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Lightfoot is Gone, but New Mayor Johnson Bodes Ill For Chicago

Lightfoot is Gone, but New Mayor Johnson Bodes Ill For Chicago

I was born and raised in Chicago.  Much of my professional life was devoted to the civic and political life of the City.  I loved the city and the people, even as I opposed the corruption and racism of the Chicago Democrat Machine.

During my  years in Chicago, it was known as “The City that Works.”  There was some truth to that.  The corruption had not yet taken its full toll – although the segregation and oppression of blacks were unfortunately disgraceful.  

The City was in great financial condition, the streets were clean, and graffiti was limited to Hispanic artistry.  Long ruled over by  the powerful Democrat Machine, Chicago was the American version of a Banana Republic with Major Richard J. Daley as “Da boss.” 

His quarter century in power was followed by another quarter century of bossism by his son, Richard M. – separated by a 13-year gap in which several short-term mayors held the office, including the first and second black mayors and the first woman mayor).

Chicago today is not the City I knew – nor is it the City that works.  And based on the results of the recent election, Chicago will continue on the path of decline and destruction.  The last thing the Windy City needed was a radical left-wing mayor. 

Voters rejected the commonsense reform policies of a moderate Democrat (a Daley-type without the racism) who would have set a positive corrective course for the City.

The election of a government bureaucrat and union leader, Brandon Johnson, is exactly what Chicago did not need.  It means more of the very policies that have put Chicago in its current condition will not only remain but they will also be expanded.

For all the faults of the Daley Machine, it did focus on the fundamentals of city services.  Criminals were to be tracked down and arrested – not coddled.  The local prosecutors did not pledge to NOT enforce laws based on left-wing social or woke principles.  Streets were kept clean, parks well-groomed, and infrastructure well-maintained.  Housing and zoning laws keep neighborhoods vibrant.  (Of course, none of that was true in the segregated black communities – but that is another story.)

In recent years, Chicago has been a less friendly and more unlivable City.  The corruption and racism started to catch up.  Taxes and crime rose under increasing left-wing leadership – starting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  It was wokeness before that term was popularized.  He was followed by the disastrous term of Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Despite the disenchantment with Lightfoot, a bare majority of the voters elected to follow the same course to further decline.

Mayor-elect Johnson’s policing policies had led to the police union endorsement of his opponent, Paul Vallas – and a prediction that a thousand police would resign if Johnson was elected.  Johnson’s election means more pro-criminal policies and less support for the police. 

The crime wave will continue.

Johnson’s budgeting proposals mean more investment in social programs and less in business development.  He will find it very difficult to avoid more tax increases.  As a school teacher, you can rest assured that the failing Chicago schools will continue to fail – and thousands of minority children will be denied quality education.  The unions that have failed the school children will have more authority than ever.

Crime and high taxes – and lousy schools — have been the primary reason for the exodus of citizens and businesses from Chicago.  That trend will now continue or even accelerate.

We have seen this movie before.  It is called Detroit.  The once vibrant headquarters of the automobile industry has been essentially reduced to third-world status.  Its tax base has collapsed to the point that many of the basic city services and social programs can no longer be funded.

I am very pessimistic about Chicago’s future.  And despite what my critics may suggest, it is not because Johnson is black.  I worked very closely with the first black mayor, Harold Washington, who I considered a political adversary in many ways but a personal friend.  He was why I was appointed senior advisor to the Chicago Board of Education.  And I was the campaign spokesman for the second black mayor, Eugene Sawyer.  It is not Johnson’s skin color, but his socialist political philosophy that is the problem.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Tom

    We have seen this movie before. It is called Detroit. Great line! I do remember reading an article about Detroit and how the taxes and crime become so oppressive many of the white people moved out to an area around 25 miles away and started a new city. But it wasn’t so much the taxes as it was the crime, and to some degree the faltering education system. Seems like the same thing is happening to Chicago. Nothing seems to be the same in Chicago anymore, not even the Cubs who finally broke a 100 year loser streak winning the MLB World Series in 2016, their last win being 1908. But the way I see it, if the Cubs can do it, so can Chicago! The pendulum always swings both ways.

    I consulted this list of Chicago mayors at “” and clicked on each mayor to determine party. I found it amazing that the last Republican Mayor was 1927 to 1931, Great Depression Era, Mr. William Hale Thompson, 43 mayor of the city. And now they are on the 57th mayor of the city. Wow! 14 straight unanswered wins by the Democratic Party!!!

    My only question is why is the Republican Party failing so miserably in Chicago? It seems like the GOP has made the decision not to invest in Chicago? When will the GOP make a serious effort at swinging that pendulum the other direction?

    The years of your childhood and youth, and when you were a senior consultant to the Board of Education seems to have been good years in a vibrant and thriving Chicago. But the mayors back then were Dem, so we know the Dem Party can bring prosperity if it wants to. No GOP winners in sight. So there seems to be something else at play here: 1) A major pivot of the Dem Party? 2) Rising power of Unions? 3) Organized Crime and mob bosses taking over? 4) Planned Abandonment/surrender of the GOP, or at least way out of touch with Chicago?

    Its easy to complain that it is all the Democratic Party’s fault. But isn’t it just as true that it is also the GOP’s fault for being the party of failure in Chicago?

    Perhaps Chicago is in desperate need of a good independent candidate to bring the city together? Someone that can see both sides?

