It was about this time Tuesday, while watching the election returns, that the lawyers and assorted hangers-on from the Stroger camp started their press conference with a bald accusation of vote stealing, fraud and other underhandedness:
Speaking to Stroger supporters early Wednesday, State Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, said many of the areas were predominantly black communities that would back Stroger. "Our community has been disenfranchised," Trotter said. "This process has, at this point, has been a farce because we ... have not been recognized in this political process."
- The Stroger camp even went so far as to charge that votes from predominantly black precincts were purposely being withheld.
- "The administration of this election was a train wreck," said Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool..."
First of all, only 34% of the ballots had been counted at the time Stroger's people started casually tossing out accusations of fraud. As the momentum swung back the other way, these grandstanders faded into the background. Most people never even saw it happen, but we did. We stayed up reasonably late to see which way everything was going. Just because your candidate is losing or loses an election, doesn't mean it was fraud. It means they ran a lackluster campaign, they didn't connect with the voters or maybe, they just sucked at their job. Cook County Board President isn't some hereditary throne that only John Stroger can hold and the rapidity to which Stroger's people switched to a cry of race based fraud is disgusting. It's demeaning. It's stupid.
And as any student of Chicago and Cook County politics knows, you always hold back the results in the Machine wards. It makes the outcome more dramatic. Old man Daley used to hold back Alderman Dawson's wards until the very end because Dawson's precincts (and the 3 Wards he controlled) usually turned out something like 14 to 1 for the mayor and the Machine.