A Dream Delayed


Daniel X. O'Neil

Mayor Rahm Emanuel defeated opponent Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in a historical runoff

In a race of historic proportions, the mayoral election has finally concluded. Despite the results, this is a new beginning for Chicago and its politics, and it’s all thanks to Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. There are a few things that made this election one of the best that millennials have witnessed so far.

The first is the way Garcia entered the race for mayor of Chicago. Six months ago, Garcia wasn’t even a candidate. He began his campaign after Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis dropped out of the elections for health reasons and asked Garcia to run.

Although Garcia has worked in politics for a long time, he didn’t have his goal set on running for mayor; he was chosen. This makes the fact that Garcia made history just that much more special.
Also, as an immigrant who moved to the USA in hopes of a better future, Garcia represented a large population of the city that has done just the same. Despite only campaigning for a short time, Garcia forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel into an unprecedented runoff, the first in the city’s history.

By the time the runoff campaigns began, Emanuel was in the lead due to his financial advantage. The Chicago Tribune reported that Garcia managed to raise $6 million while Emanuel raised over three times that amount, $23.6 million in funds. But despite this huge difference, Garcia managed to give Emanuel a run for his money in the last weeks leading up to the election.
It was as if Chuy’s campaign was for more than the mayor’s seat. It was as if this election served as a way to humble Emanuel’s usually abrasive attitude into understanding that a lot of residents of Chicago are upset at him for the financial crisis of the city and the overall state of affairs, including the closing of over 30 Chicago Public Schools.

Looking beyond the results of the election, Garcia was the voice for a lot of Chicagoans during the campaign for the runoff. Garcia understood that running a city like Chicago means more than running just the pretty downtown area and that there are other neighborhoods in need of investment as well.

So while I am disappointed Garcia didn’t get elected, I hope that this is just the beginning of a movement in politics. As it is becoming more and more known, money is essential in elections. At a time where it seems that the richest can win elections easily, Chuy Garcia opened the door to what is hopefully a new reality. Money is not what will win elections in the future, it will take a “someone.” Perhaps someone who is as passionate and actually from Chicago, like Garcia – someone who wants to make change in the community and more importantly, in the city of Chicago.