The Washington Post reports on “the racial undercurrents of city politics” that loom over the upcoming city council election in Washington, D.C. The city is no longer majority Black due to the influx of young Whites and, says the Post, this development threatens the hold of Black establishment politicians.
That’s a normal development. However, the ideological consequences of this demographic shift might be surprising to those who haven’t been paying attention.
According to the Post, the new, young White residents are pushing D.C. politics to the left. Members of the Black political establishment fear being “sidelined” by these voters:
Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie, a business-friendly moderate, said some self-described progressives don’t grasp the anxiety among Black voters unsure of their place in a changing city.
“There is a segment of the District within the Black community that I hear from who are not sure what the progressive agenda is, or whether the progressive agenda includes them,” said McDuffie, who is Black. “[People] are talking about bike lanes . . . while they’re struggling to pay their rent.”
BLM, of course, sides with the woke White progressives against the Black establishment.
The clash has two elements. The first is the ideological one. The second is pure identity politics. Will the city elect Blacks or Whites to its council?
For some White liberals, the solution is to find Black candidates who take woke positions:
[A] summer of Black Lives Matter protests. . .has prompted some White liberals to shift their support [away from the White progressive candidate] to former council aide Christina Henderson or Ward 8 school board member Markus Batchelor, both of whom are Black and left-leaning.
Hey, why not try to get Black politicians to front for your woke, Green, anti-business agenda?
There’s more in the Post’s report about the machinations behind the city council race. Much of it is of the “pass the popcorn” variety — provided one doesn’t live in Washington, D.C.
The point I want to make, though, is that the same ideological clash the Post describes here exists nationally. Let’s not forget that the White portion of the national Democratic base was merrily on its way to nominating Bernie Sanders for president. It was only when Black voters weighed in, starting with the South Carolina primary, that Joe Biden began to overtake Sanders. Without the solid support of Black voters, Biden wouldn’t have prevailed.
If there is a critical mass of non-radical Democrats these days, it’s Black Dems. Old-fashioned working class White Democrats have migrated away from the party. The ones who remain lack influence. That’s why none of the relatively moderate candidates in the Democratic field — John Delaney, Michael Bennet, Tim Ryan, John Hickenlooper, and Tulsi Gabbard — got any traction.
It was also noteworthy that the two charismatic left-wing Black candidates — Kamala Harris and Cory Booker — couldn’t gain serious traction, either. They hoped to capture the Black vote, but had very little appeal to Blacks. It was Joe Biden, running to the right of Harris and Booker, to whom Black voters flocked.
All of which sets up an interesting future for the Democratic Party. And that’s without taking into account what surely will be an increasingly large and frisky Latino component.