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Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick: Rough Sailing Ahead.

Incumbent Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, might face trouble at the ballot box this November, according to a recent poll.


Laura Berman of The Detroit News, explains Kilpatrick's problems:

If the city is staggering under the weight and cost of too many municipal employees and taxes and too little to show for either, its national profile as a mess of startling proportions is only rising.

Toss in a 47 percent illiteracy rate, a fleeing middle-class, crime and a schools crisis and you don't need a mayor's red Navigator to raise red flags.

These latest polling numbers show that citizens are worried and angry and, at least right here and right now, prepared to oust an incumbent mayor.

The Detroit Free Press explains that people are voting with their feet, and they just may vote at the ballot box as well:

At a time when Detroit is losing people at about the same rate as water gushed Wednesday from a broken main on Jefferson Avenue, the survey results can be interpreted to mean that those who can get out of town will continue to do so....

In short, Detroiters are an unhappy, restless lot and the region's shifting demographics show that those with the means are likely to keep "voting with their feet," seeking better living elsewhere. For many in a city that is 90 percent African American, that will mean leaving a racial comfort zone for the mostly white suburbs -- and the prospect of a safer, cleaner life with better public schools and government services for less taxes, even if that means encountering some racial hostility.

One solid reason to oppose Kwame Kilpatrick, and, for that matter, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (who has also faded dramatically in polls since her sky-high early days in office):

Kilpatrick and Granholm both put liberal ideology ahead of common sense pragmatism; they both put their allegiance to interest groups ahead of doing the right thing.

Specifically, when they did this:

...a Republican businessman, Robert Thompson, offered a staggering $400 million to fund more charter schools in Detroit, only to be rejected by a Democratic city council in thrall to powerful teacher unions. Democratic mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, whose own children attend charter schools, cast his lot with the unions instead of with Detroit's children.

Think about that for a moment.

Think about that kind of hypocrisy. The man sends his own kids to charter schools, but instead of doing something to help his dilapidated city (and $400,000,000.00 is a lot of money), Kilpatrick defaulted to the "correct" partisan issue position: Just Say No.

Pretty unbelievable.

Kilpatrick does have some advantages, such as a small army working for him, the power of the incumbency, and a huge war chest. And regardless of what happens, there is but a micron's chance that a Republican would take office there. But Kilpatrick's potential rejection does say something important about American politics today.

African-American voters may be starting to feel like their leaders are not being true to their end of the bargain. Supporting a party 90-10 usually comes with some benefits. On issues like vouchers, charter schools, gay marriage, and other social issues, the leadership of the Democratic Party is out of step with blacks. Indeed, the entire array of liberal social engineering experiments of the 1960s and beyond have destroyed cities and created a harmful culture of dependency. African-Americans may determine that they want to re-think their political allegiance, or at least renegotiate their current contract.

While nobody should expect African-Americans to switch their allegiances from Democrats to Republicans, a mere shift of support from 90-10 to 65-35 could really solidify long-term Republican majorities. At the very least, a shift like that would tell the Democrats to stop taking the black vote for granted.

Posted by Will Franklin · 7 April 2005 05:59 PM


I don't think political motivation for any voting group, black or white, is based on anything other than jobs. I know that Republicans always claim to be responsible for job creation, but history shows job creation is higher in Democratic presidencies. The claim is perpetually made that job creation is a delayed-reaction phenomenon. I must say, in light of that statement, that it's incredibly suspicious that this seems to happen to virtually every Republican president. The fact is that people vote because of motivators. Those who scare them get votes but so do those who find them good jobs.

Posted by: Joseph (Advocate of Democracy) at April 7, 2005 08:31 PM