After Lori Lightfoot won her 2019 mayoral election runoff with 73 percent of the vote, it was said that her support was a mile wide and an inch deep. Brandon Johnson is the flip side: He was carried into office on a much narrower margin but has deep backing among progressives. Still, his stumbles since taking office have even his supporters wondering if he — and the progressive movement — were ready for the moment. Here’s how the mayor has fared so far in seven key areas.

Passing his progressive agenda: B–
Johnson started on a roll, seeing the City Council vote in his plan to eliminate the subminimum wage for restaurant servers and other tipped workers, a vote he greased by negotiating a five-year phasein with the Illinois Restaurant Association. Then, the council agreed to establish a working group to implement Treatment Not Trauma, Johnson’s campaign pledge to reopen six mental health clinics and have social workers rather than the police respond to 911 calls that involve mental distress. (So far, he’s reopened only two clinics.) But then in March, Johnson suffered the biggest defeat of his young administration when voters rejected his most cherished initiative, the Bring Chicago Home amendment, which would have boosted taxes on big-ticket real estate sales to fund services for unhoused Chicagoans. It’s hard to sell a tax increase, even for a good cause.

Media relations: D
Political consultant Tom Bowen doesn’t mince words about Johnson’s handling of the press: “Beyond incompetent and probably the worst administration of the past 40 years.” Johnson gives comically evasive answers to tough questions and rarely makes himself available to the media outside post-council-meeting press conferences. Even his remedies have backfired: He agreed to a Zoom meeting with the Sun-Times editorial board, but then abruptly signed off after the newspaper refused to agree to press secretary Ronnie Reese’s condition that remarks be off the record. At least he recognizes the problem: He recently hired Chicago-area native Joe Calvello, the respected former communications director for Pennsylvania senator John Fetterman, to help overhaul his media strategy.

Public safety: B–
As a county commissioner, Johnson called defunding the police “an actual real political goal.” As mayor, though, he increased funding by $91 million to cover raises. That disappointed the most progressive of Johnson’s followers, but his decision to remove the police from schools didn’t. Neither did his cancellation of the ShotSpotter contract. If Johnson wants to expand his base, though, he will need to get a better handle on crime. While murders fell 13 percent last year, robberies were up 23 percent and motor vehicle thefts rose 35 percent. He’s never going to win over the Northwest Side and the Southwest Side, but he won’t have a shot at even Lincoln Park if its residents are afraid to go out at night. One thing in his favor: His police superintendent, Larry Snelling, comes from inside the department, so he knows how the city works. Lori Lightfoot and Rahm Emanuel both hired from outside and paid the price.

Migrants: C–
Johnson didn’t ask for Texas to send 37,000 Latin American refugees to Chicago, but his handling of the new arrivals has been a disaster. His biggest embarrassment was his plan to build a “winterized base camp” for migrants in Brighton Park, which was shut down by Governor J.B. Pritzker for environmental concerns. In another example of his failure to work with other levels of government, Johnson backed out of a $250 million joint city, county, and state migrant aid program. The shelter effort “has not been a smooth rollout by any means,” says Dick Simpson, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Chicago. “There have been arguments about there not being enough diapers, and it’s taking too long to move the migrants into housing.” But the city has managed to settle more than 21,000 migrants [Editor’s note: This is an updated figure provided by the city] by finding them permanent housing or uniting them with relatives.

Supporting the business community: D
Johnson didn’t kowtow to the C-suite types before the election — nor has he since. And they have let him know how they feel about it. Shortly after Johnson took office, three members of World Business Chicago resigned, including its highest-profile officer, Mellody Hobson, and CEO Michael Fassnacht, who explained, “I don’t see the focus on the business community that I have seen with other mayors.” Business folks were not happy about the increase in minimum wage for tipped workers or the new employee guarantee of one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked. Johnson has also alienated the real estate lobby, which spent millions of dollars in its successful campaign to defeat Bring Chicago Home.

Improving Chicago’s image: C
Even with a drop in murders, the city can’t seem to shake its image as a violence capital. After the City Council passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che cracked that Gaza had called for a cease-fire in Chicago. Just as Mayor Richard M. Daley used the 1996 Democratic National Convention to show off Chicago’s emergence as a global city, Johnson can use this year’s convention to demonstrate that it is not an urban dystopia. Snelling has promised to practice “constitutional policing,” which presumably means his officers won’t be busting heads like in 1968. While conservatives have increased their shade throwing at Chicago, Johnson has turned the city into a beacon of progressive governance among the left. “He’s making Chicago appear in national progressive circles in an ideological way that is unique, and he’s the first mayor to do that,” says a City Hall watcher. “It’s definitely a change from the previous mayors.”

Fiscal management: C
Johnson passed his $16.6 billion “people’s budget,” as he dubbed it, by using tax increment financing funds and projected increases from the city’s share of state taxes to plug a $538 million budget hole. But that’s a Band-Aid. “He repeatedly pledged he wouldn’t raise property taxes,” says Bowen, and that vow could come back to bite him if he needs to hike taxes for future budgets. “The deficits ahead are too large to not use that tool, and if you make a promise to the voters that’s not possible to keep, you best break it early instead of closer to the election.” The budget hole could reach $1.9 billion by 2026. “It’s going to be a major problem, particularly with the casinos slowly coming,” says Simpson. “Downtown tends not to be producing as much revenue because people are leaving. That hurts restaurants and other things.”