The Corner

Rahm Emanuel Can’t Be Recalled — But Illinois Legislators Want to Change That

Rahm Emanuel’s hot seat may soon get toastier. Via the Associated Press

The furor over recent Chicago police shootings has legislators considering whether voters should be allowed to recall Mayor Rahm Emanuel or future officials who hold his post.

Illinois state law currently addresses only the recall of a governor, a provision voters approved in 2010 after former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested and impeached. Now, state Rep. La Shawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat, wants voters to also have the power to remove the mayor of the country’s third-largest city. . . .

Under Ford’s proposal, two city aldermen would have to sign an affidavit agreeing with a recall petition and organizers must collect more than 88,000 signatures from registered voters in the city. At least 50 signatures must come from each of 50 wards.

The proposal would pre-empt local law, so it needs approval from two-thirds of each chamber of the Illinois Legislature to pass during the session that starts this month. The bill would be effective immediately if signed into law.

Of course, because the bill targets someone currently in office, it would almost certainly face legal challenges.

But in any event, the situation in Chicago is worth watching. Over the past year and a half, Black Lives Matter has had success in focusing media attention on its central grievances (relations between black Americans and law enforcement, primarily), but — unlike the Tea Party, say — it has not exercised any serious political influence, and there is little suggestion that it has the sort of national organization required to do so. Indeed, even though the Democratic presidential candidates have been trained to bark “Black Lives Matter” on the debate stage, they don’t seem to be offering anything more than lip service.

But if Black Lives Matter managed to unseat the Clinton- and Obama-backed mayor of Chicago — well, that would make Democrats across the country take notice.


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