Political war reminds me a little bit of trade wars. When country A is not allowed to sell its goods and services in Country B, Country A raises a fuss. It threatens a trade war. It puts tariffs on Country B’s goods and services. It accuses Country B of currency manipulation. Country A may even go as far as waging a military action against Country B in order to destroy Country B’s currency and disrupt the trade alliances Country B has with its neighbors. Country A’s goal is to be the dominant economic actor on the block. It will put up with a weakened Country B as along as Country B trades with the world on Country A’s terms.
Political wars are similar. This tidbit is not new but we need to be reminded: candidates are battling for power and privilege. To the extent that they have to craft welfare programs to win votes, what they can do for you is secondary. How they see themselves in political history, their legacy, is more important.
Political wars are quietly continuous. A smart incumbent maintains the illusion that she is looking out for her constituents by presenting the optics of an engaged and caring politician. Take Cleta Winslow, a member of the Atlanta city council representing the West End. Ms Winslow has served as the District 4 representative for a quarter of a century. For the ten years I have lived in District 4, Ms Winslow has not faced much a challenge, at least until the last election challenge where fierce loyalty especially by older residents helped her keep her seat.
Demographics can be a potent weapon when warding off potential threats to one’s dominance of a political market. That weapon can backfire especially here in the West End as the residents become ethnically diverse. Loyalty t o Winslow based on what she did in the 1990s and her attempts to save a firehouse back in 2008 can only go so far with a younger African American population that sees bleak economic opportunities and more whites with capital moving in to takeover relatively cheap real estate.
The consumers of Ms Winslow’s goodie bags are leaving and new entrants into the 30310 political market may not like what she is selling. A couple contenders in the last city election were able to raise sizeable amounts of campaign funds and as the 30310 political market becomes more diverse, Ms Winslow’s political trade days may draw to a close.
Strategy wise, a potential deathblow to Ms Winslow’s hold on the 30310 political market would be a salvo of economic initiatives, preferably salvos that circumvent her influence as much as possible and led by potential candidates. These individuals should win over as many allies as possible to avoid last year’s scenario where there were too many opponents on the ballot. Opponents cannot afford to have their optics and influence diluted by too many candidates on the ballot. It creates too much noise.
New residents could just exercise patience and watch the demographics change in their favor, but delay won’t help the young and underemployed who would benefit the most from the election of an economic visionary.