Nagin: After the Storm Comes a Populist ChordHow does this help New Orleans voters? It doesn’t. But it does frame the way the rest of the country views this election.
Landrieu: New Orleans Mayor's Rival Stresses His Political Savvy
Many of us here worry about “the message” that this election will send to the rest of the country. Interpretation of “the message” relies completely on how the country views Nagin because, besides knowing Landrieu is white, I don’t think the rest of the country has formed an opinion on Landrieu. If the country sees Nagin as a joke, then they will ridicule New Orleans for reelecting a joke.
However, if we reelect a “populist” in the country’s eye, New Orleans’ image might not dip so far into the mud. In fact, if the country sees a once majority African-American city elect a white, affluent, politically connected candidate over a “populist” black candidate who gains his populist title because he is overwhelmingly more popular among black voters who have been overwhelmingly more effected by the flooding, then New Orleans’ image might actually take a hit. For years to come, minority leaders will say, “You saw what happened in New Orleans” as an example of an opportunistic power grab by wealthy whites. First, black faces were bused out of the city after the storm. Then black faces were kicked out of City Hall.
I am not saying that’s the way it is. I’m saying that’s the way it could be perceived, especially if the national media picks up on that theme.
I am also not saying that Nagin should win. Given what happened after the storm, I don’t see how any incumbent can be reelected.
Landrieu has claimed he is the better choice to send the right message to the rest of the country. I am just pointing out that he is not necessarily in control of what message is sent.
Who cares what anybody else thinks anyway?