Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Opinion

A Warning From Chicago for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats

Mr. Emanuel’s résumé, political connections, money and even campaign events with President Obama could not get him to 50 percent of the vote, the figure needed to avoid a runoff, in the first round of Chicago’s nonpartisan electoral system last month. There are many possible explanations of this: Mr. Emanuel’s combative personal and political style, racial politics in Chicago or his decisions to, among other things, close 50 schools that had heavily African-American and Latino student bodies. However, a more accurate and parsimonious explanation for Mr. Emanuel’s failure to win in the first round is that he was too conservative for a left-of-center urban electorate like the one in Chicago. This dynamic cannot be too unfamiliar for anybody that can remember the collapse of Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign, in the face of a challenge from the left, in 2013. Although Andrew Cuomo withstood a primary challenge last fall, the narrow margin by which he defeated Zephyr Teachout, who challenged him from the left, despite an enormous fundraising advantage, is also similar.

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