(Photo courtesy of The Daily Beast)

Maze Jackson

If the 2019 Mayoral Election proves one thing, it is that the mythological Cook County Democratic Machine is either non-existent or a mere shadow of its former self.  One only need to look at the 2019 Chicago Mayoral Election for proof.   In what “Machine” scenario under say a Mayor Richard J. Daley, would the CHAIRMAN OF THE COOK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY lose ALL 50 WARDS and only win 20 precincts out of 2069!?!?!?  Under what “Machine” scenario would a Democratic Committeeman be able to have any respect if they could not persuade their voters to vote the “right” way?  Under what “Machine” scenario would Democratic Committeemen be able to endorse any candidate other than the Chairman of the Party for the highest seat in the land?

(Election map courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

You see, this race wasn’t for the local school council (although those races are very important), this was for the crown jewel, the highest seat in the land, the most coveted position in Chicago politics…MAYOR OF CHICAGO, GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD!  And yet, there was Madame President Toni Preckwinkle, Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, in that exact scenario.  She was out of money, off of TV, and on political life support against a relative unknown, a former employee, who had come back for a hostile takeover of the City she had once worked for.  And instead of having the so-called “Machine” to rely on, she was left to work with a few political warlords, celebrity rappers, black businessmen, complete with an inexperienced staff who had never been battle tested. 

The Lightfoot political operation was in the smartphone world.

Meanwhile, Toni’s former White progressive allies were rushing to the assist the insurgent Lightfoot, showering her with cash, resources, and the “Machine” remnants and gears hoping to rebuild a new type of machine, a smartphone type of machine.  Think of it like the progression from typewriters to technology, from analog to digital, from snail mail to email, with all the iterations in between.  Lori’s team was thinking and planning in the smartphone era, while Toni Preckwinkle’s team thought they were innovating with Harold Washington Campaign 2.0.  Team Preckwinkle was insistent on selling the Black community a word processor even though all of us had smartphones in our pockets.  In the smartphone era, credit and debit card run the “Machine” and Toni had neither with  Black People.

The current Black political machine in Chicago is like the word processor…out of date!

But back to the so-called “Machine” Black People have been programmed to fear.  That so-called “machine” that is the convenient vehicle for White People to use Black People to get what they politically want when it’s convenient.  Be “loyal” Democrats when we want to raise and spend millions to take out a “disloyal” Ken Dunkin, but won’t raise $500K to help the Cook County Democratic Party Chairman win the mayor’s race.  Be “loyal” Democrats when it’s time to slate the type of judges that get Jason Van Dyke home in 3 years, but stand by idly and watch as local police chiefs that they govern attack Kim Foxx.  The so-called “machine” demands loyalty when it’s time for fear, respect, money, jobs, and contracts to be given to White Men with the most money and lowest voter turnouts.  That’s the “Machine” that Black People have.

In the meantime, not one of the White so-called Machine bosses carried their wards for Toni Preckwinkle. As a matter of fact, none of them carried ONE PRECINCT for her and she is THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COOK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY!  That’s not “Machine” or “Boss!” That’s just straight bull, but that’s what you get using a word processor in the smartphone era like Black People seem to keep doing.

(Black Terminator courtesy of Teves Design Studio)

It’s time for Black People to leave the word processors behind and build our own new machine, and I’m not talking about a smartphone either.  I’m talking about building the Black Political Terminator, an artificial intelligence driven robot that destroys anything that gets in the way of building Black political power.  It’s time to junk our political word processors and prepare for a new day in Black politics! It’s time we get our own voter database and contact system, it’s time we train and create our own precinct captain, build our own bench, and elect Black politicians that are Black FIRST! It’s time to go from victims to victors!



(Now I recognize that some of you may not get the similes, metaphors, and analogies contained herein, which actually proves my point.)


by Maze Jackson

The debacle Progressive turned Back Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle should be a lesson to Black politicians and Black voters alike. If you pay attention to the White and LGBTQ+ Democratic Committeemen and elected officials who ARE NOT openly supporting Black Woman President Preckwinkle even though she openly courted and supported them and their progressive label, you will understand why we have to think BLACK FIRST politically.

I expressly remember hearing Progressive President Preckwinkle on FB Live pushing Debra Shore, a White LGBTQ+ Woman candidate over Commissioner Kari K. Steele, a Black Woman, for the historic opportunity to become the first Black Woman President of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

At issue was newly elected Commissioner Kimberly Neely DuBuclet, a Black woman, and how she would vote for President of the MWRD. At stake was the opportunity to elect the first Black Woman or the first White LGBTQ+ Woman president of the MWRD. When given the choice between the two, Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle, most likely thinking ahead to the Mayor’s race, assumed she had Black support and threw all of her weight behind the White LGBTQ+Woman Shore.

