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Supporters of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. for mayor of Chicago in 2007 have engaged a comprehensive ballot strategy for building what they call a Black-Brown Base Coalition which would weld African American and Hispanic voters into a democratic striking force that would (a) link the two groups similar to how they were during the Harold Washington era to pursue unified goals and (b) enhance ethnic solidarity within the city that would improve the climate for civic, social and economic polity.
To do so, the strategy calls for a joint cooperation from leaders of both groups on the campaign to elect Joy Cunningham for Appellate Court Justice in 2006. Cunningham is an African-American woman, married with one child, currently senior vice president and general counsel for Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She is a former Cook county Circuit Judge, assistant state Attorney General and Appellate Court Clerk. Despite these outstanding credentials, she was not slated by the Democratic party slate-making mechanism headed by Alderman Edward Burke.
The ballot strategy test points out that major issue of concern to Chicagoans, the desire for change in City Hall and the most likely agents for that change are all brought to bear in the Cunningham campaign. Support of Rep. Jackson, Rep. [Luis} Gutierrez and Sen. [James] Meeks brings mayoral speculation into play. Cunningham is running against three white candidates which in itself is a microcosm of the 1983 mayor campaign won by Harold Washington. The strategy paper sets as a test the question: Can Cunningham win by uniting African-Americans and Hispanics? If so, can she win a majority or just a plurality as Washington did?
Proposed billboards have been prepared showing Cunningham joined by Rep. Jackson and Rep. Gutierrez and Rep. Jackson and Sen. Meeks with the slogan Joy Virginia CUNNINGHAM for Appellate Court: Honesty and Integrity Fairness and Experience www.JoyCunningham.org
The rationale in the strategy paper says that U.S. Senator Barack Obama, Rep. Jackson and Rep. Gutierrez are talking about corruption. No white elected officials in Chicago have talked about corruption. Jackson and Gutierrez have emerged as potential mayoral challengers in 2007.
There is not a single white mayoral hopeful who has emerged or been suggested publicly. In 1983 Harold Washilngton won the mayoralty by uniting African-Americans and Hispanics in a Black-Brown coalition.
Election laws in 1983 only required a plurality for victoryWashington won with 37 percent, [Mayor Jane] Byrne got 33 percent and [Richard] Daley had 30 percent.
Today a majority is needed to win the mayoralty. A runoff would have been forced in 1983. Byrne and Daley supporters would have united and defeated Washingtons coalition. Similar dynamics exist today.
The strategy says, Blacks and whites have similar numbers in Chicago. If blacks and whites coalesce in opposition to one another, Hispanics become the swing vote. The top three issues to Chicago voters are education and schools, corruption and waste and crime and drugs.
Mayor Daley is very strong but vulnerable.
The document contains a breakdown of ethnic voting strength and other observations.