Playlist Politics


Street scene at Chicago Theatre near State and Randolph Streets, Chicago, Illinois, December 10, 1952. Photo: Chicago History Museum, ICHi-019349; J. Sherwin Murphy, photographer

Revisiting the Biting Articles That Branded Chicago the "Second City"

Daniel Hautzinger

Seventy years ago, the New Yorker writer and New York City native A.J. Liebling published a series of articles about Chicago that saw the city as a "not-quite-metropolis" imbued with a "collective sense of disappointment." Was he right?
Jane Byrne raising her finger while speaking at a mayoral forum

A Q&A with the Producer of a New Jane Byrne 'Chicago Stories'

Meredith Francis

Jane Byrne was the first woman to be elected Mayor of Chicago and the first woman to lead a mayor U.S. city. A new Chicago Stories documentary follow's Byrne's rise to power and tenure as mayor. 
Photo of US Olympic team sprinters (from left) Jesse Owens, Ralph Metcalfe and Frank Wykoff on the deck of the S.S. Manhattan before they sailed for Germany to compete in the 1936 Olympics. Photo: Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

The Olympic Athlete Who Became a Powerful Chicago Politician

Daniel Hautzinger

Ralph Metcalfe was once known as the "world's fastest human" and raced alongside Jesse Owens at the controversial 1936 Berlin Olympics before becoming an influential Chicago politician who eventually bucked Richard J. Daley and the powerful Democratic machine.
Emily Taft Douglas. Image: Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

The Woman Who Beat Her Husband to Congress

Daniel Hautzinger

When Emily Taft Douglas won a statewide election to become Illinois's fourth woman in Congress, her husband Paul had already lost a run for Senate and wouldn't win until four years later. Emily also marched with Dr. King, appeared on Broadway, and wrote books.
Harold Washington on WTTW's 'Callaway Interviews' in 1980

Mayor Harold Washington Through the Years, in His Own Words

Daniel Hautzinger

Harold Washington was a frequent guest on WTTW over the course of his political career. Hear him discuss his upbringing, his coalitional politics, the Council Wars when he was mayor of Chicago, and more in archival interviews ranging from 1968 through 1984.
State Representative candidate Julie Cho votes on election day. Photo: Hillary Bachelder

What Women Face When They Run for Local Office

Daniel Hautzinger

The documentary Represent follows three women candidates in the Midwest as they run for local office, including a Korean American Republican running on Chicago's North Shore. "A woman called me a white nationalist," she says. "And I thought, 'Me?' "
Abner Mikva in a crowd. Photo: Courtesy Mikva Family

How Abner Mikva Inspired People to Believe in Government's Power for Good

Daniel Hautzinger

Attending college on the G.I. Bill changed Abner Mikva's life. As a congressman, judge, and mentor to Barack Obama, Elena Kagan, and numerous young people, Mikva tried to show that government could be a force for good in people's lives. 
Rudy Lozano Elementary School

Rudy Lozano's Multigenerational Legacy and the Growing Power of Chicago's Latino Community

Daniel Hautzinger

Rudy Lozano sought more political power for Latinos in Chicago, and although his life was cut short, his legacy lives on in his friends and family members who continue his political campaigns and activism. 
Frontline's The Choice 2020 examines the lives of Donald Trump and Joe Biden as they seek the White House

Frontline's Michael Kirk on 'The Choice 2020'

Daniel Hautzinger

"There has never been a better time for political biography," says the veteran Frontline producer Michael Kirk. "You want to look closely at the character of the two men who are asking to be President of the United States at this perilous time."
The Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge in Milwaukee

Milwaukee's Long Legacy of Socialism

Daniel Hautzinger

Buffalo may soon unseat Milwaukee as the only large American city to have a socialist mayor. Chicago's neighbor to the north has a long history of elected socialist leaders, an appropriate background in the era of Bernie Sanders and other progressives.
The Illinois State Capitol building. Photo: Erica Gunderson

A Short History of Corruption in Illinois

Daniel Hautzinger

Stories of corruption amongst politicians in Illinois and Chicago could fill a book—and they have. As federal investigations close in on some of the state's most powerful people, revisit the last half century or so of corruption in the city and state. 
Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Photo: Courtesy of left to right: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images; BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

'America's Great Divide' and the 2020 Election

Daniel Hautzinger

"This is really the most important political year coming that I have ever experienced," says Michael Kirk, the producer of Frontline's new, two-part documentary America's Great Divide. "I thought these films could be a kind of overture as the curtain goes up on the political year."
PBS NewsHour/Politico Democratic Debate

How to Watch the Final Democratic Presidential Debate of the Year

Daniel Hautzinger

Tonight at 7:00 pm CT, PBS NewsHour and POLITICO host the final Democratic presidential debate of the year, featuring Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.
Alderman Leon Despres in the Chicago City Council chamber

The Only Alderman Who Stood Up to Richard J. Daley

Daniel Hautzinger

“[Leon] Despres has been told to shut up – in one form or another – more than any grown man in Chicago," Mike Royko once wrote. "Throughout his career, he has been in the forefront of just about every decent, worthwhile effort to improve life in this city."
Raney Aronson-Rath of 'Frontline.' Photo: Jonas Fredwall Karlsson

The Executive Producer of 'Frontline' on Journalism's Challenges Today

Daniel Hautzinger

Raney Aronson-Rath believes that, for all its difficulties, the current period is "a golden age for serious journalism." The newest FrontlineThe Fish on My Plate, airs Tuesday, April 25 at 10:00 pm.
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