White Identity Politics Working in Atlanta

In the wake of the November 3
elections, conventional commentators haven`t been able
to stop themselves urging the GOP toward the fatal
. Neither can they give up the myth that

Obama has transcended race

“Amid all the
parsing of ideological and partisan trends in last
night`s races, it seems worth noting (as I started to,
in a sleepy way, early this morning) another: In big
city mayor`s races, voters chose candidates not like
them. African-American Atlanta gave a
plurality to a


white woman… In any case, a data point for the Obama
loser: Identity politics
, by Ben Smith,
Politico, November 4, 2009]

Bunk. Contra Smith, the race in Atlanta, which will
be decided by a December 1 run-off between a white and
black candidate, is just another example of Peter

adage that
“Demography is
destiny in American politics”.

Recent mayoral politics in

majority African American cities
can be summed up in
one simple phrase:
“Once you go
black you

never go back
” As whites

fled the cities
to avoid
urban crime
and bad schools, blacks became
majorities in many major cities and then dominated their
politics. Blacks vote on racial lines, and once they get
power in a city,

they will not let go
. After the first black mayor
got elected in Atlanta, Detroit, Memphis, The

District of Columbia
, New Orleans, and Birmingham,
every subsequent mayor has been African American.

As it happens, the last few weeks
have been tough for black mayors.
 On October 14th
and October 22, The IRS put a

on Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums`s two homes for
239,000 dollars in unpaid taxes. On October 28, a jury


mayor Larry Langford on 60 counts of conspiracy,
bribery, fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax
returns.  The next
day, a federal grand jury

to decide whether to indict former Memphis
Mayor Willie Herenton on ethics charges.
 And on November
9, Monday, Baltimore Mayor Shelia Dixon went on

for embezzlement.

But while black mayors` legal and
ethical woes are nothing new, the biggest blow against
them came on November 3 in Atlanta. Voters gave white
candidate Mary Norwood a 46% plurality over black
candidates Kassim Reed and Lisa Borders, who received
36% and 14% respectively. Norwood will face Reed in the
December 1 runoff.

In 1973, Atlantans elected

Maynard Jackson
who became the first African
American mayor of a large Southern City. He was followed

Andrew Young
, himself, Bill Campbell, and Shirley
Franklin—all African Americans. But Norwood is in a good
position to end this run.

But while what Politico`s Smith calls
“African American
” gave Norwood the plurality of votes,
African Americans in Atlanta did not. No exit polls were
taken, but a

Survey USA poll
taken prior to the race, which
correctly gave Norwood 46% of the vote, also showed her
receiving 70% of the white vote, but only 31% of the
black vote.

The Atlanta
Journal Constitution
broke down the vote by
precinct. Among its findings: 

  • Norwood
    won more than 58 percent of her vote from three
    predominantly white council districts — on the north and
    northeast sides of the city.”

  • “Reed won 57
    percent of his votes from five predominantly black
    council districts — on the east, west and south

  • “Some voters
    crossed over racial lines.

    did better in predominantly black council districts than
    Reed did in white council districts. She won 23 percent
    of the votes cast in black council districts, beating
    Borders` 15.5 percent there.”

  • “Reed won 14.5
    percent of the vote in predominantly white council
    districts, compared to Borders` 12.3 percent.”


  • “Turnout in white
    areas was about 10 points higher than in the black
    areas, but turnout everywhere was low (only about 30
    ).” [Voting
    along racial lines in mayor`s race
    , by Cameron
    McWhirter and John Perry, November 6, 2009]

Norwood is simply the political manifestation of the


mass immigration
that is now making
a little less African American. Writes
Governing magazine:  

“There is really
only one way to put it:

is becoming whiter, and at a pace that outstrips the
rest of the nation. The white share of the city`s
population, says Brookings Institution demographer
William Frey, grew faster between 2000 and 2006 than
that of any other U.S. city. It
increased from 31 percent in 2000 to 35 percent in 2006,
a numeric gain of 26,000, more than double the increase
between 1990 and 2000″
and the Urban Future
, by Rob Gurwitt, Governing,
July 1, 2008]

Of course, Hispanics and Asians are flooding into
Atlanta as well. Overall, the city`s black population
has decreased from 68% in 1990 to just 54% today.

