Are you following the mayoral election in Chicago? It’s a crazy scenario, with 14 candidates, and many of them serious contenders. The election’s a week from tomorrow, and the top two will go into a runoff in April, and it’s looking like it might take no more than 15% of the vote to make it to that runoff, because the vote will be split so many ways.
It’s nuts – and, like the winner-take-all state contests in the 2016 GOP primary, in which the non-Trump candidates split the vote so many ways that Trump was able to win states with considerably less than an absolute majority, this state of affairs might well produce a very undesirable outcome in the end. It also reminds me of the French election in which Macron was voted into office in a run-off because of the effect of Marine Le Pen, even though in their pre-runoff election he got less than a quarter of the vote. And, even though in general I think that the concept of a ranked-choice election system is unnecessarily complex and, however desirable the outcome, risks leaving voters confused and feeling something’s fishy, this election would be a clear case where it would seem to produce a better outcome than just choosing your favorite and hoping for the best, even if it’s just the method of selecting the runoff candidates.
Anyway, that being said, I had the opportunity to talk to Paul Vallas, who’s running as the reformist candidate in the race, and wrote up what I learned at my personal website. Go take a look! — and in the meantime, from that article, here’s the bottom line:
I’ve written on my Forbes platform about Chicago’s pension funding woes (with links in a single Jane the Actuary post), and in particular on the prospects of any of the mayoral candidates having a solution to the problem. Separately, I wrote an article at this site observing that, had Paul Vallas won the 2002 primary instead of Blago, Illinois might have had a very different history indeed – one fewer governor in prison, in any case. . . .
Longtime readers on my various platforms will not be surprised that I like Vallas’s combination of ethics and policy expertise. It’s simply not enough, for a city with problems as complex as those of Chicago, to profess you’re the best candidate because you care the most or have the most longstanding ties to the city. . . .
And, as a final reminder, I am not a Chicagoan and by no means an expert on Chicago politics. But even though, again, I grew up in the Detroit suburbs and so am accustomed to the idea that a metro area can do well economically even as the city core goes to pot, Chicago’s success or failure still matters, not just to city residents but to Chicagoland and to the state of Illinois.
Are you a Chicagoan, or an Illinoisian? What do you think of this whole, crazy election, and that whole crazy city?
Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wells_and_Adams_Street,_Chicago_Loop,_Chicago,_Illinois_(9181614950).jpg; By Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons