State Sen. Holly Mitchell is an excellent legislator and elected representative. She is very smart, comes well prepared to fight for legislation that will benefit her constituents and Californians in general, and rarely misses meetings, assignments or targets. Her latest legislative win on prohibiting discrimination by state school and governmental officials against students of color because of worker and student hair styles, is a case in point. She has spent her time in Sacramento wisely and—for us—profitably.
She is however, currently running against City Council President Herb Wesson for County Supervisor, District 2. Doubtlessly, the state senator would be a very good representative in that arena. She has the high I.Q. and negotiating skills necessary for the job.
But Wesson presents a problem in real politics for her. He’s the man who got us Barrack Obama Boulevard through Baldwin Hills, which intersects and merges with/crosses Martin L. King Boulevard, and who took the project from a preliminarily planned three to four blocks to a full 3.5 miles of a street.
Wesson also made his bones in the state legislature before coming back to municipal government, rising to become California’s second Black speaker of the State Assembly (the dapper Willie Brown was first, and Congresswoman Karen Bass was the third Black Speaker). He also served successfully as former Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke’s chief of staff while she held the District 2 supervisorial seat, and later served as her legislative assistant. So, Wesson knows his way around county government.
These two are not the only candidates for that seat—former city councilwoman Jan Perry is also running—but they are the big dogs in the race. In all likelihood, Wesson will win this seat on March 3. That will be in spite of the warm feelings we have for Mitchell, whom I would normally vote for without hesitation. It’s simply practical or real politics.
Wesson has the campaign funding, an organizational ground game, the name recognition, and the lack of an efficient, viable public opposition to his candidacy to get the election won. Mitchel needs a better political season than this one.
All of the foregoing is to highlight the following argument. Though Bernie Sanders is currently the front runner for the Democratic Party’s nominee for POTUS, he will not be, nor should he be, that nominee.
The eventual nominee—though it may take a brokered party convention to achieve it, will, in all probability be Mike Bloomberg. Why? Again, the answer is real or practical politics. The primary task of the Democratic Party’s nominee is to defeat Donald Trump—the man seen by many as an existential threat to American peace and government. Bernie Sanders is a nice guy, and someone who could be a great national leader. He would not, however, beat Trump in the 2020 election.
Neither Trump nor the Republican Party are going to play fair—instead, as they have already publicly stated, they plan to accept foreign help, they are going to use voter suppression techniques, they are going to use massive propaganda, etc. They are going to cheat and it will not be pretty.
To combat such a phalanx of notorious activity, one has to be willing to get down and dirty. When they go low, you must be ready to go lower. Or you must have enough money to overwhelm their negativity. The 2020 campaign will be a street fight, with liberal use of brass knuckles, sucker punches, espionage and other skullduggery.
Bloomberg, the former 12-year mayor of New York City, knows how to do that and more, including knowing how to hit this particular enemy in his sweet spot to knock him permanently off stride.
Bernie is a nice guy, as stated above. This is no place for nice guys. This is practical, real politics.
For reference, please pull up on NETFLIX or another such outlet the 1962 award-winning film, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” There again you had a do-gooder—a law abiding and law building hero (Jimmy Stewart)—at odds with a non-conformist criminal maniac(Lee Marvin). The latter would have killed the former because Marvin was a much better crook in his element than Stewart was a good man in that element. John Wayne, only tangentially “good” as the sheriff, understood the ways of the outlaw better than Stewart, and had to surreptitiously kill Marvin to save the day.
Hopefully, Mr. Bloomberg will be a very good president. Clearly though, he can rid us of this dark night into which are descending. For the real politics needed right now, that’ll be enough.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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