August 30, 2002

LESSONS FROM CYNTHIA MCKINNEY’S DEFEAT: Michael Barone is on target, as usual.

UPDATE: This piece by Earl Ofari Hutchinson in The Black World Today sounds a similar theme:

Majette did not beat McKinney by a razor thin margin. She trounced her. Blacks make up nearly half of the voters in her district. If McKinney had captured the solid black vote that her supporters claimed she would get, it would have pushed her over the top, or at the very least, made the election much closer than it was.

McKinney’s bombast on the Middle-East, her assault on Bush’s war on terrorism, and grandstand offer to take Saudi money was yet another troubling sign of the penchant of many black elected officials to grab at showy, chic issues to get attention rather than presenting, quiet, and thoughtful solutions to the problems of poverty, failing public schools, crime, gang and drug violence, and the near pandemic of HIV/AIDS that has taken a massive toll on middle-class and poor blacks. . . .

The political disconnect of black politicians such as McKinney from black voters has caused their free fall from important state and national offices. In the past two years they have lost mayoral races to whites in the majority or near majority black cities of Baltimore and Oakland. The number of black state legislators has plummeted in the California legislature in the past decade. They have lost dozens of local and municipal offices nationwide. But they haven’t learned very much from their slide.

Yes. Reading some of the coverage, you’d almost forget that Cynthia McKinney was beaten by another black woman.