Friday, October 14, 2005

Looking Back on the Democratic Primary

I've been putting off touching on Krestia Degeorge's City paper article concerning the Democratic Mayoral primary for a while, mostly because I couldn't hammer down what I wanted to say about. The reason I had trouble is that Degorge manages to do some pretty thorough reporting and there isn't much left to say about it.

The political reporting in the The City is usually pretty good. Reading it is a good way to come by some information that you may not get through mainstream sources. This article is no exception and is a must read if you want to get a feel for how the local Democratic party is doing.

I heard about the Norwood t-shirts with the cautionary "Don't Sell Out", but the article comes with other details:

Speaking to the Democrat and Chronicle in the aftermath of his protage Wade Norwood's defeat, Assemblymember David Gantt cited race as the deciding factor. And that's true --- to a point. The districts Norwood took are majority black districts, just as those Duffy carried tend to be mainly white. But a closer look at the numbers shows that Duffy made inroads into predominantly minority communities; Norwood's margin of victory in the three districts he carried was less the Duffy's in many of his districts.

And race wouldn't be as huge an issue for the recuperating party if it hadn't been actively used in the campaign.

City Councilman Adam McFadden drew heavy criticism for creating Norwood shirts bearing the slogan "Don't sell out." They were widely viewed as being targeted at African Americans considering voting for Duffy. The comments section of WHAM radio talk-show host Bob Lonsberry's website sprouted racist attacks on Norwood. That in turn prompted the Norwood campaign to criticize Duffy for not distancing himself from Lonsberry. And Norwood received the last-minute blessing of civil-rights activist Al Sharpton. (Whether this helped or hurt is unclear; in New York City, which is big enough to have regular polls on this kind of thing, Sharpton's eleventh-hour endorsement of Fernando Ferrer appears to have hurt him more among whites than it helped him among blacks.)

We want race problems to go away so much that sometimes we put blinders on to it. Maybe we need to talk about it more. However, in this case, I find it hard to think that race was a major factor. Duffy wouldn't have been able to cobble together much of a win without cross-over appeal. I don't care much about color myself. In this case, it has more to do with who is aligned with Gannt and McFadden. I support Mayor Johnson, and, last time I checked, he was black. No big deal.

That would look good on a t-shirt: Skin Color? No Big Deal.

Back to the article though. I don't think this will be much of a blow to Morelle. As has been discussed on these pages, the slate of candidates were already in place before Morelle took control of the party. Understandably, he still hails from the faction of Gannt and company, so just because I don't think he'll hang for the primary results, he still could hang for something else.

Regardless of that, Morelle has done a good job with outreach and fund raising. The website is still a mess though, but that'll have to change soon. That party will get through this and will likely be stronger for it. However, I don't foresee the kind of lockstep automation that exists in the GOP.

Speaking of websites and the GOP check out their opening flash animation on their homepage. I won't link to it, for the same reason I don't touch dead rats, because of filth and disease. But go to and check out where they put their emphasis with that animation.

.22 caliber minds living in a .357 world