Not only did Progressive President Preckwinkle push the Black Commissioner DuBuclet to support the White LGBTQ+ Woman Shore against AGAINST Black Commissioner Steele, she even bragged on social media about how she employed White Irish U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Jewish American U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Progressive Third Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, and Progressive Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston to pressure DuBuclet to vote AGAINST the Black Woman Steele FOR the White LGBTQ+ Woman Shore.

I also remember my outrage when I found out a group of White North Side Democratic Committeemen had the audacity to call the Black Woman Commissioner DuBuclet, threatening that she’d better vote for the White LGBTQ+ Woman Shore over the Black Woman Steele or they would attempt to un-slate her in the next election cycle. It appeared that they were already basking in the political returns their support of Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle as Progressive Mayor AND Progressive President of the Cook County Democratic Party would bring when combined with their Progressive White Lakeshore Northside liberal privilege.

It was smart business, but those same Progressive White and LGBTQ+ elected officials were unable to handle their business when they failed deliver their PROGRESSIVE constituents to the now apparently Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle.

On Election Night, not only did the Progressive White Lakeshore Northside Committeemen not win their own wards for the now Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle, many of those same Progressive White and LGBTQ+ elected officials didn’t even win their own precincts for Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle.

And to top it off, the then Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle lost almost every Black Ward, making her a 2nd place finisher to the newly crowned White People’s Progressive Black Woman Lori Lightfoot. Initially considered an also ran in a 14-way race, Lightfoot embarassed Preckwinkle, reducing her to the Black Woman Machine President Preckwinkle in her once coveted Lakeshore liberals.

That night, the now Black Woman Machine President Toni Preckwinkle learned the hard way that the Progressive White People had chosen themselves a new Progressive Black Woman, and she was out. The Jay Z song calls it “Still OJ,” which for those of you unfamiliar with the urban legend, is polite talk for “still a N**GA!”

Now those same big time White and LGBTQ+ elected officials that the once Progressive now Black Woman Machine President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle fought so hard for are either now endorsing their “new” Black Woman Progressive Lori Lightfoot- some publicly, others cutting deals behind the scenes, or they’ve just become extremely quiet. Just think, Progressive President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle encouraged the Black community to stick with Governor JB Pritzker even after his infamous secret recordings, discrimination issues, and black face controversy, and he’s staying neutral. Ouch…OJ!

Where is the White LGBTQ+ Woman Debra Shore that she fought so hard for? Shouldn’t she be Black Woman President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle’s biggest standard bearer in the LGBTQ+ community? Shouldn’t she be standing up for Black Woman President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle against all the homophobic allegations? Where is she now? Probably hiding, because campaigning for Toni in her community is like bringing OJ to the Goldman’s family reunion. It’s not going to happen!

Why aren’t those White Democratic Committeemen rallying their troops to turn out the vote for Black Woman President Toni Preckwinkle? Because they don’t have troops and they don’t turn out the vote, they ride the wave and wave is against Toni in their wards. But what about Democratic loyalty to the President of the Cook County Democratic Party? Do you know any White People that feel like they need to be loyal to OJ? Exactly!

Because just like then-Progressive President Toni Preckwinkle before her “OJ moment,” White Democrats prioritize a relationship with the LGBTQ+ community over a relationship with the Black community…until they need to use us to get what they want.

Like President Toni “OJ” Preckwinkle does now.


The “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide 2.0

Maze Jackson

Bolingbrook and Calumet City Show Contrast in How White Mayors Deal with Black Voters

With the April 4th, 2017 Suburban Municipal Elections upon us, I have been bombarded with questions about who to vote for. The suburban municipal elections are of interest and more importance to the Black community, particularly because Blacks are increasingly choosing the South and West Suburbs as safe havens, IF they choose to remain in Illinois. Recent reports that Chicago lost more population than any big city in the country only affirm, what most Black People know, We are leaving the city.

Combine that with the fact that the traditional Democratic alliance with Blacks is being skewed by an over-emphasis on the growing Latino population, which leave Blacks in the suburbs in a quandary. Support the existing governments or create a new paradigm? And while the Democratic Party would have Black People think the answer is simple, just vote D, in suburban elections the answer is more complex.

Bolingbrook Mayor Claar has a reputation of being moderate, inclusive, and friendly to Black business, but he faces a challenge from Democrats hoping to hold a Trump fundraiser against him. The question is will Bolingbrook residents want the same people who messed up Cook County running their Village?

