Wednesday, August 09, 2006

GA - McKinney's Loss A Signal of Change to Come ...

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is now former Rep. as she gets severely beaten in last night's District 4 run-off against former Dekalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson, Jr. Recent observations and Johnson camp worry over McKinney's ability to tap into a political mobilization machine at the eleventh hour seemed unfounded as turnout was relatively low last night.

Analysts predict this is the beginning of the political end for the outspoken McKinney, who trailed by 18 percentage points with 100% of precincts reporting. As we see in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“It’s the end of her political career,” University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock said. “I can’t think of anyone who’s come back from two primary defeats. It’s done some real damage to the notion that she’s got this loyal electorate that she can snap her fingers and mobilize.”

The defeat means McKinney will carry a double-loser label — she was beaten by fellow Democrat Denise Majette in 2002 — a fact that is likely to make it difficult for her to raise money for future races. Johnson, meanwhile, will be in prime position to consolidate his power and broaden his political base on what McKinney considered her home turf.

However, more than likely, McKinney will use this loss to portray herself as a political martyr taken out by a two-prong attack from Republicans seething over her vitriolic anti-Bush rhetoric and 9/11 theories and a rather active Jewish electorate angered over remarks from her father and her pro-Palestinian stands. There is an active segment within the Black political spectrum that will, predictably, paint her loss as part of a larger "design" to oust outspoken African American politicians. We agree with this assessment to some degree - African American activists/social justice advocates who opt to enter the political realm are in for rude awakenings once they find their original platforms silenced by compromises, legislative art and back room deals. The unfortunate side of that equation is that it further disenfranchises the truly disadvantaged.

Our prediction: the Johnson win in District 4 signals the continuing devolution of the "authenticity assumption." Black candidates and elected officials beware: taxpayers, especially those African American, realize that it takes money to go to the market. It will take much more than fiery sermons, disruptive protests and civil rights language to stir districts, specifically areas that are heavily Black. Overall, majority African American districts are still naturally attracted to candidates that look like them. But, as the educated and affluent Black middle and professional class continues to grow, voters are gravitating increasingly to candidates that are skilled in the business of governing. Voters want to know what you can do for them, not how well you say it.


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