Hughes: Alderman's inflammatory posts will eventually catch up with him
Democrat Chicago Alderman John Arena probably, for the short term, will get away with posting salty and inflammatory comments on his Facebook page but it won't last, the co-host of a Conservative Chicago-based radio talk show said during a recent broadcast.
"I think that Arena and people like him are going to be able to, at least on the margins, get away with this type of rhetoric and thinking in the short term," Pat Hughes said in conversation with his co-host Dan Proft during a recent edition of Illinois Rising.
However, as those posts pile up, Arena's constituents in the 45th Ward will take notice sooner or later, Hughes said.
"The middle class and the lower middle class that I grew up with in this very area is starting to realize how much they're getting screwed by the structures that are in place," Hughes said. "If I were Arena, I'd watch out because his political career could be very short-lived."
Proft and Hughes are co-founders of the Illinois Opportunity Project. Proft also is Liberty Principles PAC chairperson and treasurer, as well as a senior fellow at the Chicago-based conservative think tank Illinois Policy Institute. Illinois Rising is a presentation of the Illinois Policy Institute.
Arena, who has lived in Portage Park since 1996, is a small business owner who works in advertising industry and has been the 45th Ward's alderman since 2011.
Arena's off-color remarks on his Facebook page have attracted coverage and criticism largely from the conservative news outlets. Meanwhile, the so-called "mainstream" media, which readily reports about President Donald Trump's latest Twitter posts, thus far is quiet about Arena's profanity-laced social media remarks.
"It's rather incredible for a guy who won his first race by, like 12 votes, and won his last election by about 1,000," Proft said. "It's the Northwest side, a lot of the white ethnic families that voted for Trump but it's still a Democrat ward and more people there voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Trump. But it seems odd that somebody would go out of their way to say, for example, the following."
Proft then read a post from Arena's Facebook page that appeared shortly after Trump's election in November.
"I am not ready to cead [sic] this country to the racist, classist, knuckle-dragging and generally subhuman puddle of DNA that makes up the base of Trump supporters," Arena's post read, 'We have made too much progress since scrubbing the (George) Bush idiocy from the Oval Office."
Another Arena Facebook post was: "Go ahead... Move to Indiana and live in a third-world economy. [Expletive] schools and low wages. And read a newspaper or something...Rail against everything but offer no ideas and think only of yourself. Time to grow up and be part of society."
Yet another read: "Just because you are driven by prejudice does not mean the (rest) of the community should be."
That kind of public rhetoric is bound to wear on the demographic on the Northwest side, Hughes said. "I grew up, as you know, on the Northwest side and I know these folks pretty well," he said. "And I agree, it is more of a Democrat ward than traditional Republican but Trump's not a traditional Republican anyway. Hardworking people who Trump would appeal to, a lot of people who have been screwed economically by Democrats, including the Alderman. So to talk to your voters in that way, if they have a sympathy for Trump, even if they didn't vote for him, they want to give him a chance."
"But it isn't just about Trump," Proft replied. "It's about, 'If I disagree with you, you're a subhuman puddle of DNA.'"
"It's politically stupid," Hughes said. "It's also tactless and arrogant and it just goes to show how insular these folks are."