Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rahm Emanuel Won With A Diverse Voting Bloc In Chicago, But How?

I don't actually care about the how the way most people do. I'm not fascinated the Rahm managed to get a significant chunk of the black vote. Carol Moseley Braun alienated a lot of people. She should have known running on the "I'm black so vote for me" platform wasn't going to cut it.

She didn't have the man power to get out the vote, nor did she have the younger blacks. Even if she got every eligible black vote in the city, that's still only one third of the population, assuming we're registered to vote in proportionate numbers. But whatever, this post is supposed to be about Rahm Emanuel.

This is what the Sun-Times had to say about why he won such a huge portion of the black vote. Here's what I think did it:

1. Carol Moseley Braun sucked in this race.
If you haven't seen the clip of the debate that Rahm Emmanuel smartly didn't attend, you should. Another of the candidates accuses Braun of being missing for 20 years. Braun responds by accusing the woman of being a drug addict. I've never watched the clip because it's so ridiculous, but I did try and find it. I hope this link is it. Pretty much after that, her chances were over. And her community outreach team sucked. You can't win an election if you can't get people out to vote.
2. He's Obama's guy.
Black folk in this city love Obama. There's no doubting that. Because he's Obama's guy, he got a portion of the black vote. Especially the younger black people who hadn't heard of de Valle and were fed up with Braun.
3. He went non-traditional in reaching out to the black community
Black folks are feeling as anti-establishment as anyone else. Rahm felt like an outsider because he's been in D.C. And he didn't do the usual process of seeking out approval from the big pastor and the Jacksons (Rev. Jesse and his crew to be exact) followed by a Sunday trek through black churches. He talked to people out on the street. That struck a chord because people were seeing something different.

Rahm Emmanuel did do well for the Asian and Latino votes as well, but of course in Chicago, those stories aren't as well covered. This city will learn the lesson one day about not paying attention to a growing minority. Blacks have been fighting the pay-attention-to-me fight since before Harold Washington was mayor. That's just the first time we got listened to. Maybe now with de Valle's following, they'll pay more attention to Latinos. And with an Indian-American Alderman, maybe they'll pay more attention to Asians.

All I know is the Census numbers show that whites don't make up enough of the population to win elections without reaching out to minorities. And because of that fact, Rahm Emanuel was able to win a decisive victory with a diverse racial voting bloc. Good for him. I wish the rest of the country was the same.

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