Friday, August 08, 2008

Let the Haters Hate

To the Memphis Electorate:

My two posts on the subject obviously made clear that I was concerned about the outcome of the race between Steve Cohen and Nikki Tinker. Tinker had run a demagogic and anti-Semitic campaign that was beneath everyone's dignity. But, paranoid as I am, I was worried that it would make inroads.

I, and everyone else who even considered you would fall for that crap, owe you all an apology.

I said in one of my posts that a resounding victory for Cohen would represent a tremendous vote of confidence in the Black/Jewish relationship. With Cohen's crushing 60 point win, I'd say you all more than delivered.

An early internal poll for Steve Cohen had him up 63-11 over Tinker. Normally, you'd expect a primary race to tighten (and normally you'd expect internal polls to be overly optimistic). The final tally was Cohen 79, Tinker 19. Cohen actually expanded his lead as the campaign went on -- a clear single that Memphis voters rejected and repudiated Tinker's scandalous campaign strategy.

The Skeptical Brotha writes:
Black voters, especially those of us in the South, have always been able to judge our politicians by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. We’re never given credit for having that ability when racially polarizing tactics are injected into a political race by one of us, but we’ve always had it and always will. Now Mr. Cohen can go back to the halls of power confident in the knowledge that he has unequivocally earned the trust of a majority of his black constituents. In order to keep it, he must continue to provide the same common sense, progressive leadership that has been known as his trademark.

He's right, and I should have known better. There have been several Southern Black representatives that have, for various reasons, earned the ire of the Jewish community: Cynthia McKinney and Earl Hilliard being the highest profile. In both cases, the Black community responded by electing representatives that are truly representative of people of all backgrounds. Their political friendship -- across all issues -- has been unassailable. Yet, I let fear and stereotyping blind me to that history. I will try not to make this mistake again.

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