Take for example my hometown Bolingbrook, IL, located about 35 miles south of Chicago off of Route 55, where 31 year incumbent Mayor Roger Claar finds himself facing an unprecedented challenge from Will County Board Member Jackie Traynere. Once an unknown village that we called “Boringbrook” growing up, with a population of 40,000, it has grown to over 70,000 residents and a retail/restaurant mecca in the suburbs. A tremendous amount of that growth comes from Black Chicagoans seeking a better life for their families. Democrats, recognizing the tremendous number of Black voters with Democratic leanings hope to use their challenger, some mailers featuring Barack Obama, and the Black community’s propensity to vote to automatically vote Democratic to steal a victory from Claar.

Claar, a moderate Republican who has learned to use Bolingbrook’s diversity as an opportunity to build a strong community has done well by the Blacks who live there. You’re as likely to see Claar at Coop’s Den as you are a BHS Raider Basketball game. Through the years, Claar has managed to build an inclusive government, from Deputy Mayor Leroy Brown, Sr. to Village Trustee Sheldon Watts while creating a haven for Black businesses to succeed.

While Cook County Democrats hope to use a Claar fundraiser for Donald Trump as the reason to elect their candidate, Black Bolingbrook residents would be wise to remember that the same people supporting Claar’s opponent supported a water tax, a beer tax, and a bag tax, while Claar ended the vehicle sticker tax. The Bolingbrook First slate is recommended, because until they can get it together in Chicago, Cook County politicians need to stay home.

  • Roger C. Claar- Mayor
  • Carol S. Penning- Village Clerk
  • Michael T. Lawler
  • Sheldon L. Watts
  • Maria A. Zarate

Calumet City

In contrast to the mayor’s race in Bolingbrook, Mayor Michelle Qualkinbush has taken to dividing people in an effort to defeat what would be the first Black Mayor of Calumet City. After former Black Alderman and State Representative Thaddeus Jones lost his bid to remain on the ballot, Qualkinbush, feeling confident chose to undermine the candidacy of Black City Clerk Nyota Figgs in the primary. After Figgs soundly defeated her opponent, she successfully convinced her challenger to withdraw from the general election, leaving her unopposed in the general election.

City Clerk Nyota Figgs may have decided to  throw her support behind Qualkinbush challenger Larry Young, which could be the deciding factor in ejecting Qualkinbush, who draws most of her support from Calumet City workers who no longer reside in Calumet City. Figgs who was once seen as a potential mayoral candidate may have set her sights on a new target, vulnerable State Rep. Jones’ House seat.

Meanwhile, as the race has tightened, Qualkinbush has taken to mudslinging with obvious racial overtones. As Calumet City has become a majority Black city, it can no longer be led by a mayor that seeks to exploit Black racial stereotypes to destroy the character of her opponent.  We recommend the following candidates in Calumet City.

  • Larry Young- Mayor
  • Nyota Figgs- City Clerk
  • Rene Chandler- Treasurer
  • Gina Young- 2nd Ward Alderman
  • Anthony Smith- 7th Ward Alderman

Aurora-  What many people don’t reaalize is that the City of Aurora has quietly become the 2nd largest city in Illinois, and after 11 years, former Mayor Tom Weisner abruptly stepped down after announcing a battle with cancer.  Democrats were left in a precarious position after Madigan backed State Representative Linda Chapa Lavia finished third in in a five way primary, leaving Black war veteran, and 3 term city councilman Richard Irvin to face Rick Guzman in a runoff.  As the mayor of the 2nd largest city in Illinois, Richard Irvin would increase Black influence and political power in Illinois.  Richard Irvin is endorsed regardless of any party affiliation.

While there appear to be four candidates in the race to replace outgoing Mayor David Webb, only Perry Browley seems to have a chance to win.  Browley’s opponents include a convicted felon who could not be sworn even if he won, and two write-in candidacies which are next to impossible campaigns to win.

For years Robbins has been mired in a mix of bad politics, disinvestment, and just bad luck.  After years under Dr. Irene Brody, the citizens elected new leadership that seemed to continue their old ways.  But even as things continued to get worse for Robbins, a group of young people, born and raised decided to take things into their own hands during the last election cycle, getting elected as trustees and to other positions, and making preparations to lead.  Their time is now.  In the Robbins election, we recommend the following candidates:

  • David R. Dyson- Mayor
  • Ila Davis- Clerk
  • Darren Bryant- Trustee
  • Gregory N. Jackson- Trustee
  • Danny E. Johnson
  • Bobby D. Murphy

Proviso Township

If you live in Proviso Township, then you know how important the race for the Proviso School Board is, and the parents were concerned that the board members were more concerned about budget than the outcomes for the kids.  Because of the large amount omoney at stake, we fully expect that  all the local powers that be will be heavily involved in the race, giving the little guy a limited chance of winning, but their efforts should be commended.  Every vote for Proviso Together sends a message to career politicians that the people want their government back.  We recommend:

