Government Watch / Politics

The Tragicomedy of Lori Lightfoot

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris


On Tuesday, Lori Lightfoot became the first Chicago mayor in more than 40 years to lose reelection, finishing in third place in a nine-candidate field. After attracting fawning mainstream media coverage in 2019 for being the first Black woman and first openly gay person to lead the nation’s third largest city – as well as for her outspoken opposition to former President Donald Trump – Lightfoot’s tenure was marred by numerous scandals, rampant government incompetence, and soaring violent crime that ultimately left her on the receiving end of voters’ ire.

Lightfoot’s ouster represents a stunning fall from grace for a candidate who won all 50 wards four years ago. After securing nearly 74 percent of the vote in the 2019 general election, many observers assumed Lightfoot would cruise to another easy victory this year. However, the 60-year-old Ohio native fell nearly 17,000 votes short of the second-place finisher, Cook County Board member Brandon Johnson, who received 20.3 percent of the overall ballots cast.

The top vote-getter at 33.8 percent was Paul Vallas, a former public school executive who notably expressed more conservative views on policing and made public safety a central pillar of his campaign. Vallas and Johnson will face off in an April 4 runoff.

Lightfoot initially appeared to be an ascendant figure within the Democratic Party ahead of her election as mayor in 2019. As a Black LGBTQ woman, she was a natural fit for a Democrat Party obsessed with identity politics. The former federal prosecutor was also a vehement critic of Donald Trump, variously publicly blaming the former President for mass shootings, saying that “racism is part of who he is,” accusing Trump of “not respecting the law,” and even lobbing a coded F-bomb at the president during a press conference.

But cable news pot shots don’t govern cities, and signs soon emerged that Lightfoot was far from the visionary leader the media and Democratic establishment billed her as. Soon after taking office, Lightfoot found herself in a spat with the powerful Chicago Teachers Union that left parents frustrated and teachers feeling slighted.

Lightfoot’s leadership failures continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the city imposed some of the strictest lockdowns anywhere in the country. In April 2020, Lightfoot was caught violating her own quarantine rules to get a haircut. Instead of apologizing, Lightfoot defended the decision with perhaps the most tone-deaf response imaginable, saying that she “takes her hygiene very seriously,” and is “the public face of this city,” so the rules don’t apply to her. The comments drew sharp rebukes from residents and other city leaders, including many fellow Democrats.

At the same time, schools in Chicago remained closed longer than almost anywhere else in the country. As late as the spring of 2022, many schools were still shut down. In October 2021, the mayor’s office also sued the Fraternal Order of Police over its opposition to the city’s vaccine policy, which required that all public officials report their vaccination status. Chicago did not remove all mask and vaccine mandates for private businesses until February 2022.

Lightfoot’s tenure has also been marred by a number of other damaging and sometimes bizarre incidents that likely left voters questioning her fitness for office.

In June 2021, for example, Lightfoot came under fire for sending a deranged email berating a staffer for not blocking off enough “office time” in her daily schedule. (City Hall has reportedly struggled to retain staff throughout Lightfoot’s tenure.) In another Zoom rant revealed as part of a lawsuit against her, Lightfoot allegedly screamed at a city lawyer that she has the “biggest d*** in Chicago” and questioned his credentials. A cringe-worthy campaign ad from November of last year that features Lightfoot rapping about her supposed successes drew head scratches from both sides of the political aisle.

But it was rising violent crime in Chicago that ultimately sparked the most pushback to Lightfoot’s agenda and sealed her fate in Tuesday’s election. Following anti-police protests and widespread rioting that broke out in the wake of the death of George Floyd in 2020, Lightfoot pledged to cut $80 million from the police budget and further embraced the radical Defund the Police movement. When a city alderman questioned her response to the riots, Lightfoot told him that he was “full of s***.”

Lightfoot’s policies predictably led to a surge in violent crime throughout Chicago. 2021 marked a 20-year high in murders in the city, forcing Lightfoot to plead with the federal government to send more resources after she gutted her own police department. While homicides dipped slightly in 2022, other crimes like armed robbery and carjackings continued to rise. 

With public backlash mounting, Lightfoot desperately attempted an about-face at the end of her campaign, hypocritically accusing Johnson of wanting to “cut your police” and appearing at several campaign events with police leaders by her side. But it was too late, and the move only served to alienate progressive voters.

However, despite the clear rejection of Lightfoot’s failures as mayor, there are some signs that Chicagoans may not yet be done with her failed brand of politics. Though the first-place finisher in Tuesday’s contest, Paul Vallas, has earned the endorsement of local police unions and promised to clean up crime, second-place finisher Brandon Johnson is a progressive Democrat in the mold of Lightfoot. Assuming those who voted for Lightfoot and 4th-place finisher Jesús G. García, a far-left U.S. House member, cast their votes for the more liberal Johnson in the runoff, the Windy City may yet again find itself under the control of a far-left Democrat.

Moreover, Chicagoans still have a radical left-wing governor, J.B Pritzker, and Cook County State Attorney, Kim Foxx, who have played a perhaps even greater role in turning the city into a dystopian nightmare. Until voters reject progressive ideology wholesale, and not just one eccentric adherent to it, Chicago will likely continue to suffer.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_.

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2 months ago

I’ll only believe that Chicagoans are serious about changing things when they elect a real hard ass mayor that will stomp out the violence by any means necessary and rid the place of woke-ism. Until then, you’re just full of it.

