Brandon Johnson, Chicago’s incoming mayor, has emerged as the new hope of far-Left progressives. “Let’s take this bold progressive movement around these United States of America,” Johnson said in his victory speech earlier this month.
Yet, Johnson is already dealing with P.R. problems. He has yet to take office as Chicago mayor, and he’s already hiding from the press.
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On Friday and Saturday, Chicago dealt with chaotic scenes of vandalism and violence, with two teenagers injured by gunshots. The city was still reeling from another shooting the previous day, with another teenager sustaining a gunshot wound in the leg. The Windy City was reportedly hosting a “teen trend” meetup, a gathering for teenagers with limited space to socialize outside the internet.
In response to the shootings, Johnson released a 100-words statement. He used 28 words to condemn the shooting, and he used the rest of the statement to dismiss concerns and promote his own platform.
“In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities,” Johnson said in a statement Sunday.
“Our city must work together to create spaces for youth to gather safely and responsibly, under adult guidance and supervision, to ensure that every part of our city remains welcome for both residents and visitors. This is one aspect of my comprehensive approach to improve public safety and make Chicago livable for everyone.”
Even Lori Lightfoot, the current mayor, managed to sound more sympathetic! “I appreciate the individuals and business people who have reached out to me to express concerns,” Lightfoot said in her statement.
Johnson has been hiding from the press ever since his anemic, equivocal statement. The mayor-elect isn’t planning to take any questions at all on Monday, according to a reporter from NBC5 Chicago.
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Still, Johnson saw an old video go viral after the events of the weekend.
Take a look —
The new mayor of Chicago justifying looting, rioting, and defund the police: pic.twitter.com/NjqeKVzJfP
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) April 9, 2023
As of now @Brandon4Chicago has no plans to take questions from the media today. He is meeting with business leaders.
— Mary Ann Ahern (@MaryAnnAhernNBC) April 17, 2023
Some far-Left progressives were disappointed by last year’s midterm elections. The Democratic Socialists of America, a nonprofit, did not send anyone new to Congress last year.
After this failure, some organizers started focusing on local races, instead of state or federal contests.
The focus on lower-level contests already has helped progressives gain power and influence policy at a local level, organizers say, shaping issues such as the minimum wage. It also may help the movement find future stars, with today’s city and county officials becoming tomorrow’s breakout members of Congress and only moving further up the political ladder.
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“Progressives have taken a look at how to be strategic and how to build power,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants who was a leading national voice for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ’ 2016 and 2020 presidential bids. “If you look around and you say, ‘Who is ready to run for president?’ If your field is shallow, what do you have to do? You’ve got to build the bench.”
Yet, Johnson is remaining silent amid his P.R. problems, before even taking office as mayor. He may not be the one to fill the bench or “take this bold progressive movement around these United States.”
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.