  • Samuel Valtierrez
  • Amanda Grant
  • Arbdella “Della” Patterson
  • Rodney Alexander


After a term limits battle that seems oddly similar to what happened in Calumet City, the incumbent Mayor was forced out of office, giving Broadview the opportunity to elect the first Black woman as it’s mayor.  While there are two women in the race, we are recommending current Village Clerk Maxine Johnson as our pick for Mayor, because of her institutional knowledge.  Our Broadview recommendations include:

  • Debra Gillespie- Clerk
  • Norlander Young- Trustee
  • Sandra Taylor- Trustee
  • Craig Flowers

As the competition for resource gets greater between the Black and Latino community, political tensions between the groups are increasing, even as calls for a Black Brown coalition grow more urgent in the Trump era.  The “What’s in it for the Black People?” Voter’s Guide is really a look at who Black should consider voting for in their own best interests.  Understanding that, if you are Black and reside in Hanover Park, please vote for Eira Corral Sepulveda for Village Clerk.

That’s it for this and remember, your vote is your choice, but if you need some help in deciding on a candidate and your only choice is Democrat or Republican, consider using this list if “What’s in it for the Black People?” is something that would help you make the decision.

(You  can print this document and take it into the polling place with you!)

White People Don’t Tell Me What Black People I Can Talk To!


Maze Jackson

Just the other day I had the opportunity to attend a high-profile political event and it was interesting to say the least.  All the political big wigs were in the room and based on how some of them were looking at is me, it was apparent that someone had told them what “Maze Said.”

“Good!” I quietly said, “hopefully someone will do something about it!” I thought to myself.  I was optimistic until I approached an old friend to take a picture and he said, “I love what you do, don’t stop, but I can’t take a picture with you…I might get in trouble!?!?”

Trouble?!?!  I thought to myself… for what, better yet from who?  So I asked him had I lied about anything?  Perhaps I was spreading some misinformation?!?! Nope he assured me that I had told the truth, which further baffled me!  Why would he be scared to take a picture with me for telling the truth about what is being done to our people?

Taking that one step further, why was he more scared of this mythological figure outside of our community, than the people he was elected to represent?  That was a pretty disconcerting thought, that he was more fearful of a white guy from another neighborhood than the people  he lives among that elected him to represent their issues!  How does that work out for Black people?  Not very well as we can see by Black participation levels in state business.

Well here’s the deal…there are a lot of us that are tired of being scared and have decided that no white man who ain’t never loved us will decide which Black people BLACK people get to talk to!  And to the Black people who let white people pick your friends…just know you are not special.  Get out line…tell too much truth and the same white people will be telling our people they are in trouble for talking to you!

White people don’t tell me who I can talk to, and if they do you have to ask yourself why?!?

And if you don’t like it you can tell them Maze Said!

What’s in It for the Black People?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR BLACK PEOPLE? This question is the litmus test through which we as BLACK people must view every aspect of our collective lives, if we want to thrive in this country. To change the game, we must be dispassionate to the needs of those outside of the BLACK community until they can satisfactorily answer the question, WHAT’S IN IT FOR BLACK PEOPLE?


So many times, proposals, plans and propositions are presented to us, AFTER the work has been done. They can plan for the building, the parking, and even plan the beautification, but when do THEY plan for the Black people, And when they bring the plan, it’s for the so-called “community.” Well Black people need to separate ourselves from the so-called “community” and start asking specifically, “WHAT’S IN IT FOR BLACK PEOPLE?”

Just imagine, if EVERYBODY, and I mean EVERYBODY that came into OUR community, whether it was to open a business, get a vote, do a project, or open a school had to answer the question, WHAT’S IN IT FOR BLACK PEOPLE, how different THE BLACK COMMUNITY would be?

But who is REALLY willing to ask, WHAT IS IN IT FOR BLACK PEOPLE? The answer should be everybody! So many times when I am at high profile events, BLACK folk are more interested in selfies and appearing intelligent than asking the essential question. When someone like me ask, “WHAT’S IN IT FOR BLACK PEOPLE?” Everyone gets scared and offended.

Well “WHAT’S IN IT FOR BLACK PEOPLE should be the starting point when anyone comes asking Black people for support for anything, and its EVERYBODY’S responsibility to ask.



So the next time you’re at an event, meeting, or gathering and someone is seeking what appears to be the support of the Black community, before you go into a long winded soliloquy, remember to ask, “WHAT’S IN IT FOR BLACK PEOPLE?” If they can’t demonstrate contracts, jobs, investment, and targeted community development, there are no more questions necessary, and everything else they are talking about should fall on our collective deaf ears.