First, there is the Constitutional Convention vote from this past election. The Con Con was a good government issue in its most distilled form; a vote for the Con Con was a vote against the status quo. Given that there was little effective organized support for a "yes" vote and a well-financed disinformation campaign for a "no" vote, it is surprising that Chicago over-performed the rest of Illinois by 13 percent. Particularly considering that Illinois' entire power structure comes from Chicago — every constitutional officer, and both legislative leaders — that Chicagoans expressed a greater will for reform than the rest of the state indicates something.Looking at the totals for the 6th on the Con-Con I didn't see anything resembling over performance.In fact the Con-Con lost bad in the 6th having only won about 42% of the vote.
"Yes" won eight wards: all of them majority black or Latino. A total of 18 wards came in within two and half points. All 16 are majority black or Latino. The First Ward, which is plurality Latino, was within six. The Yes vote's best white ward was the Lakefront liberally-est of them all, the 49th Ward, East Rogers Park. It went 53-46 against. But city-wide, only two wards didn't over-perform the state's yes vote: the 41st Ward, which is represented by the City Council's only Republican, and the old Machine's holdout ward, the far southwest side 19th. (Surprisingly, Mike Madigan's 13th Ward over-performed the state). Looking at suburban Cook County, the pattern holds; the strongest "Yes" townships Cicero, Calumet and Thornton, all three with large minority populations.
Is there a reasonable conclusion to draw from these results? One interpretation is that minority voters are ahead of a generational and demographic shift in the city electorate that is less constrained by traditional voting patterns and willing if not eager to remake the political establishment. This is amplified by the results of the 2007 aldermanic elections, which saw incumbents lose at a greater clip than they had in a decade. The Readers' Ben Joravsky, in a short exploration of the results of the Con Con vote, points out that only two thirds of voters who voted in the city even bothered to vote on the Con Con issue. Considering the lopsided spending of the two sides of the issue, and the heavy-hitters pushing for a No (not to mention the natural constituency the anti- forces had: pensioners), it is even more surprising that Chicago voters voted for reform at a greater rate than Illinoisans generally.
Second, though less compelling, are the results of the Forrest Claypool/John Stroger primary. In that case, we can expect black wards to have come in strong for Stroger, a pillar of the black political establishment in Chicago for a generation. Stroger also had the backing of the then-still-kind of popular governor and the nominal support of the mayor. But Stroger was utterly rejected at the polls in 17 wards, where he lost to Claypool by a 60-40 margin or worse — in 10 wards, the difference was 70-30 or greater. Overall, Claypool won 20 wards — including three majority or plurality Latino wards, and was competitive in another three, two of which are majority Latino. It is not possible to simply attribute Stroger's losses in these wards to voting along racial lines; of the "ethnic white" wards, Stroger won two and was competitive in two more.
Voting "Yes" on Con Con and voting for Claypool against Stroger are both acts of a sort of political leap of faith. In both cases, voters were acting more as a rejection of the status quo than in support of a positive alternative. They were willing to invite the unknown out of disgust with what they saw.
I see it won in these black wards the 3rd, 15th, 16th, & 20th. In other wards well the vote was very close but lost in the 7th, 17th, 28th, & 37th wards.You can check citywide results here. Just realized it'll take you to a page for online results go under "Select the Contest from the List Box Below - November, 2008 General" then click on the down arrow and look for "Proposed Call Convention".
If Quinn was successful in his lawsuit in challenging these results even if the defeat was resounding outside of Chicago, I wonder if it was possible to flip certain groups to the cause?