[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Miami Mayoral Elections and Ethnicity

Monday, April 14, 2008

Miami Mayoral Elections and Ethnicity

I read a recent Herald editorial column by Michael Putney in which he criticizes Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez for his lack of effectiveness. Although I have my opinions about that, I want to concentrate this post on something Putney mentions near the end of his column while speculating on who would run against Alvarez in the 2008 mayoral election:

So who will run for Miami-Dade mayor beyond the guy who has the job? Miami Beach businessman Phil Levine, who's got lots of dough and has given away some of it to Bill and Hillary Clinton, is said to be thinking about running. He'd waste his money if he does. Not only is he not known beyond his circle of wealthy friends; there's just no way an Anglo can be elected countywide.

Putney may be right to think that an "Anglo" would never win a countywide election. Of course, he could also be very wrong. Not even considering that each race has its own characteristics and nuances that can heavily influence voting patterns, we can look back at a hotly contested Miami mayoral race back in 1993 to dispute Putney's assertion that "Anglos" have no chance of

In 1993, Steve Clark ran against Miriam Alonso in a race in which Alonso tried to capitalize on ethnic politics and stated to the effect that the Miami mayor should be a Cuban. How could she go wrong in the city of Miami with that kind of remark, right?

Wrong. She lost by a 59 to 41 percent margin.

In most cases and under "normal" circumstances, Putney is PROBABLY right. But it surprises me that someone with the extensive knowledge of local politics that Putney has would make such an off-the-cuff remark. I very much think an "Anglo" could win a county mayor race, especially if its a well-respected person with lots of cross-ethnic connections such as Steve Clark had back in the day.


Blogger nonee moose said...

Robert, agreed.

But the real telling number is that she got 41%, given her anecdotal history, which dates back to the free-for-all of the revolution.

Steve Clark was a smart pol. That election was not a hard one for him, for reasons you mention, and so many more.

2:45 PM, April 14, 2008  

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