No one, other than Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will ever know exactly why he decided against seeking re-election.

But there can be little doubt that the decision to sit on the Laquan McDonald video recording played a factor. In 2015, as he stood for re-election, Emanuel delayed release of the gruesome video until a court finally demanded the public see it — months after Election Day.

Emanuel has struggled to tamp down the outrage ever since, without much success. But that doesn’t mean Emanuel has lost his political instincts altogether. In fact, the day after he announced he would not run again, Emanuel demonstrated that his spot-on instincts are still intact.

None of the dozen people who had challenged him to that point would have thwarted his re-election bid, the mayor predicted.

Until Emanuel’s noncandidacy, a few of the tepid 12 had started to look like serious contenders. Former police oversight board leader Lori Lightfoot, former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas and former top cop Garry McCarthy had even drawn some blood.

But with Emanuel bailing, it’s no longer enough to be the best anti-Rahm candidate. Left to stand on their own, the stature of the initial group of mayoral wannabes has shrunk before our eyes.

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David Greising

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative...