, and is being treated at the Mayo Clinic.</p><p>&quot;Once the Doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better everyday and look forward to serving you,&quot; Jackson said in a statement.</p><p>On the state level, Democrats retained control of the Legislature, with a potentially embarrassing victory involving Rep. Derrick Smith, who had been expelled after his indictment for bribery charges. He won his seat, despite the fact that major players in his own party &mdash; including Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White &mdash; actively campaigned against him. They had thrown support behind Lance Tyson, a third-party candidate.</p><p>Illinois voters also rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have required a three-fifths vote ― instead of a simple majority ― for any public body to increase public pension benefits.</p><p><em>&ndash; Scott Kanowsky, Tony Arnold, Lauren Choolijian and the Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 02:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-obama-reprises-his-presidential-victory-103711