Chicago’s incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot just lost in a landslide. She came in third place and barely received 17 percent of the vote from Chicago voters – 83 percent chose someone else. That means she’ll miss out on a top-two run-off election in April and become the first Chicago mayor in 40 years to lose reelection.
The mayor has only herself to blame. Voters were pleading for her to get tough on criminals. Instead, she spent time and taxpayer dollars making cringeworthy videos on Chinese Communist Party-owned TikTok.
She ignored her employers and now she’s out of a job.
It’s The Crime, Stupid
It didn’t take a genius to recognize what issue mattered most to Chicago voters – it’s crime. It was always crime. The city has been plagued by crime since Mayor Lightfoot was first elected and it only became worse during her tenure.
In the lead up to the election, 44 percent of voters said crime and public safety were their top issues. The second-place issue, jobs, came in at 13 percent, far behind safety. Two-thirds of voters said they personally don’t feel safe and half of voters said they were going to cast their ballot for a candidate who would get tough on criminals. No surprises Mayor Lightfoot lost given those numbers. A brief history shows why.
In 2020, crime was already plaguing the Windy City and the coronavirus pandemic made it worse. Ahead of Memorial Day weekend 2020, Mayor Lightfoot, the Chicago Chief of Police and even gun control groups got together to plan for a violent weekend and urge city residents to remain safe, as if asking criminals politely would do the trick. That tactic failed and it was a violent weekend for the record books. Instead of taking accountability for the failure, Mayor Lightfoot blamed others. “Whatever the plan was, it didn’t work,” she said.
Later that year, Mayor Lightfoot caved to irresponsible pressure to defund the police and eliminated 600 law enforcement positions while crime surged. Mayor Lightfoot continued embracing strict gun control that limited Chicagoans’ ability to protect themselves even as police retirements continued climbing and the city’s crime problem grew.
In 2021, Chicago criminals still ignored the mayor’s pleas to stop their violent ways. In broad daylight, criminals exchanged gunfire between cars and a home with police officers nearby, tragically killing one person. Five others were taken into custody and despite clear video evidence to charge the perpetrators, nothing was done. Still, Mayor Lightfoot blamed others. “Given that evidence, a pod camera right there that captured the entire thing… why isn’t that enough?”
The buck stops with the mayor. Chicago’s criminal violence left voters exasperated and searching for solutions. The answer wasn’t another term for Mayor Lightfoot, so they fired her.
Illinois has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and Chicago is even stricter. More gun control laws just signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker are facing court challenges already – including by NSSF – but it remains clear that Chicagoans want security and the means to protect themselves. That includes exercising Second Amendment rights to protect themselves. During Mayor Lightfoot’s tenure, more than 1.9 million Illinoisans purchased a firearm, according to NSSF adjusted FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data.
After such a lopsided misreading of voters’ priorities, did Mayor Lightfoot understand that she got it wrong? Hardly. The mayor again shifted blame back to voters and all but called them misogynistic racists.
The New York Post reported she blamed other factors, not crime, on her loss and when asked by a reporter if she’d been treated unfairly, the mayor responded, “I’m a black woman in America. Of course.”
Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot should focus more on stopping the rampant crime in Chicago instead of making silly TikTok videos. pic.twitter.com/86876eRrm3
— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) October 5, 2022
Her hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune excoriated the mayor and her record on crime. “Lightfoot campaigned for mayor in 2019 by arguing crime was too high… But homicides, mostly from gun violence, spiked dramatically in 2020 and 2021… Shootings and carjackings also skyrocketed.” Mayor Lightfoot still blamed others for the criminal misuse of firearms in Chicago.
For voters, it wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t Mayor Lightfoot’s race, or her gender or her sexual orientation that concerned them. For Chicago voters, it was about safety, crime, and getting tough on criminals. And for that, voters gave the mayor the boot.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
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