Greising: Chicago Remap Battles Endure, As Always. But This Time, It's Black vs. Latino

The struggle for dominance in City Council this time is between Blacks and Latinos, not Blacks and whites like in the 1980s.

A view from the 360 Chicago observation deck shows the city skyline.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

In federal court this week in Chicago, a lawyer representing the state legislature argued that race really doesn’t matter when it comes to drawing electoral maps.

“Illinois in 2020 is not your grandfather’s Illinois,” said Sean Berkowitz, the attorney defending the legislative district maps signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in September, in a hearing at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse downtown.

Illinois today “is not Mississippi in 1965 or Illinois in 1980,” Berkowitz added, according to a report by Capitol News Illinois.

Berkowitz argued that race is almost beside the point in modern-day voting. He cited the fact that many white voters “cross over” to vote for politicians of color. They helped elect Kwame Raoul as state attorney general and Tammy Duckworth as U.S. senator.

A few blocks away, elected officials in City Hall had begun proving Berkowitz wrong. They were engaging in a fight for power, with race serving as the defining element.

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