But even with this growth, a white candidate would
have no chance if Atlanta had a normal partisan election

Blacks vote en
for black candidates and Democratic candidates,
but (as demonstrated by repeated failed attempts by the
GOP to win with the

Michael Steeles
of the world) their strongest
loyalty lies with the Democrats. Blacks make up much
more than 54% of the Democratic voters in Atlanta. So
the black would easily win the Democratic primary.
Thereafter, between blacks, Hispanics, and liberal
whites, the Democrat would be a sure pick in the general

But the mayor of Atlanta is elected
in a run-off system, where all candidates run against
each other without listing party affiliation. If no one
receives the majority of the votes, then the top two
candidates will go in a runoff election.

Norwood appears to be somewhat of
an independent. She attended the 1999 Republican
convention and had described herself as purple. But in
the run-up to the campaign, she tried to solidify her
Democratic credentials and emphasized her support for

Of course, this did not keep her
opponents from attempting to smear her as a Republican.
The Democratic Party of Georgia sent out mailers
“Norwood`s campaign is financed by the same Republican
money men who funded John McCain`s

hate-filled campaign
against Barack Obama”
urged voters to support either of her black opponents. [Norwood
Defends Personal Voting Record after Democratic Attack
, Matthew Cardinale,
Progressive News
, November 2, 2009"]

Some major black figures recognize
that the multiple candidate system would split the black
vote. Aaron Turpeau, a city hall fixture in
who served as Maynard Jackson`s chief
of staff, distributed a memo written by two black Clark University
professors on behalf of a group called the Black
Leadership Forum.

According to the memo,

“the changing demographics which show a more rapid growth in the city`s
white population (faster and a higher percentage than
anywhere else in the country) requires that we
critically evaluate all candidates;”…

“With the `Black
Mayor first` approach there is an unstated assumption
that having a black mayor in Atlanta is equal to having
a black social, economic and political agenda or at
least someone in office who would be sensitive to that
agenda if not a full promoter of that agenda”
memo that`s about to shake the Atlanta mayor`s race
Jim Galloway,
Atlanta Journal Constitution
, August 27, 2009]

The Black Leadership Forum
suggested that all blacks rally around candidate Lisa
Borders to unify blacks against the white Norwood. But
when it became public, their memo actually backfired by
waking many white Atlantans how many blacks really view
them in the so-called

 "City Too Busy to

Kasim Reed unsurprisingly denounced
the memo. But it will be interesting to see whether he
opposes playing black racial politics when it`s not used
to rally blacks against him.

Smith may see Norwood as a

Martin Luther King
-quoting post-racialist. But when
you`re up against such obvious anti-white animus, just a
few nudges can help motivate the white electorate in
your direction.

One of Norwood`s most effective ads
began with her standing at the location of a few murders
and in a parking lot where 38 cars were broken into in a
single night. Norwood commented:

“We have 500 repeat offenders, but city hall lost track of 100 million
dollars and had to furlough police. I`m Mary Norwood as
a mayor, I`ll bring back basic accounting skills and
hold people accountable so we can hire more police. In a
great city, everyone should feel safe.” "Right
Mary Norwood for Mayor, Youtube, October
15, 2009]

One black leftist blog attacked Norwood`s ads stating;
“The operative phrases are crime, accountability and public safety.
That`s nigger, 2009 style.”
Norwood`s Racial Politics
, Can`t Hold my Tongue,
October 21, 2009"]


black crime in Atlanta
along with the

frequent corruption of black politicians
, there is a
grain of truth in this claim.

Following the election, a young
blonde Atlantan told the local ABC affiliate her hopes
of how Norwood
would change the city,

Atlanta won`t be known as

Hip Hop Slang for
anymore. Won`t be known as the place where rappers are.
We`ll have a clean safe city where white people can
relate to.”
Mayor Election 2009 Voter reaction: Its always about
, Youtube, November 3, 2009]

Hate speech! This young lady is no
doubt headed for
. But with Kassim Reed

with the explicitly anti-white rapper
Ludacris—known for his

the White House black and I`m sure that`s got `em
terrified/McCain don`t belong in any chair unless he`s
“—her concerns about image are perfectly

Thus far, both Reed and Norwood are
desperately trying to avoid the topic of race to prevent
any backlash. But it`s hard to imagine it not coming up
in the coming weeks—particularly if Reed really wants to

While we shouldn`t expect Mary
Norwood to lobby for putting the Confederate Navy Jack
back in the
Georgia Flag,
whites should still be heartened her
success. By moving back into the city they were
displaced from, and by voting in a bloc, whites are
slowly taking back Atlanta.

Don`t expect Republicans to pay attention.

Ellison Lodge (email
him) works on Capitol