On the question of the attorney general candidates, there is not much room left to discuss the possibility of a candidate of color. Not since the candidacy of Amos Williams, the African-American Vietnam War veteran and lawyer who was left to the political knackers after the party did little or nothing to help him raise money to fight Attorney General Mike Cox.
Richard Bernstein and David Leyton are duking it out for attorney general and Bernstein, who hails from an influential legal family, will most likely get the nomination.
After this Saturday’s political kumbaya gathering at Cobo, the party will come together for another “all hail the king” event in August when it nominates the candidate for governor to challenge the Republican nominee.
Presently, House Speaker Andy Dillon, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith are in the run for governor.
Smith has no chance of being the nominee even though she, like all the other candidates, has significant legislative experience. But some believe that she is not electable. However, that depends on who you talk to and what her state outreach has been.
There is an outcry for an African American on the gubernatorial ticket as lieutenant governor. Michigan has never had an African-American lieutenant governor and the party of “diversity” is being challenged now to make that a reality.
If Detroit, which votes 90 percent Democratic, the largest Democratic constituency in the state, is that significant to the foundation of the party’s existence, there should be no pause for a candidate of color on the gubernatorial ticket as second-in-command.
Democrats should show that they are bigger than the Tea Party movement and do what is required of them to present a diverse ticket and send a message to those who want to shift — all the way back to the 1950s.
An all-White ticket on a party platform that sings the mantra of diverse communities is an affront to those very communities who work tirelessly to get the votes for the party. It shows something deeper that perhaps we are yet to explore.
Does the party, in fact, believe in an inherent diverse political message that resonates with the communities that make up the very essence of the party?
Does the party believe in the distinctive attributes of various political voices?
Does the party believe in the eminence of democratic multiplicity?
Or does this party want to continue an oligarcy system where the minority rules at the expense of the majority?
Democrats, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., have an opportunity this year to “make real the promises of democracy” and offer a strong diverse ticket that can win.
This move does not require a surgical operation for it to happen. And those Black elected officials who are always happy to be paraded by the party to serve as a buffer to any demands for diversity owe Detroit better representation and advocacy this time around.
Too often in a rush to vindicate itself from its sins and transgressions against Black voters, the Democratic Party applys the laughable but cunningly disturbing method of dispatching certain Black elected officials as ambassadors to plead their indefensible case before Detroit constituents.
These elected officials, without bargaining anything substantial for Detroit or any other communities of color within the party, readily and gladly come in droves to the community in an apparent attempt to save the legacy of the party. Of course, their refrain of the party that salvaged civil rights, votings rights and every other justice oriented democratic proposal always hypnotizes those who would dare raise Socratic irony about the party’s commitment to diversity. Worst of all, such a carefully orchestrated campaign of doing the master’s bidding only serves to handicap the current demand for diversity.
Several African Americans have been mentioned for lieutenant governor should the party wake up from its slumber and realize that it is overdue. Following are some of the names been mentioned:
Dennis Archer, former Detroit mayor, brings a wealth of political as well as legal background to that role. Archer is the first Black to head the 400,000-member American Bar Association.
Harvey Hollins, Wayne State University vice president of Government Affairs, who served in a top managerial capacity with the state’s AARP, will bring a résumé of education to the ticket.
Freman Hendrix, chair of the Detroit City Charter Commission and former deputy mayor, knows Detroit politics inside out and is now at the helm of an institution that would guide this city’s future for many years to come.
Faye Nelson, CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, is a development czar with a background that stretches to Wayne State University and other entities and is on the board of a major corporation (Compuware). She brings an impressive mix to the ticket.
Jeffery Collins, who formerly served as a judge before managing the Eastern District as a presidential appointee, has an interesting record that would have people watching closely.
Reginald Turner, State Board of Education member who heads Detroit’s Board of Ethics, brings a political and legal framework to the ticket.
Linda Forte, senior vice president at Comerica Bank, brings an extensive business and community development experience.
Carmen Harlan, WDIV anchor and a fixture in Detroit television for decades, comes with a stellar and practical experience in media coverage of the people’s business at a time when media is now entering government with more frequency, such as newly-elected Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh.
If all these individuals can pass the vetting process, they should be considered.
Diversity happens when Detroit demands it, not when elected officials are going around in an opium-fashion tour to cool off constituents with historical narratives of what the party did in the past while their present condition remains dismal.
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