In the days of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party existed as a kind of shadow government. There was an official government, with a President, ministers, a legislature, and so on. As The Columbia Encyclopedia puts it, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
... had been organized to parallel the territorial hierarchy of government administration and all significant institutions, including the press and armed forces, thereby effectively controlling all policy.
Sometimes the official government position was a mere figurehead, who did nothing without consulting the Party, of which he had to be a member. But sometimes the Party boss was also the government official for the corresponding geographical area.
And so it is in Chicago. The Democratic Party machine in Chicago, liberal activist groups, unions, and limousine class form a shadow government, without whose approval the official government makes no move.
Blagojevich, Emanuel, and Obama are products of that machine.
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