Elections | Politics

Know Your Machine, Part II

Mapping South Side aldermen's ties to the Machine

Jasmine Mithani

Chicago’s political history sometimes reads more like a House of Cards script than it does a civics lesson. Terms like “Chicago-style” politics and “the machine” have become ubiquitous nationwide to evoke corruption, quid-pro-quo arrangements, and nepotism. Of course “the machine” is not actually a machine—it is a shorthand for the relationships and strictly enforced loyalties that allowed the Democratic Party to consolidate power in Chicago over the course of the twentieth century. While the machine enjoyed its heyday under the father-son duo of Mayors Richard J. and Richard M. Daley, many of today’s elected officials remain beholden to this power structure or employ its tactics: rewarding supporters with contracts and city jobs, intimidating dissenters, and backing legislation which will line their own pockets.

Politics

Mapping the Candidates’ Machine Ties

Jasmine Mithani

Chicago’s political history sometimes reads more like a House of Cards script than it does a civics lesson. Terms like “Chicago-style” politics and “the machine” have become ubiquitous nationwide to evoke corruption, quid pro quo arrangements, and nepotism. Of course “the machine” is not actually a machine—it is a shorthand for the relationships and strictly enforced loyalties that allowed the Democratic party to consolidate power in Chicago over the course of the twentieth century. While the machine enjoyed its heyday under the father-son duo of Mayors Richard J. and Richard M. Daley, many of today’s elected officials remain beholden to this power structure or employ its tactics: rewarding supporters with contracts and city jobs, intimidating dissenters, and backing legislation which will line their own pockets.