Those ‘low-info voters’ smartly dumped a fraud
RICH MILLER email@example.com March 22, 2012 5:48PM
Updated: April 24, 2012 8:14AM
‘I love the fact Obama obviously has a thin skin,” Tom Swiss wrote in 2010. “His four years are going to be torture for him.”
Less than two years later, Swiss, the former executive director of the Cook County Republican Party, mailed a campaign flier touting “The winning team” of Obama and Tom Swiss.
Did Swiss have a radical change of heart? Heck, no. He spelled out his plans to run for the Illinois House in an email to a fellow Republican last May.
“The people of the district are extremely low information voters,” Swiss wrote. So, he could run as a Democrat, go unnoticed and get himself elected.
It turns out that most of those “extremely” low-info voters he was referring to are black. The 10th House District is centered in Chicago’s heavily African-American West Side.
Swiss is white, but you wouldn’t know it from his campaign literature, most of which prominently featured the same photo of a handsome, young black man. That Obama-Swiss “Team” mailer used that photo as well.
Swiss predicted last May that the upcoming Democratic primary campaign “could possibly be the least expensive State Rep seat pick up for conservatives.”
It didn’t quite work out that way. Swiss ended up spending more than $100,000 of his own money and raised several thousand more from others. His campaign cost him about $50 a vote.
Swiss scored just 23 percent against Rep. Derrick Smith on Tuesday, despite the fact that Smith was recently arrested on a federal bribery charge.
My best friend Brian used to always tell a joke about his dad, a Southwest Side Irish Catholic and about the staunchest Democrat I ever knew: “If Jesus Christ was running as a Republican, my dad would vote for the Democrat.”
I think Brian’s dad, who has since passed, probably would understand what just went down on the West Side, even though a lot of pundits don’t seem to quite grasp it. To them, black Democrats should’ve sided with the white Republican (in a Democratic primary, no less) who wore a deceiving minstrel blackface while holding them in utter contempt.
“Extremely low-information voters,” indeed. The 10th District’s voters knew exactly what Swiss was up to, and they also knew what they were doing.
The choice faced by the district’s Democratic voters was to cast their ballots for Smith, figuring he would resign soon or be kicked out of the House, or side with a guy who was until late last year the 27th Ward’s Republican committeeman.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Smith held his constituents in even more contempt by allegedly soliciting a $7,000 bribe from a day care center owner. And I’m not going to defend any vote for Smith. He has been an embarrassing dim bulb in the House ever since Secretary of State Jesse White orchestrated his appointment last year.
But if White has a brain in his head and more than a grain of political self-protection remaining in his soul, then after Smith either resigns or is kicked out of the House, White will make extra sure that the 10th District finally gets a capable, hardworking, smart state legislator who respects his or her constituents and works hard every day on their behalf.
This is the only way that the voters’ lousy choice can ever be redeemed. And White had better make sure it happens, because if he helps appoint another stupid political hack like Derrick Smith, then the next loud call for a politician’s resignation will be aimed right at him.