Sunday, April 23, 2006

Nagin weathers the storm …

Phase one of the contest for Mayor of New Orleans turned out pretty much as has been predicted for weeks now. Also predictable was the theme of the runoff; Peter Whoriskey of the Washington Post notes that “Incumbent, Challenger Call for an End to Racial Divisiveness.”

And public statements by the two remaining candidates will probably try to keep any such divisiveness out of the public eye. Still I am fairly certain that there will be some discussion about one or both candidates using “the race card.”

An earlier article by Whoriskey sets the stage: “But with the post-storm diaspora tilting voter demographics somewhat toward whites and raising racial sensitivities on both sides, polls indicate and political analysts say that volatile racial allegiances have become pronounced. Nagin's shifting political base and his standing in the polls is a case in point.”

"Black voters are coming back to Nagin, not necessarily as a person but as a symbol of a racial regime," said Susan Howell, a pollster and professor at the University of New Orleans. "And in blunt terms, some white voters see this as an opportunity to take back power."

Adam Nossiter of the New York Times framed the results in a way that, I feel, is indicative of how voters will be discussing yesterday’s vote:

“Mr. Landrieu's showing Saturday put him in a strong position to become the first white mayor of New Orleans since his father, Moon Landrieu, left office in 1978. He is likely to pick up most of Mr. Forman's vote, almost exclusively concentrated in white precincts. In addition, Mr. Landrieu apparently picked up as much as 20 percent of the vote in black precincts, according to analysts on local television stations.

Mr. Nagin, however, the only major black candidate, polled better than expected, setting up what is likely to be an intense campaign between the two men over the next month. With turnout apparently low in black precincts, Mr. Nagin appealed for unity after the results were in.”

And Nagin continues to turn phrases: "If we don't come together as men and women, we will perish as fools," he said. "We must become comfortable with one another."

Let me know your views on the campaign and the candidates, as we follow the story for four more weeks.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


Post a Comment

<< Home