At this time next year we might have one Black elected official in state office: Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick. He’s got a double-digit lead at the moment.
The reality check comes courtesy of The Washington Post‘s Perry Bacon Jr. who points out that Obama’s entry into the White House didn’t open the doors to a post-racial election landscape. Gov. Patrick aside, Artur Davis lost in Alabama, and the Black governors of New York and Illinois have opted out of running. Rep. Kendrick Meek’s chances to become a Florida Democrat senator rest on the chance his opponents split the conservative vote.
Bacon does well enumerating the factors at play: connections to corruption, scandals, being a Democrat this year. Then writes: "Black voters and activists, perhaps because of doubts about the black candidates’ ability to win, have not rallied around these candidates as they did Obama." He follows that up with a quote from a pollster saying Obama was unique.
Call me crazy but I don’t think there’s anything unique about Black voters wanting candidates who are going to win, who aren’t going to be tied to a scandal or busy voting against health care reform.
The bigger question is why politicians of color aren’t moving up in the political food chain. Christopher Edley, a Clinton adviser, tells Bacon: "If you look at lower office levels or state legislatures, I think the picture is dramatically better, but we haven’been able to bring enough people up from there."