(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.