Edit Module Rahm Emanuel | Chicago magazine
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Rahm Emanuel

Mayor, City of Chicago

Age: 56

Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune

It stinks to be Rahm right now. Check out the spectacular free fall in his public approval ratings, particularly since the release in November of the Laquan McDonald video. But the downward trend—which bobbed up a bit at presstime—began well before then. Witness his tougher-than-expected reelection last spring, when he donned a fuzzy sweater and promised he could do better (and then promptly did a whole lot worse).

Rahm’s Popularity Plunge

Percentage of Chicagoans who approve of the job the mayor is doing
Sources Chicago Tribune, Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV, Illinois Observer

Emanuel’s reputation has suffered profoundly, if not irreparably. GQ magazine named him one of the worst people of 2015. And for a man who craves the notice and praise of the editorial pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the like, Emanuel must have come unhinged after these influential opinion leaders—and many others—ripped him a new one over his handling of the McDonald shooting.

Now, with his second term nearly a year old and the city’s violent crime rate skyrocketing, a majority of Chicagoans think he should resign. (Never gonna happen.) And in Springfield, a fellow Chicago Democrat, no less, introduced a measure to allow his recall from office. (Never gonna happen, either.)

Whatever your opinion of him, you can’t deny that the guy’s got intensity and persistence in spades. Chicagoans elected Rahmbo to make tough, often unpopular decisions, and he hasn’t disappointed: raising property taxes to put a dent in the city’s pension mess, extending the school day, restructuring antiquated services, renegotiating contracts with municipal workers, and recruiting big companies to downtown. In short, Rahm will do whatever he has to do to recover—even if it means donning more fuzzy apology sweaters.

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