Democratic socialist Rossana Rodriguez never thought she would run for office, let alone win.
But the Chicago educator and community activist may be poised to do just that after forcing a runoff in her 33rd ward aldermanic race against incumbent Deb Mell last month, making her one of six democratic socialists who could potentially join city council this year.
That shock number of openly declared socialists set to join Chicago politics comes at a time when socialism is increasingly visible in national US politics, led by the socialist senator Bernie Sanders running for president and socialist New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becoming one the most high-profile politicians in the House of Representatives.
But the trend is happening at a local level, too, with the emergence of socialists in Chicago politics a reflection of the progressive momentum Rodriguez and other socialist candidates say could “transform” the way this city operates.
“What we’re advocating for is for people to just be able to have decent lives. That shouldn’t be too much to ask. We need to be able to imagine that. We need to be able to imagine what good lives look like,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez won more votes in the February election than Mell, a former Illinois state congresswoman, and is now one of four members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) vying for a city council seat in the 2 April runoff, along with Andre Vasquez, Byron Sigcho-Lopez and Jeanette Taylor.
Two other Democratic Socialists of America members, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Daniel La Spata, have already won seats outright.
The democratic socialists say…