Trump may mean third term for Emanuel


Trump may mean third term for Emanuel

By Eric Bradach

Sixteen bullets pumped into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was the turning point for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The police dash-cam footage, released November 2015, turned the man who just won re-election in April 2015 into public enemy number one.

Citywide protests calling for Emanuel’s resignation ensued and his approval ratings plummeted. Sixty-six percent of registered voters disapproved of Emanuel and only 27 percent endorsed him, according to a Feb. 1, 2016 Chicago Tribune article.

This video also came out as the Black Lives Matter movement was gaining momentum with the police shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio. 

However, the mayor had a potential savior in the presidential election, reality star turned president Donald Trump.

During his campaign, and continuing into his presidency, Trump dominated media headlines with his derogatory comments toward Hispanics and Muslims but, most notably to Emanuel, Chicago.

These attacks hand Emanuel the opportunity for a possible third term, and he has positioned himself as a defender of the city in the battle against Trump.

Emanuel insists Chicago will remain a sanctuary city, despite a Trump executive order to deny cities federal funding if they do not comply with immigration laws, according to a Jan. 25 DNAinfo article.

In response, Emanuel has championed the U.S. as a nation of immigrants. To show his sympathy, he hosted six local “Dreamers”—noncitizens who are protected from deportation—for dinner at his house in Ravenswood, according to a Jan. 31 Chicago Tribune article. 

The need for federal intervention in Chicago to halt the murder rate is emerging as a Trump administration theme, and its latest pronouncement came via Trump’s communication channel of choice—Twitter.  

“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings [up 24% from 2016], I will send in the Feds!” Trump tweeted Jan. 24.

There is no question Trump gives Emanuel an opportunity to be the local hero who opposes him. No doubt his motives are in question. Does the mayor sincerely care about defending immigrants? Or is he playing politics? It seems like a little of both.

Having covered protests voicing disapproval of both Trump and Emanuel, I see a similar dynamic: A sizable share of the city does not want to see a third term for Emanuel and will never accept Trump.

Emanuel has positioned himself for better approval ratings than he had after the McDonald controversy. However, odds are he’ll be in a fierce rematch in 2019 with Chuy Garcia, according to a Jan. 26 Chicago Sun-Times article.

Fortunately for Emanuel, Trump will likely occupy the headlines until then.