Despite Wishful Thinking, No “Post-Racial Politics” In Atlanta Mayoral Race


[Previously by Ellison Lodge:


White Identity Politics Working in Atlanta
]

After a recount, Kassim Reed edged
out Mary Norwood by 714 votes in Atlanta`s Mayoral
run-off election held December 1. Norwood is asking for
another recount and her supporters are complaining about

voter irregularities
—something not uncommon in
black-run cities—but it`s a safe bet that Reed will
represent the

"city too busy to hate"
for another four years.

On
November 3, Norwood, who is white, had won a strong
plurality with 46% of the vote in a three way race
against black candidates Reed and Lisa Borders who
received 36% and 14% respectively. Both Borders` and
Reed`s support came

almost exclusively from African Americans.
The
obvious implication after the first round of voting: For
Reed to win the run-off, almost all of Borders` black
voters would need to switch to his camp.

Borders
endorsed Reed, who did duly win the vast majority of the

black vote
. That was enough to beat out Norwood


Norwood

ran as well about as a white candidate could in w:st="on">Atlanta. She won

almost all the white vote
, while still managing to
win over a significant number of blacks. With blacks
leaving the city while whites and

immigrants
moved in, it looked like she could pull
it off. But when the dust settled, w:st="on">Atlanta is still 54% black
and 35% white, and that is not enough to elect a white
mayor.

Amazingly, a number of
“conservatives”
saw the election as the vindication of
“post-racial”
politics. In a rambling column,


Atlanta Reaching Toward Post-Racial Politics
on in Townhall.com, Newt Gingrich`s daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman
tries to demonstrate that
“This race has
been about more than race.”

Her evidence: Ralph Long, a
“handsome and
African-American state rep”
endorsed Norwood,
though she qualified that he was
“one of the few elected officials to endorse”
her.
Long told Cushman that he received "a
lot of negative and nasty stuff … but also a lot of
respect and beautiful e-mails from across the city of w:st="on">Atlanta.”
Cushman

did not report the race
of those who sent
negative
and nasty stuff
and who sent the
“beautiful
e-mails,”
but I can take a guess.

She also pointed out that w:st="on">Norwood`s crowd on election night
“was diverse in
terms of race, sexual orientation and political
affiliations.”

But with whites

only a third of Atlanta`s population,
Norwood`s
crowd needed to be diverse in order for Norwood to have
a shot. That a small number of blacks are willing to
support a white candidate does not make an election
“post-racial.”

What about Reed`s crowd? According
to Cushman,

“Reed, in a dark suit, white shirt and shiny silver tie, [at least
in DC, the only people who wear shiny silver ties are
black lobbyists]
appeared on stage at the hotel`s ballroom. Signaling No.
1 with his hand, Reed claimed victory to a large,
primarily African-American, crowd.”

Also belying Gingrich`s claim that
this election was
“post-racial”
is her interview with a white Norwood
supporter,

“Phil Newman, a
white Norwood poll-watcher, took time off work to watch
two precincts in Atlanta`s largely black south side…

“A van adorned
with Reed banners pulled within 150 feet of the polling
station, in violation of the law, he said. When Newman
asked the van to move, a Reed campaign

poll-watcher
threatened Newman, saying, I`m going to
get you — I`m going to kick your ass.`

“Newman `no
longer felt safe at the poll,` noting that one resident
had told him that `the police won`t come here.` Newman
said he thought a Norwood victory would change that. He
stayed until the polls closed.”
[Atlanta
Reaching Toward Post-Racial Politics
,
by Jackie
Gingrich Cushman, Townhall.com, December 3, 2009]

A
similarly titled Op-Ed, Michael A. DeVine`s


“Post-racial politics in America advance after Atlanta
mayoral run-off”
[Atlanta
Law & Politics Examiner
, December 4, 2009] made even
absurd claims of the
“post-racial” nature of the election. According to DeVine, w:st="on">Norwood
“lost white GOP
votes to Reed”
because she distanced herself from
her past Republican in the non-partisan election.

I`m sure some whites stayed home
because of that, but the idea that they`d be vote for
the black left-wing candidate who campaigns with

Ludacris
is absurd. Moreover, whites who actually
live in the city of Atlanta tend to be pretty liberal,
so it`s likely that Norwood would have lost many of
those votes if she had not downplayed her Republican
image (which she did only after race-baiting mailers
were sent by the state Democratic Party stating
“Norwood`s campaign is financed by the same Republican money men who
funded John McCain`s

hate-filled campaign
against Barack Obama”).

Now that the election is over,
DeVine believes that race will have nothing to do with
how Atlantans perceive Reed`s job performance.

“The job of governing Atlanta that Kasim Reed inherits, will be colored
black only in the sense that he will be judged on
whether he can keep the balanced budget inherited
from Shirley Franklin, in the black, and for that he
will need green, especially from the State of Georgia
and whether he can stop the `black flight` to the
suburbs, not because they are black voters, but because
of the lost green revenue.”

What planet is he living on? Black
citizens standing by completely inept and

corrupt black mayors
in

majority black cities
is a fact of life in American
politics. The only way to remove the

Kwame Kilpatricks
and

Marion Barrys
from office is by

sending them to jail
.

The fact that Atlanta is becoming
gentrified means that

black politicians
there will be held to a slightly
higher standard—but that is not the result of
“post racial
politics.”

DeVine claims that
“Most

post-racial Americans
are conservatives and
Republicans that have moved on, especially in the
South,”
and concludes,
“leave the racial
obsessions to the left, drive-by media, and Democrats,
like Maureen
Dowd
.”

If white conservatives keep pretending to be
“post racial” while Democrats and minorities impose their

anti-white agenda
, they`ll never achieve a win.

As I said in my previous column on the Atlanta race,
a white candidate and certainly a Republican candidate
would have absolutely no chance of getting elected to
mayor were it not for the non-partisan, multi-candidate
system. DeVine can bemoan Norwood distancing herself
from the GOP all he wants, but that was an electoral
necessity driven by racial demographics of Atlanta.

Atlanta
might be getting a little whiter. But as the
white share of the population
in America as a whole
shrinks, there may very well come a time when a white
man, much less a Republican, cannot be elected
president.

Ellison Lodge (email
him) works on Capitol
Hill.