Davis Drops Out, Braun Drops In

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Let's recap the last week, shall we?

Neil Steinberg writes a scathing column about Carol Moseley Braun that sends her through the roof. Rep. Danny Davis revoked Bill Clinton's street cred. Braun then responded by calling Steinberg a drunken wife-beating racist on the morning news. Steinberg acknowledged possibly being a drunk but not a wife beater, and certainly not a racist. Davis, not to be outdone, did a radio interview from his bathroom and flushed live on air. By the end of the day Wednesday, they'd been forced to resort to Jesse Jackson to broker a peace treaty that would somehow save both candidates and the community they claim to represent from the hilarity destined to ensue. Rahm Emanuel, on the other hand, spent the last 24 hours playing Angry Birds on his iPhone.

And yes, I know that's not the real Rahm Emanuel, but let's face it. The real one isn't doing anything any more productive. How could you? Two of your opponents are about to destroy themselves and their reputations clamoring to use community outrage more effectively in a fabulously cynical campaign maneuver. It's like Christmas came twice.

Late New Years Eve, as Zombie Dick Clark counted down the ball drop, out of the ashes of what we can only assume was a wrestling match in the basement of Jesse Jackson's Hyde Park home, and following a flurry of backstabbing emails from Braun's campaign office, emerged possibly the most cynical of cynical political characters, the "black consensus candidate."

And then there was one.  Congressman Danny Davis dropped his bid for
Chicago mayor Friday, clearing the way for Carol Moseley Braun to run
as the lone major African-American candidate.

Davis' decision
follows a late-night meeting Wednesday with Reverend Jesse Jackson and
other black leaders seeking a consensus candidate.  Some believe it's
necessary for a single black candidate to run against other big name
candidates Rahm Emanuel, Gery Chico, and Miguel del Valle.

I also never noticed until that announcement that Danny Davis routinely refers to himself in the third person, which would have bothered me more than his eyebrows had he bothered to show up to any events related to his mayoral campaign up to and including his actual mayoral campaign, prior to Bill Clinton's interest in the race.

I'm starting to wonder whether the constituency this disaster of a system is supposed to represent is as willing to go along with their ordained leaders' plans as much as their "ordained leaders" believe they are. Consensus candidates, chosen solely based on some pseudo-unifying characteristic like race and not necessarily based on their qualifications to run a city, seem cynical to me, as though someone at the top believes the peons are so dumb and disconnected from daily news reports that they'll vote simply on that characteristic alone. Maybe this worked in the days when public appearances and press releases were the norm, but given the 24 hour news cycle and the free movement of information - not to mention the national interest in Chicago's mayoral contest - power seems to drain from such a proclamation.

And even given that the strategy does work, wouldn't the best road to success be nominating the candidate most likely to win? Republicans pull this kind of sh*t all the time, holding purity tests to see which is the most conservative candidate, but inevitably the system f**ks up when that candidate, who is nearly always in some way socially challenged, is proven incapable of running an effective campaign, resisting the temptation to make ridiculous statements on air, or, plainly, act like a normal human being. I'm not saying Danny Davis was likely to win, but I am saying that if the people behind this wanted to be true power brokers, why not throw support behind, say, Gery Chico, and make this a real contest? Personally, I think the show of force - a severe undercut of Emanuel's coronation - would be a much stronger message that the black community wields the intense power it does in Chicago's political machine.

But alas, I'm not in charge. If I was, this really would be resolved with wrestling.

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