When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel ran for re-election in 2015, his opponents accused him of representing the elite in a city starkly divided by race and class. A new analysis of campaign finance data shows that, at least from a fundraising perspective, the mayor’s support did indeed come largely from a narrow band of Chicago’s citizens.
According to the report by the left-leaning group Demos, roughly 80 percent of Emanuel’s total cash haul came from donors earning more than $100,000 a year, and roughly 94 percent came from white donors. People of color — who comprise nearly two-thirds of Chicago’s population — represented just 5 percent of Emanuel’s donors.
“Chicago’s democracy is being distorted by an overwhelmingly, white, wealthy and male donor class,” the report concludes. Noting that survey data has shown a vast gap in the policy priorities of rich and poor Chicagoans, the report argues that “the preferences of the white, male and rich donor class diverge strongly from ordinary Chicagoans but it’s their agenda that’s being implemented.”