If Rahm Emanuel refuses to resign from office after his administration buried the video of Laquan McDonald shooting until after his re-election, Chicago voters can’t do much about it. One Illinois Democrat wants to change that. State representative LaShawn Ford will introduce legislation that will allow for a recall of the Chicago mayor if enough voters sign petitions — and based on recent polling, that won’t be much of a hurdle:
An Illinois state representative has introduced a bill that could remove Mayor Rahm Emanuel from office immediately.
Democratic Rep. La Shawn Ford filed legislation Wednesday outlining a lengthy process for a city special election.
The proposal would allow a recall election to be initiated by a petition with signatures totaling at least 15 percent of the total votes cast in the previous mayoral election, with at least 50 signatures from each Chicago ward. Challengers would need 12,500 signatures to get on the ballot.
Given that 51% of respondents in a poll this week want Emanuel to resign, that’s not much of a threshold. And since Emanuel only gets 18% job approval from his constituents, he’s not likely to prevail in a recall election if it becomes a reality, either. Scott Walker beat a recall in 2012, but that was over a policy dispute, and many Wisconsin voters who weren’t enamored of Walker thought that a recall over policy was illegitimate. That’s not the case here, where there are serious questions of misconduct and corruption in regard to the McDonald shooting and the suppression of the video.
The Fox affiliate notes that Ford’s bill might have a tough time getting through a Democrat-controlled legislature, but … is that really true? The Black Lives Matter protests have Democrats reeling already, and this case is particularly egregious. Emanuel isn’t exactly the cuddliest of Democrats either, so it’s a pretty large assumption that the party will rally behind Emanuel in these circumstances. If they do, the backlash from African-American voters will be heavy, and it won’t be limited to Illinois.
Emanuel tried offering an apology for the shooting happening on his watch while remaining silent about the suppression of the video. That turned out to be as successful as one might imagine, according to the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips:
But the reaction on the street was a very different story. Emanuel cried “crocodile tears,” one protester said. The only people who believe it will be his “lap-dog city council,” another said, according to the Tribune. They carried signs calling on Emanuel and his leadership team to resign.
And more and more — despite his speech Wednesday— it appears resigning could indeed be what Emanuel will be forced to do in order to restore Chicagoans’ faith in their government. …
For Emanuel, trust is the most critical element right now for him to take any meaningful action to help a wounded Chicago. And it’s increasingly difficult to envision a scenario in which whatever Emanuel does isn’t viewed as a political Hail Mary to save his career by understandably frustrated and suspicious Chicago residents.
The protests got fired up again because of the speech, as the Chicago Tribune reports today, and they weren’t soothed by Emanuel’s attempt at stage-setting, either:
“Rahm, resign!” they chanted. “What did Rahm know, and when did he know it?”
Within minutes of the mayor finishing his 45-minute speech — at times going off script and appearing to choke up with emotion — dozens began demonstrating outside council chambers. Even as Emanuel pledged to give citizens opportunities to more freely voice their concerns and worries, his administration confirmed spectators had to be on a list to be allowed inside to hear the speech.
“Sixteen shots and a cover-up!” they chanted, the common rallying cry evoking the number of times McDonald was shot.
This isn’t going away. If Ford’s bill passes, Emanuel had better start looking for his next job. The big question will be whether Hillary Clinton walks away from the longtime Clintonista, or tries to square the circle with a critical demographic in the Democratic coalition.