Last week, at the infamous Trinity United Church of Christ where President Obama used to listen to Rev. Jeremiah Wright blast the United States of America, Republican candidate Paul McKinley slammed the Chicago Machine during a candidate forum for the special election to fill Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s congressional seat.
McKinley was the only Republican to participate in the forum, along with 14 Democrats and one Green Party candidate. While the democrats repeated the typical talking points of the left, weaving their usual promises in and out of their remarks, McKinley gained the crowd's attention by speaking about issues none of the other candidates would address.
He talked about the circle of corruption in their community, such as the unholy alliance between elected officials and labor union leadership, that keeps residents of the community unemployed. He railed against the "machine politics" that they (the voters of the 2nd district) continue to vote for but never result in anything different than the same old political games.
In his closing statement, McKinley gave a fiery address to audience:
I'm Paul McKinley and I'm running against the machine... I'm not running against a candidate, I'm running against the machine that's been in power in this district for 60 years. And if you think it's alright that all these boarded up houses in our community is all right, you vote for them. If you think that it's all right that our young men and women that have no jobs and standing on the corner, you vote for them, don't for vote for me...
440 young kids were shot in the city of Chicago last year, 3000 people in the city of Chicago were shot. That means the machine is working, it's no accident that's what's happening in our community. The machine is working and it's working out fine. You don't have anything and they do, your community is going to hell in a hand basket, and their community, there's no poverty problem over there, they're going to work, they've got jobs, there's nobody getting shot up in their schools... If you want to keep the same system, you vote for them, don't vote for me.
ABC 7 Chicago's political reporter, Charles Thomas, and the event moderator spoke to Breitbart News after the forum. Thomas laughed at the idea that McKinley's message would resonate with the voters, despite agreeing that "there is a lot of truth in some of the things he says." Thomas explained, "he is in the Republican primary, he's not even going to be on the ballot with the Democratic side, and I think that is where the next congressman is going to come from--the Democratic side."
Is Thomas merely regurgitating the same talking point that the rest of the mainstream media in Chicago has been providing 2nd district voters from the start? That, as NBC reported following the forum, the Republican primary is "meaningless?" Or, as the SunTimes reported, that the Republicans are nothing but "roadkill" in this election?
Emily Morris of DNA Info, a new and growing Chicago news blog, contradicted Thomas' claims, and reported that Republican Paul McKinley's message did, in fact, resonate with at least some voters at the forum:
Candidates Paul McKinley, a Republican from Bronzeville, as well as Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones, of South Shore, emphasized their differences from the Democratic candidates....
"I'm running against the machine," McKinley said repeatedly.
And for some, his message seemed to resonate.
"They spoke contrary to the system," community organizer Meghan Kyle, 24, said of McKinley and Jones after the panel.
Kyle said for her, the race isn't just about issues that matter to Democrats or Republicans, but "Chicago" issues, such as the number of people killed by city violence.
"We've got a Democratic mayor, a Democratic governor and a Democratic president, and we're still jacked up," Kyle said.
McKinley is set to face off against his Republican counterparts, Lenny McAllister Dr. Eric Wallace, in a bedate Tuesday night. The debate is sponsored by the Chicago GOP and will be held in the south suburban end of the district. It will be moderated by Chicago radio station WVON's Cliff Kelley and broadcast live on local Cable Access Network Television, as well as streamed online.