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Pritzker and Johnson Undergo Trial by Fire with Chicago Convention

JB Pritzker (Credits: NBC News)

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson are facing a crucial test this summer as they prepare to host the Democratic National Convention.

With protesters already targeting the event over the Biden administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the success of the convention could provide a boost to Pritzker’s and Johnson’s political ambitions.

Pritzker, a two-term governor seen as a potential candidate for the 2028 Democratic nomination, and Johnson, who has been struggling with low approval ratings and the threat of a recall effort, need a smooth and successful convention to demonstrate their leadership skills.

Brandon Johnson (Credits: The New Yorker)

A chaotic event could draw unfavorable comparisons to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which was marred by violent clashes between police and anti-war protesters.

Political operatives and strategists agree that the convention presents an opportunity for Pritzker and Johnson to showcase their ability to manage a high-profile event and protect free speech, public safety, and order.

“The whole world will be watching how the governor performs here, and regardless of his political ambitions, he has an opportunity to show the whole world what he’s been for Illinois – calm, competent, and confident,” said Victor Reyes, a longtime Democratic political operative.

Pritzker has already demonstrated his preparedness for the convention, stating that the city is ready to host the event and that the Chicago Police Department can handle potential protests.

On the other hand, Johnson faces a more challenging situation due to his low approval ratings and ongoing recall effort. However, a successful convention could help him demonstrate his ability to manage a huge event and improve his public image.

Democratic strategists emphasize that the convention’s success will depend on the coordination between all levels of government and law enforcement to ensure a safe and secure environment for attendees.

JB Pritzker and Brandon Johnson (Credits: The Hill)

“If things are logistically difficult, they’re looking toward city leadership,” said Aviva Bowen, a Democratic strategist. “On the flip side, if things are smooth and thriving, then he should get credit for that.”

Despite concerns about potential protests and comparisons to 1968, organizers and officials are confident in their preparations and ability to manage the event.

“There is a mayoral and gubernatorial leadership in which they recognize not only what’s going on on the national stage in terms of protests happening across the country but also recognizing that it’s summertime in Chicago,” said Ameshia Cross, a Democratic strategist. “It’s a beautiful time, but it’s also a time where we’re typically on high alert across the city.”

The success of the convention will depend on the ability of Pritzker, Johnson, and other officials to balance free speech, public safety, and order. If they can achieve this, the event could boost their political ambitions and demonstrate their leadership skills to a national audience.

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