2 months ago

Just more proof that you shouldn’t vote for someone simply because they are a certain, race, sex or sexual orientation. This is the media’s fault as well. Of course, then you have the current administration break the law and publicly state that the VP of the US candidate would only be a woman of color. How did that illegal move get through? Oh yeah, because the media is now an arm of the democratic party. Imagine publicly saying that the only white males will be candidates for VP of the US.?.? The media would be screaming from the rooftops and pushing whatever charges they could muster.

Randall L. Beatty
2 months ago

She was never tough on crime about time they got smart and she is out she plays the race card like many that cannot except there loss. She should have been gone many years ago they need to get tough on crime to many have died there time to say enough is enough.

Marie Langley
2 months ago

Why are these woke liberals so arrogant and never think anything is their own doing? She blames her losing on racism. Such a common word now people are almost numb to it. See ya Lori! I hope we never hear from you again!!!!

Dan W.
2 months ago
Reply to  Marie Langley

The Dems say that their losses are someone else’s fault, we say that we lost because the elections were rigged. Poor losers all around.

The Old Crab
2 months ago

“Until voters reject progressive ideology wholesale, and not just one eccentric adherent to it, Chicago will likely continue to suffer.”


IMHO, until voters demand laws that support election integrity such that every vote counts, Chicago (and other democrat-controlled strongholds, be they states or cities) will likely continue to suffer.

The way things are now, once the dems get in, they can cheat their way to continual control through manipulating the loopholes and failures of current voting law.

Just sayin …

2 months ago

Chico go deserves every turd ???? it produces!

Larry Hill
2 months ago

The worst Governor in American history.

2 months ago

Lori Lightfoot is the poster child for the Democrat Party. She is ugly inside and out. She is the epitome of identity politics. Democrats are more interested in the bazaar, and weird than they are in effective governance. They make decisions based on feelings and emotions that are not close to being right. Facts only matter if they have been “narrative approved”. I have lost faith in the Leftist, Elitist, totalitarian Democrat Party. If there is anything evil, destructive, coercive, anti-God, anti-USA and incompetent they seek after those things. Their level of Group Think is astounding. They are like lemmings running to jump off the cliff, but they insist you go with them.

2 months ago

The people of Chicago should look at New York City and Eric Adams ..In his campaign he vowed to be tough on crime and has done the opposite,vote for the other guy!!!!!

2 months ago

I don’t know how these losers ever get elected in the first place, Biden is another example whom I definitely didn’t vote for.

Joe Bidone
2 months ago

So the racist bigot is finally done

Donald King
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe Bidone

Don’t count on it. As far left rinky-dink as her mindset is, the current administration in Washington may still come up with a dream-job position to place her in.

2 months ago

She came from OHIO??? I’M SO EMBARRASSED! My only solace is that she isn’t here anymore!

Carl S
2 months ago
Reply to  Sue

I didn’t realize she was from Ohio. But she graduated from Michigan, which makes two of us, not embarrassed, but should be ashamed. Evidently a higher education doesn’t work for everyone. But as the one writer said above, I’m sure she’s destined for bigger and better things in the Biden administration. That”s if there aren’t too many stairs, and their not too steep, for her to climb.

2 months ago
Reply to  Carl S

If you look at the clown show that makes up the Biden administration, miss beetle juice should fit right in.

2 months ago
Reply to  Sue

Banish her to California ! She can carry water for Newsome

2 months ago

TYPICAL, TYPICAL liberal crying when they don’t get their own way. “It’s not my fault, everyone is racist, It’s racist whites” etc., etc., etc.. I never knew of a liberal who could admit defeat and take it like a real adult – not sulk like a child and blame the world for their own shortcomings. Lightfoot couldn’t run a Bingo game and she is the only person to blame for that. With any luck, Chicago will elect a mayor who will start cleaning house and bring back some semblance of order to the Windy City – but if it’s another DemocRAT, I highly doubt it.

Dan W.
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

No Republicans ran. All nine candidates were Dems.

2 months ago

The winner of the run-off will be the one who can cheat the most.

David Millikan
2 months ago

The next Mayor of Chicago will be as big as a LOSER as Mayor KAREN Lightfoot.
I’m willing to bet that the next Mayor of Chicago will have even higher crime rates and will have the Police force protecting only the new Mayors home while crime continues to run rampant.
Watch and see.

2 months ago

Good riddance, not only incompetent, but bigoted, corrupt and flat out evil.

2 months ago

We will continue to get the Lightfoot types as long as people continue voting based on race, gender and sexual preferences. It’s time we vote based on qualification.

2 months ago
Reply to  Phyl

Not just qualification but also character.

Donald King
2 months ago
Reply to  rifleman7

She may not posses any character, but she certainly is a character. But then, show me any progressive party member who isn’t.

2 months ago

Two for two, Mayor Bozo, and VP Bozo, good picking by the demondrats…

2 months ago

Left that city and state over a year ago and will never look back. Haven’t been happier!!

Fred Noel
2 months ago
Reply to  Barb

Just like the Obama’s and Oprah Winfrey.

Ed J
2 months ago

The Idiots of Chicago elected an inmate to run their asylum. Fortunately, enough voters woke (no not “woke ideology”) up in time to end the reign of this totally incompetent person. Even a homeless person off the street would make a better mayor than Lightfoot (or is that Litefoot?).

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