Critical of Chicago’s unrelenting legacy of political corruption and police abuse, Sen. Bernie Sanders released several campaign ads in Illinois this week slamming longtime Clinton ally and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Accused of failing Chicago’s public schools and suppressing video evidence of a teenager’s death at the hands of police in 2014, Emanuel embodies the type of politician that Sanders does not want supporting his presidential campaign.
In a campaign ad titled “Better Possibilities,” a Chicago School Principal named Troy LaRaviere admits that corrupt politics have prevented schools from obtaining desperately needed funds. Instead of providing the children of their community with an adequate education, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has simply conducted business as usual in a city mired with corruption.
“In Chicago, we have endured a corrupt political system, and the chief politician standing in the way of us getting good schools is our mayor,” LaRaviere explained in the ad. “If you have a presidential candidate that supports someone like our mayor, you have a candidate who’s not willing to take on the establishment.”
In 1992, Emanuel was appointed director of the finance committee for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. After becoming a top official in former President Clinton’s administration, Emanuel served on the board of directors of the ill-fated Freddie Mac. Before assuming the office of mayor of Chicago in 2011, Emanuel also served as President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff and later pledged his support for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign back in 2014.
“Bernie Sanders is definitely not afraid to take on the system,” LaRaviere drew a direct comparison between Sanders and Clinton. “He looks beyond that system and sees better possibilities for us. He sees that this is not the way it has to be. That is why I support Bernie Sanders.”
A second video discusses the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald who was shot to death by Chicago police in 2014. After the dashcam video was suppressed from the public for 13 months, Sanders called for a federal investigation into the fatal shooting while demanding that any elected official, including possibly Mayor Rahm Emanuel and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, should resign if involved in suppressing the video or attempting to cover up evidence.
In a third campaign ad titled, “Transformative Change,” Cook County Commissioner Chuy Garcia, who challenged Emanuel when he ran for re-election, describes the frustration people feel when their elected representatives no longer stand up for them. In contrast, Sanders has become the only presidential candidate willing to fight for people who cannot afford offshore tax havens, lobbyists, or Super PACs.
“People in this community badly want and need a fair shot,” Garcia stated in the video. “For too long, politicians haven’t quite stood up for them. Bernie Sanders is about giving everyone an opportunity to do better.”
Content with simply maintaining the status quo, Emanuel has no intention of fighting the establishment that he has been supporting for decades. Instead of attempting to curry favor with Chicago’s most influential politician, Sanders has denounced Emanuel’s political failings while offering the people of Chicago a brighter future.