More Out-of-Control Identity Politics: Blacks, Latinos Concerned That a ‘Non-Person of Color’ Might Win NYC Council Seat
In a story the New York Times appears not to have touched, Hunter Walker at Observer.com’s Politicker (“about” page is here) reported on Tuesday that Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a black Harlem activist, “circulated an email” Monday night “in an attempt to plan a ‘private meeting’ to ‘discuss the potential damage to the political empowerment of the Black and Hispanic community if Mark Levine, a White/Jewish candidate was elected to the 7th Council District in 2013.’” So we see that black Chicagoland establishment officials trying to ensure that the successor to the recently resigned Jesse Jackson Jr. in Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District are not alone in seeing a political office as somehow “belonging” to them.
The Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required) has also picked up the story (“Race, Religion Used as Basis For an Attack”). Verbiage from the Politicker report, along with separate comments from James Taranto at the WSJ’s Best of the Web, follow the jump (internal links are in originals; bolds are mine throughout this post):
This morning, Mr. Lopez-Pierre told Politicker he isn’t organizing the meeting himself and is working on behalf of a larger group who became concerned when they read a report on the political blog The Perez Notes that the Upper Manhattan political machine headed by State Senator Adriano Espaillat and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez has been working to “clear” the crowded field of candidates running for the seat to help Mr. Levine win.
“Now that he actually has a chance to win it’s scaring people,” said Mr. Lopez-Pierre. “So, what started first as a discussion of the blog post has now mushroomed among candidates and community leaders into basically a ‘Stop Levine’ campaign.”
The race to replace Mr. Jackson in the 7th District is shaping up to be one of next year’s most hotly-contested Council campaigns. In addition to Mr. Levine, who is a local district leader and founder of the Barack Obama Democratic Club, and Mr. Lopez-Pierre, there have been at least eight other candidates eyeing the seat. These hopefuls include local power broker and district leader Maria Luna, Socrates Solano, an aide to Congressman Charlie Rangel, Cheryl Pahaham, the outgoing vice chair of Community Board 12, and another district leader, Marisol Alcantara.
Mr. Lopez-Pierre registered to run for the seat last month. He is also running to be a district leader in the 69th Assembly District, which includes parts of the Upper West Side and Harlem. In June, Mr. Lopez-Pierre launched a political club in the district called the Douglass Grant Democratic Club. Earlier this year, Mr. Lopez-Pierre, who operates several real estate businesses in Harlem, also formed a political action committee dedicated to backing candidates who would support more charter schools in the area.
… In his email announcing the meeting about Mr. Levine, Mr. Lopez-Pierre identifies himself as the chair of the Douglass Grant club and said he has spoken to “a number of Black and Hispanic candidates and Black and Hispanic community leaders” who share concerns that Mr. Levine could win without the support of the area’s predominantly African-American and Latino voters because there are so many candidates running for the seat.
“The purpose of the private meeting would be to rally support behind one Black candidate and one Hispanic candidate in order to provide Black and Hispanic voters with a less confusing selection of candidates to consider,” Mr. Lopez-Pierre wrote. “A number of community leaders have expressed the dire concern that with so many Black and Hispanic candidates planning to run for the 7th Council District that Mark Levine would sneak into office (like a thief in the night).”
… “It’s about progress….How can the Latino community explode in population and then we get a non-Person of Color as a Council person?” Mr. Lopez-Pierre asked. “The Black and Puerto Rican Caucus at the City Council will be negative one if something isn’t done next year.”
Here is Taranto’s perspective from a section of his column entitled “Dispatches From Most-Racial America,” wherein he draws what should be (but probably won’t be) considered a powerful parallel:
Lopez-Pierre tells the Journal that he favors “black empowerment.” The story confirms our observation Monday that such “empowerment” is increasingly coming to mean antiwhite bigotry. The Journal notes that various worthies, including the Anti-Defamation League, Citizens Union and Jackson, the departing councilman, have criticized his remarks.
If the Democratic Party really stands for equality, shouldn’t Bill Clinton and Barack Obama also weigh in with a condemnation? If that seems too much to ask, consider that Ronald Reagan and then-President Bush both did so when David Duke, an advocate of white “empowerment,” ran as a Republican for a Louisiana state legislative seat in 1989.
You can virtually guarantee that there will be no equivalent media pressure on President Obama to condemn the overt racism on display, either in IL-02 or in the New York City Council race. I doubt whether anyone besides Politico in the establishment press, which picked up the IL-02 story yesterday, will even cover either situation.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.