Voters in Chicago will have make a decision on Tuesday about who will become their next mayor for the coming term. The heavily Democratic city of the third largest of its kind in the United States of America will be choosing from two politicians with distinctly different viewpoints on issues such as taxation, crime and the approach to education. One candidate is Paul Vallas, a moderate Democrat endorsed by local business entities and the police union of Chicago. The other candidate is Brandon Johnson, a progressive ally of the Chicago Teachers Union, who is a former teacher and union organizer.
The need for the mayoral runoff election occurred due to no one candidate receiving over fifty percent of the voting power in the February election that included current Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Lightfoot is the first incumbent to attempt reelection in the city in forty years to lose on the ballot.
The focus of the race is on the escalation of violent crimes amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the continued high taxation of property. This election is seen as a measurement of the power and representation of both the progressive and more moderate wings of the Democratic Party on the local level.
Paul Vallas has proclaimed his experience with budgets and in taking over troubled school systems in locations including Chicago, New Orleans and Pennsylvania, will be a boon to the city’s recovery from pandemics and economic crises. His platform promotes additional officers and reinforces his stance on crime. Vallas has also criticized Johnson for his support of defunding the police and claims Johnson rarely has clear and precise responses for questions posed for him.
Brandon Johnson has painted Paul Vallas as existing on the far right side of the political spectrum and has leading a chant at a rally that Vallas take a seat. He claims his opponent takes money from donors who are devoted to Donald Trump and people connected to the police union that defends the January 6, insurrectionists. Johnson advocates for mental health care, housing assistance and job offerings for youth over increased investments in policing and incarceration programs. He has a tax plan in mind to gather 800 million dollars from some businesses and ultra-rich citizens by means of a per-employee tax and a tax on hotels guests. Vallas believes Johnson would be disastrous for the city’s economy should this plan pass.
The two men leading the polls for the race for Mayor of Chicago have both profited from Democratic endorsements and have a history with the Party but how to approach change in the Windy City could draw from separate ideals. The contest promises to offer a comparison between what is thought of as progressive tendencies and more moderate approaches, both locally and on a nationwide scale in the following years including mayoral elections in Houston and Philadelphia.