Democrats Choose to Advertise Failures of Single-Party Democratic Rule by Holding the 2024 DNC in Chicago
After a century of Democratic mismanagement, Chicago is hemorrhaging population, catastrophically underfunding massive pension promises, and taxing the bejeebus out of its crime-scarred residents.
The Democratic National Committee on Tuesday announced that the party has decided to hold its 2024 national political convention in a city that has been ravaged by decades of one-party Democratic rule: Chicago.
The Windy City has been run by Democratic mayors for 93 consecutive years. The 50-member City Council currently includes zero Republicans. The Cook County Board of Commissioners has 17 seats; 16 are filled by Democrats. So totalizing is the city's unipartisan political culture that recently vanquished mayoral finalist Paul Vallas, a lifelong Democrat, could not overcome the campaign criticism that he was a "Republican in disguise."
So what has all this unobstructed Democratic governance produced? Population flight, for starters. From a peak of 3.6 million residents in 1950 the city has tumbled down to an estimated 2.7 million in 2021. What for a century had been the "Second City" in the United States has been #3 since the 1980s; what was the fifth-largest metropolis in the world in 1900 is now #5 just in North America.
And those U-Haul trucks are leaving behind a mess. Chicago's public pensions have a larger combined total of unfunded liabilities – north of $46 billion – than 45 states. The funding shortfall, due to decades of Democratic mismanagement, has swallowed up most of the city's many tax hikes.
Governments desperately short on money tend to be reckless about locating the stuff. Chicago has the second highest combined state/local sales tax (10.25 percent) of any city; Illinois has the second highest effective property tax rate (2.23 percent) of any state. (Chicago's property taxes in particular are skyrocketing.) Throw in personal income and corporate taxes, and the Prairie State ranks #1 in the country in highest effective state/local tax burden per median U.S. income.
Those residents unable to flee predatory tax collectors are all too often treated like sitting ducks. "Chicago's corrupt policing system of fines, asset forfeitures, and vehicle impounds serves to extract whatever money the city can get from its poorest citizens to pay for itself," Reason's Scott Shackford wrote in 2020, linking to investigations from C.J. Ciaramella.
Then there is all the murdering. Chicago's murder rate of 25.8 per 100,000 residents in 2022 (up 39 percent since 2019) was the 13th-highest among the 75 biggest cities in America (2nd-highest among the 20 most populous), and four times the national average. Police retention and morale are poor, crime-clearance rates are scandalously low, and corruption is rife.
Chicago public schools, too, are notorious, driving 10 percent of the student population away in just three short years of pandemic closures. "Nearly 80% of Chicago Public Schools students cannot read at grade level," the Illinois Policy Center noted in December. "Just 15% met proficiency in math." And the politics is particularly nasty: The powerful, strike-happy Chicago Teachers Union in December 2020 asserted that "The push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism, and misogyny."
So basically on three of the most effective Biden-era campaign issues for the GOP – anti-family K-12 policies, rising crime, leftist capture of supposedly neutral institutions – Chicago is a living avatar. Every time a Dem calls the City of Broad Shoulders "a bastion of Democratic Party values," there will be a Republican right there, vigorously nodding.
What's the logic on this facially awful idea? Democrats think the midwest will continue to be the most critical presidential battleground (Republicans will be gathering in nearby Milwaukee), and so want to be making noise nearby, in a burgh big enough to handle max capacity.
National political conventions have mattered less and less to the trajectory of presidential contests over the years, which means so does their siting. (Defenders of the Chicago pick note that Democrats had a swell time there back in 1996, as opposed to the generationally defining police riot of 1968.) In the scheme of things, Joe Biden & co. choosing Chicago is likely to be a footnote.
But wow, what an own-goal, as the soccer fans say. Biden, an unpopular president, and Democrats, an unlovable party, continue to have one big selling point in their favor: They are not, under any circumstances, Donald Trump. Dislike them all you want, at least they're not weary-making agents of chaos.
However, putting the convention in Chicago reminds voters, particularly those independents on whom the election will again almost certainly swing, that there's more to Democratic governance than mere non-Trumpiness; Dems do actual damage.
So, points for truth in advertising, I guess, and pass the Malört.