The embattled Chicago mayor has a long history of pissing people off during his political career, including during his stints as a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and chief of staff during President Obama’s first term. Now, in the wake of a newly public video showing a Chicago cop executing black teenager Laquan McDonald, Emanuel is facing calls for his resignation.
Given Emanuel’s service during her husband’s administration, and alongside her in President Obama’s, it is curious why his troubles haven’t been more of a political liability for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. After all, Emanuel was one of Clinton’s earliest endorsers, and she opened herself up to the question when she responded “I do” when asked on December 5 whether she still backs him. (On Monday, Salon’s Jack Mirkinson asked why Clinton hasn’t been asked to account for her support of Emanuel.)
Clinton comes up a lot during Republican debates and in candidate stump speeches, but GOP presidential hopefuls aren’t salivating to mention Chicago. Emanuel’s problems revolve almost entirely around black lives and police violence, and Republicans are apparently so loath to mention either topic that they’re passing on an opportunity to smear Clinton.
Rightfully, all three Democratic contenders we’ll hear from in Saturday’s debate have been talking about structural racism. So will Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley use Chicago’s crisis as a cudgel against Clinton tonight?
Frankly, they’d better. If Sanders and O’Malley don’t mention Emanuel, not only do they miss out on a chance to tie her to a political crisis, they’ll be communicating with their silence that they’re okay with Emanuel, too.