Monday, May 22, 2006

The Great Chocolate Hope

It’s not what I want to write about but earlier today I saw CNN Headline News running a story about New Orleans with the following byline, “Levee System Full of Holes?” Again, tell me something I don’t f..... know.

Now on to business; I’ve officially given up trying to figure out elections in Louisiana. Over the past 2 months I had the chance to solicit thoughts from various people about the New Orleans mayoral election. Almost to a person (male, female, liberal, conservative, criminal, musician, professional athlete, etc.) everyone told me Ray-Ray was doomed. The Chocolate City speech would do him in. Just to recap....

"I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day. This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be."

Well I thought he pissed off too many people like my friend Scott who happens to be a white Uptown homeowner to win. But lo and freakin behold on Saturday Ray Nagin defeated Mitch Landrieu to win a second term as mayor. I’m still not sure how exactly he won; maybe God liked the Chocolate City speech better than most? The most common explanation I’ve heard was the great support Nagin drew from the black community and a high number of “crossover” voters, crossover in this race apparently meaning white folks who have a strong dislike for any member of the Landrieu family running for public office.

But all and all it fits in perfectly with many of the crazy and altogether unpredictable Louisiana elections I’ve witnessed. KKK man David Duke hung around for way too long, getting over 40% of the vote in a 1990 U.S. senate race and almost 40% in his 1991 attempt to become governor. There were the two Mary Landrieu senate races in which the Democrats worked their New Orleans “vote farm” to perfection. And how can I forget the 2003 governor’s race where Kathleen Blanco defeated my fellow Baton Rouge High School alum “Bobby” Jindal. It’s amazing how many conservative white folks I heard complain about other conservative white folks who wouldn’t vote for Jindal because he has some “dark skin” or because they thought be looking like a Middle Eastern friend of that Osama guy. I found this long, but very good commentary on that election.....

So briefly back to Nagin, congrats on the great win. Dude I wish you all the best, you’re gonna need it.

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