Monday, January 03, 2011

Black politics in Chicago, 2011

Greg Hinz at Crains believes that Black leadership in the fair city of Chicago is missing the point of Harold Washington's own success as Mayor of Chicago:

The "it's our turn" rhetoric echoes Mr. Vrdolyak's appeal to voters in 1983 to back an unknown Republican over Mr. Washington "before it's too late." The moral high ground now has been lost -- even if some black leaders now say that, of course, the next mayor will serve all of Chicago, not just African-Americans. Given recent events, many voters will be skeptical.

   The pity is, it didn't have to be this way.

   Mr. Obama didn't get to be our senator or president by running as the black candidate, but by running as the best candidate -- who happened to be an African-American. Neither did Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who easily won a Democratic primary race filled with other blacks, and just one white, because she was the best candidate of any race.

   Chicago, black voters and white voters alike, has grown beyond enmity. We've shown that another way is possible.

   Now, some are trying to pull us back to the bad old days, the days when desperate politicians used race as a weapon, regardless of the damage it did and could do to Chicago -- blacks, white, Latinos and Asians alike.

   It's ironic, because although Mr. Washington had extraordinary support from black voters, he became mayor because he brought liberal lakefront whites and Latinos into his coalition, too.

  Harold Washington was a smart man, a good mayor who was just hitting his stride when he died. Too bad too many people out there have forgotten his message that "unity" means everybody.
And the best the black community could do this year is Carol Moseley Braun. The last big named Black person in the mayoral race and she's not without her own issues. Just read this profile of her at the Mayoral Tutorial blog. This is what jumped out at me:

The thing about Carol Moseley Braun is that her past is like a BIG RED WARNING SIGN that says: DO NOT TRUST MY JUDGMENT! The reason why the media doesn’t talk about the “leading African-American contender’s” past could be because if they did that she would quickly no longer be the “leading African-American contender” and that would completely screw up a storyline. How bad is her judgment? As the Recorder of Deeds she excused herself from her own ethics rules. As a candidate for United States Senate she could have been both indicted and disbarred for her role in her mother’s Medicaid case because she appears to have laundered money… only a merciful media guy not writing a story probably stopped all of that from happening. BEFORE that there was Kgosie Matthews, her fiancĂ©, sexually harassing her female junior staff members and after they wrote a letter to her asking her to help them by stopping him, she brings in a lawyer who then quickly covered it up. There’s still a report that was written she’s never released. She went to visit a dictator and she apparently treated her campaign funds like a personal bank account.

The question is… has her judgment gotten any better? Let’s see she gets picked as a finalist in a process to identify the “consensus” African-American candidate and just by hiring Victor Reyes and Mike Noonan, two men known beating the unruly general public into submission for some political machine or the other, she gets demoted to also-ran status. This is cataclysmically bad judgment because it is actually causing progressives and large numbers of active African-American voters to move away from her. So it looks like the “leading African-American contender” is going to have a hard time getting liberals and politically active African-Americans to remain in her base… wouldn’t that make her something other than the leading contender? I’m just asking.
From Charles Thomas this is a very unfortunate paragraph:
As recently as two days before Christmas, there were three (3) major black candidates running for Mayor of Chicago.  With the trio threatening to divide their natural base of support, there was muffled laughter in the other candidate camps at the political disorganization and disunity in the African-American community.
As unbelievable as it is, there may be a path to victory for former Sen. Moseley Braun:
It leaves Braun as the major African-American candidate running for mayor in a city where black voters routinely make up 40-45% of Chicago's election turnout.

  She also is the highest-profile female candidate running for mayor.

  Braun's emergence as the "consensus" African-American candidate would seem to virtually assure a first or second place finish on February 22nd.   And if she is able to consolidate her base in the black wards, it is not unfathomable that she could reach out to enough voters citywide to win a 50-percent-plus-one victory in the first round.
BTW, did you know our former White House chief of staff and mayoral frontrunner instead of campaigning here in the city, he chose to take a holiday in Thailand?

It's really hard to get worked up for this race, I mean really!

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