“Chicago-style politics” is a phrase used to characterize a supposedly offensive tough, “take-no-prisoners” or “hardball” approach to politics.
As Jacob Weisberg explained:
Chicago-style politics, in common parlance, refers to the 1950s-1970s era of the Richard J. Daley machine…
The strength and durability of the Daley machine was its ethnically based patronage network, a complex system of obligations, benefits, and loyalties that didn’t depend on televised communication with a broader public.
It was a noncompetitive system that in its heyday had a lock on urban power and the spoils that went with it.
More from Don Rose:
Time was the term ‘Chicago politics’ or ‘Chicago-style politics’ had a special meaning based on our history from the Al Capone years through the regime (1955-76) of one Richard J. Daley, aka Da Mare.
Nowadays, like our unique political lexicon, it seems to have become a generic insult for just about any politics one disagrees with.