By Lenny Brody
National Steering Committee member, Justice Party
The race for Congress in Chicago’s 4th Congressional District is on. Congressman Luis Gutierrez announced he will not run for re-election. He has anointed Chuy Garcia as his choice to succeed him. In the recent Chicago mayor’s race, Gutierrez supported Rahm Emanuel over Chuy Garcia. So what gives? Those on the ground in Chicago know this maneuver was orchestrated to get Garcia out of the 2019 race for mayor and clear the way for Emanuel. As soon as Garcia announced his candidacy for Congress, Bernie Sanders endorsed him.
It is unclear what Sanders knows about the Chicago situation. However, in the face of this sellout to the corporate Dems, Chicago’s most popular, progressive elected official, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, has stepped up to carry the political revolution forward. Rosa has announced his candidacy for Congress in the 4th CD.
While Garcia is relying on the established Democratic Party politicians, there has been an eruption of grassroots support for Rosa. Hundreds of volunteers are collecting thousands of signatures for Rosa. Supposed progressive organizations in Chicago that are leaning toward Garcia are finding their members flocking to Rosa’s campaign.
Establishment politicians and the media are trying to paint this race as an “embarrassment of riches” with two progressives running. But in reality a battle of a different kind is shaping up. Those who have been forced to fight because of the poverty growing in the U.S., because of the rise of right-wing politics, and because of the energy of the Sanders campaign, are not fooled by this Gutierrez-Garcia alliance. This battle has the potential to become a war for the soul of Chicago and perhaps this country. Activists in the electoral arena are facing a clear choice: Do we stick with the corrupt back room wheeling and dealing of the Democratic Party or do we stake out an independent truly progressive stance.