[guest post by JVW]
Philadelphia goes to the polls today (or, given the way things are, I guess has been going to the polls for the last several weeks) to choose its new mayor. Our nation’s sixth largest city by population is fairly important, especially given Philadelphia’s sentimental reputation as the Cradle of Liberty. Certainly Philadelphia faces challenges particular to older American metropolises these days: increases in crime and murder over the past decade, dismal test scores among the city’s schoolchildren, a declining population base (Philadelphia was recently surpassed by Phoenix who moved into the fifth spot among America’s largest cities), and a long and ignoble history of corruption.
So given all that, what’s on the minds of our media elite as exemplified by CNN as they mull over who might next sit at the big desk in City Hall? Naturally, it’s the current progressive obsession with race, sex, and ethnicity:
The biggest city in the battleground state of Pennsylvania is poised to effectively choose its next leader on Tuesday, as Philadelphia Democrats vote for the nominee to be the city’s 100th mayor – and a key figure in President Joe Biden’s reelection bid next year.
The long and historically expensive campaign, which at one point featured a dozen candidates, appears to be coming down to four or five contenders: former City Council members Cherelle Parker, Helen Gym and Allan Domb; former city controller Rebecca Rhynhart; and Jeff Brown, a city grocery store magnate.
Parker, Gym and Rhynhart are widely regarded as the favorites entering primary day, and each, should she win, would become the first woman elected mayor in the city’s long history. Like Michelle Wu in Boston, Gym would also be the city’s first Asian American leader. Parker, like Karen Bass in Los Angeles, is a Black woman and would also break two barriers at once.
Sure, the article goes on to give a bit of background on what each candidate believes is the best prescription for moving the city forward, but the fact that “firsts” are so prominently recited in the third paragraph, immediately after the main candidates are introduced, provides a telling look at what really is important to Democrats in 2023. Heck, the article itself is titled “Philadelphia Democrats poised to make history in expensive mayoral race.” And should you think that perhaps CNN has had several other articles on the Philadelphia mayoral race which focused more on the issues, the answer is nope.
Somewhere in the City of Brotherly Love there has to be a little-known black lesbian politician who is just kicking herself that she didn’t make a run for it this year, given that she would check one more intersectionality box than any of her competitors and represent an impressive three, instead of two, potential “firsts.” But them’s the breaks. My prediction is that whoever ends up as mayor will at best be a mediocre time-server and that by the time he or she leaves office eight years from now, San Antonio will be nation’s sixth-largest city.
UPDATE: Cherelle Parker has apparently won the race and will be the Democrat nominee (and presumptive favorite) in the November race against Republican David Oh. Be ready to hear how “historic” it will be to have the first black woman mayor of Philadelphia.
But what is interesting about Ms. Parker is the platform she ran on. She unapologetically called for Philly to fill all of its open positions in the police department, and she also suggested that the city address its gun violence problem by bringing back stop-and-frisk policies. She was the favorite of the city’s unions, so we can expect that she will pay them back for their support by taking a very soft stance on corruption and mismanagement among city workers. Probably the best thing about last night is that the Democrat Socialist backed by Comrade Bernard and the Adorably Ornery Clueless niece lost, and seems to have vastly underperformed the expectations for her going into the vote. Let’s see how progressives read those tea leaves.