Beyond the Pelting Pot

Ethnic Politics are Getting More Complicated


In a close race, Latinos, Asians, and gays could swing the result. In each of these communities, there is more diversity than among blacks or whites.


Freddie Ferrer is a beneficiary of the closest thing to a minority alliance that exists in this city: the county organization of the Bronx. But this Puerto Rican has yet to light a fire in Harlem. Still, he's done a lot better than Badillo, who thought the key to victory for a Latino lay in an alliance with Italians. Ferrer has been more astute, taking pains to endorse Carl McCall, the only statewide black official and a candidate for governor. That may win Ferrer the Dinkins crowd, but their backing will no doubt be as hedged as Rangel's defense of Hevesi was. As for Sharpton, the Great Satan of Whitethnica, he just might endorse Ferrer, if only to spare Green the kiss of death.

Green is the only Democrat with a spuyten duyvil's chance of restoring the Lindsay coalition. He runs very well among blacks and respectably among Latinos; plus, he's hamishenough to suit the sizable remnant of liberal Jews. If the Democratic primary comes down to Green and Hevesi, as most political junkies think it will, these groups could prove decisive. But Hevesi's biggest selling point remains his appeal to Whitethnica. In a matchup against Michael Bloomberg, the likely Republican nominee, Green could end up being seen as a race traitor by outer-borough whites. That would be business as usual for New York, and it would go unspoken by Bloomberg, who, by presenting himself as a political outsider, is free to be the Golem in a business suit.

But there's another possibility. In a close race, Latinos, Asians, and gays could swing the result. In each of these communities, there is more diversity (ethnic and ideological) than among blacks or whites. All the candidates would be wise to court that flexibility even as they play to racial polarities. This election may not mark the fall of Whitethnica, but it could usher in an era in which religion and race are more complicated than meets the eye. A glorious mosaic this city ain't, but that sort of recombinant politics would be a lot better than the current pelting pot.


Research: Michael Corwin

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
New York Concert Tickets
Loading...