  2. frank stetson

    I love Chicago, the city, and just hate Chicago, the suburbs. And I was raised a “lake man,” and think the Great Lakes are great. Of course, the best is Erie, Chicago’s is just too cold, but it sure is pretty. But in my days frequenting there in the 90’s, I was impressed by how clean the city was as the cabbies lamented the high taxes that made it so, according to them. We often walked the city without any fear. Of course, we were younger, but I often was out there, by myself, late into the night and never gave it a second thought. Of course, I was at the city center, but still….

    I think Joe is forecasting, the poor guy is barely installed in office, but we will see. They certainly have crime and gun issues that are difficult to solve given the surrounding gunnie zones providing easy access to Chicago criminals. In NJ, we have the same problem with gun-free states like Florida with their gun cartels using the iron pipeline to carry illegal alien guns to NJ criminals. Over 80% of NJ crime guns come from across the borders to the State. Florida is the top gun whore State after NY and PA which gives you an idea how ez Florida is. They actually make money on NJ’s pain just as areas around Chicago make money on Chicago’s pain. Until we close down these illegal alien gun shipments, we will never be safe. Florida gun sales with out of State destinations must be stopped.

    Tom, with regard to Chicago GOP being ineffective; as Larry points out, it’s all cities (or the real picture of most cities). Fact is, it’s most population centers and the reasoning is easy to. Democrats are inclusive, Republicans are pretty much exclusively white. Democrats have higher education levels which make cities easier to survive. But most important, Democratic policies tend to favor community, Republicans tend to favor individuals in their polices. And thus, when people congregate, community becomes even more important. You can actually find this trend globally as well.

    Tom, FYI — catch SNL’s opening skit for 4.8.2023 —- priceless.

    • Tom

      Yes the SNL skits are funny, I actually like the one from eight days ago. I think this guy does a better Trump than Baldwin. No doubt about it that Trump sees himself as the last great chance for America whom is being persecuted but will rise again, a messiah complex.

      I think the downward spiral of so many US cities is much more complicated than just “those darn Dems again!”. Reading Pa where I grew up has taken the same trajectory over the past decades as Chicago, Philadelphia, NY, Trenton, L.A.. There seems to be some interesting parallels between many of these cities.

      Here is what I see.

      First of all, there were really three political parties in Reading; Dems, GPOs, and a third silent but powerful party called “The Mob” also known as La Costra Nostra, Mafia Italia, Sicilian Mob, etc. And this third silent powerful party bought members of the other two parties in order to promote their business and social goals. And from the early 1900’s to about 1960 the silent powerful party grew very strong, and grew aside of the two other parties – and they all prospered. Back during these times, the Dems and the GOPs had similar vision, (ideology, values, and policy objectives for Americans), and the main difference was on how to implement their vision. GOP tended to be more business oriented and Dems seem to be more social oriented. And most of us liked that balance. And crime was low, while in Reading the employment picture was great. All was well, sky was the limit!

      Secondly, As we moved into the 1960’s, Kennedy’s attack on organized crime decimated the mob and left a power vacuum in Reading, PA. Now, that silent unmentioned but powerful third party that forced collaboration of the other two parties was gone, and by 1968 the two parties now begin attempts to differentiate themselves to win voters. GOP courted business. Dems courted blue collar workers.

      Thirdly, after the mob was gone and what remained went underground as it did in Reading Pa, the power vacuum was complete by early 1970’s, and the political competition went on steroids, each party trying to be dominant, pretty much saying and doing whatever it took to be the dominant in the grab for voters. And this remains to this day. That unmentioned silent but powerful third party survivors that we called mobsters were no longer able to run shadowy businesses running numbers, peddling tax free booze and prostitution and washing money in laundry mats. But the mobsters did not go away. They shifted to drugs, legal gambling, some prostitution, and got involved with transit businesses, warehousing, education systems, real estate and community development, etc. Mobsters had to make a choice, a business decision, and it seems like they were more able to easily integrate with the Dem party which was going more social and willing to back their legitimate businesses with policies.

      And then came Nixon’s visit to China and the rise of world manufacturing which ate away the manufacturing foundation that American society had been built upon. China is given “most favored nations status” and admitted into the WTO. Japan and Deming kick US manufacturing ass. Many workers displaced and angry about jobs going over seas while investors were making big bucks owing to cheap overseas manufacturing in China, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, etc. South East Asia became the US manufacturer’s new playground. GOP supported it, Dems bitched about it but were also investors, and the unmentioned silent third party survivors grew their unions, power, and subsequent wealth as a response to GOP economic aggression. Reading became a unionized ghost town!!! No longer high paying manufacturing jobs, That is why I got out in 1987.

      Lastly, this legacy continue today. There is no unifying vision in these cities. Parties are more concerned about loyalty and power, and are rather out of touch with their constituencies. Employment in the city is low in many of them with good, solid middle class jobs hard to find. Ghettos always were but now are growing. Taxes are rising, while services are falling, and social programs meant as bridges are now failing and to costly. Crime is high as is citizenry fear. The certainty of the 1950s to 1960’s has turned into uncertainty in the new century.

      So who or what is to blame? Larry thinks its the Dems and their liberal woke approach. What I am saying is that equally responsible is the other party, the GOP who has been absent, and in many cases, totally out of touch with the people, the blue collar folks, and court the wealthy and investor folks with tax laws while passing on the costs to future generations and cuts in critical services.

      So in this Independent’s view, both parties are to blame. And so what I look for is people up and down the ballot that seem to share common vision and values and might just be able to create a unifying vision for We The People!

  3. JPop

    The people of Chicago are the only ones that can turn their town around. They need better candidates.

    • Miles collins

      They need a good republican city council and mayor. Why do they keep electing dumbass communists?