Socialists will soon outnumber Republicans on the Chicago City Council after members of the Democratic Socialists of America captured at least five seats in the recent municipal balloting.
Three Chicago DSA members won their ward races in Tuesday’s run-off, and a fourth candidate led by 68 votes entering a recount. They join two others who won outright in the Feb. 26 municipal election, giving the socialists at least 10 percent of the 50-member council.
“Chicago will soon have more socialist City Council members than any major U.S. city in modern history,” said CDSA co-chairs Lucie Macias and Leonard Pierce in a Wednesday op-ed for the Chicago Tribune.
Of course, overtaking the GOP wasn’t a high bar, given that there may only be one Republican serving on the city council. Alderman Anthony Napolitano was a Republican when he was elected in 2015, but he has since identified as an Independent. The council is non-partisan.
Chris Cleveland, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, confirmed that Mr. Napolitano was the only likely Republican alderman, and described the socialist gains as a bad sign for the city and state.
“The Democratic Party has lost its mind,” said Mr. Cleveland in an email. “Unlike every surrounding state, Illinois is rapidly losing population. If we start seeing socialist policies, then the problem will accelerate.”
According to the CDSA, members who won their Tuesday run-off races were Jeanette Taylor in the 20th Ward; Byron Sigcho-Lopez in the 25th Ward, and Andrew Vasquez in the 40th Ward. In the 33rd Ward, Rossana Rodriguez leads incumbent Deb Mell by 68 votes, or a margin of 50.3 to 49.7 percent, the elections board reported.
The Feb. 26 election saw victories by CDSA members Daniel La Spata in the 1st Ward and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa in the 35th Ward.
The newly elected municipal officials, who include Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, begin their terms May 20.
“With at least five and as many as six socialist aldermen, Chicago’s politicians and the ultra-wealthy, from the mayor’s office to corporate boardrooms, need to understand that business isn’t going to continue as usual in this city,” said the CDSA op-ed.
The results come with socialism seeing an upswing in popularity nationwide. For the first time, Democrats surveyed viewed socialism (57 percent) more positively than capitalism (47 percent) in a Gallup poll released in August.
“These victories are part of a nationwide wave of electoral wins by Democratic Socialists of America members over the last year, the most prominent being current Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York,” said the CDSA statement.
Last month, the national DSA endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, despite pushback from the AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus over his opposition to reparations, according to Vox.