Lauren Victoria Burke
Interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante (left) listens as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addresses changes in training and procedures that will take place at the Chicago Police Department in the wake of recent shootings on Dec. 30, 2015, in Chicago. 
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Here’s a question: What could Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel do to prompt Democrats to call for his resignation? No Democrat has yet, even though Chicago’s mayor is in the throes of scandal centered around the issue of police misconduct.

Last weekend Hillary Clinton was asked about Emanuel and answered, “Mayor Emanuel has said that he is committed to complete and total reform and I think he should be held to that standard.”


“But you think he still has credibility?” Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd pushed Clinton.

“That’s gonna be up to him and the people of Chicago to prove,” she answered.

Over the same weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders called for Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to resign over a lead poisoning crisis in the city of Flint. And at the last Democratic debate, Clinton was also critical of Snyder pointing out how things might be different if the water contamination in Flint didn't involve a mostly black community.

But there has been no parallel criticism of Mayor Emanuel, even after yet another release of video showing the police shooting someone unarmed; this time it was the 2013 video of the shooting of Cedrick Chatman that became public.  

Clinton isn’t alone in avoiding tossing Emanuel under the bus. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was asked on Jan. 10 if the president still has confidence in Rahm Emanuel as mayor.


“I think what the president sees is a city and a people of Chicago and a mayor of Chicago that continue to do very good work,” McDonough responded.

When asked whether the mayor has lost his effectiveness as a leader during an interview with The Root, Democratic Congressman from Illinois Danny Davis answered, “Yes, he has. There’s no doubt about that.”


So then why hasn’t Davis called for the Mayor to resign as so many of his constituents in Chicago have?

“You can’t do much more than what I do. I never supported him. I voted twice not to elect him. I supported his opponent. I called for the federal investigation. I marched down Michigan Avenue. I did all the other things that you must do … Everything can’t just be straight up all the time political in the sense of ‘anti-Rahm Emanuel the Mayor,’” Rep. Davis continued as he walked to the House floor to vote.


The highlights of Emanuel’s fall feature corruption, several police shootings, prosecutorial misconduct and obstruction of justice. A poll revealed that over half of Chicago residents want the mayor to resign.

Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who also represents parts of Chicago, was asked why he hasn’t called for Mayor Emanuel’s resignation after withdrawing his support for Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez last month. Alvarez handled the police shooting death of Laquan McDonald.


“For me these are really electoral processes that I respect … when I looked at the State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and looked at myself and said, ‘Luis you’re part of her re-election team.’ I just take a different approach. There’s an electoral process in place in March. If you truly believe that the injustice done to Laquan McDonald is so bad that she should resign you can fire her on March 15 because that’s the day she comes up for tenure,” Gutierrez told The Root on Jan. 7.

“With the mayor of the city of Chicago we have a lot more to learn. I think he is taking many of the correct steps,” Gutierrez continued.


“His challenge is to make the Chicago Police Department a model for the nation. Should he not do that then I believe it’s a moment to take into judgment Laquan McDonald—until then I’m going to let him do that. There isn’t a looming election,” Guiterrez added.

There have been endless protests calling on the mayor to resign and there is now a Department of Justice investigation of the Chicago Police Department. On Jan. 4, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, said he was “very disappointed” and endorsed legislation that would allow citizens to recall the mayor.


Many Democrats who have served with Emanuel in Congress noted that they are convinced he will never resign under any circumstances. For that reason they are avoiding a direct call for his resignation. With that in mind, they continue to make the point that the better path forward is to work with the mayor as best they can.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a Washington, D.C.-based political reporter who writes the Crew of 42 blog. She appears regularly on NewsOne Now with Roland Martin on TV One. Follow her on Twitter

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