In a stunning upset, Brandon Johnson, a far-left progressive candidate with a platform to defund the Chicago police and raise taxes, has won the mayoral runoff election in Chicago. Johnson was behind for most of the night, trailing moderate Democrat Paul Vallas, who ran as a business-friendly, law-and-order candidate. However, Johnson took the lead around 8 p.m. and held on to it for the rest of the night. The election was a close call, with over 500,000 Chicagoans casting their ballots for mayor.
During the campaigns, Johnson accused Vallas of being a racist and a closeted Republican. Vallas ended up receiving support from the Chicago police union while Johnson received the backing of the Chicago Teachers Union, and was endorsed by democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.
Johnson’s platform included a promise to defund the Chicago police and to increase taxes to fund education and social programs. He argued that the police were responsible for the city’s high crime rates, and that reallocating funds from the police to other areas would reduce crime and improve public safety. Vallas campaigned on a strong message of of law and order, and emphasized the importance of maintaining a robust police presence in the city.
The election outcome reflects a growing trend in American politics, where progressive candidates are gaining momentum and challenging more established, moderate Democrats. Johnson’s victory may be seen as a sign that the Democratic Party is moving to the left, and that voters are increasingly receptive to progressive policies. But if Lori Lightfoot was seen as failure by Chicagoans for her failure to control crime then Johnson policies may be a step further in the wrong direction.
Chicago could be headed for even darker days under Johnson’s defund the police policies. Additionally, raising taxes could be catastrophic to small business owners who already feel targeted from the COVID restrictions which hit them so hard.