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Thursday, August 22, 2002

Black Political Evolution-I'm not sure if Cynthia McKinney's loss Tuesday is part of a greater trend, but it might start to signal a desire of the black voter to move away from the fight-the-man civil activist type towards a more positive and managerial attitude towards governance. In most big black-oriented cities, mayoral politics has moved away from the race-card-playing populists like Coleman Young, Marion Barry and David Dinkins and towards a younger, problem-solving generation of leaders like Dennis Archer, Mike White, Kurt Schmoke and Anthony Williams. The legislature lends itself more to bomb-throwers, as they will be less likely to screw things up with a vote than by managing things, but even there, the voters will eventually want something more than red meat rhetoric. In Georgia, voters went for someone who could be a legislator rather than a ideologue. It will be hard to displace many of the bomb-throwers on the left, since the solidly Democratic districts preclude a general-election challenge, but we've seen two races (McKinney and Hilliard) where black incumbents were ousted in the Democratic primary. This might not turn blacks into GOP voters, but it might lead to a more rational breed of black legislator who can be reasoned with.

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