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Thursday, October 20, 2022

Racial and Ethnic Coalitions in Major Cities

Thomas B. Edsall at NYT:
Democrats in cities across America are having trouble holding their coalitions together.

In Los Angeles, the battle is over power in the form of representation on the City Council; in San Francisco and New York, it’s over affordable housing and access to public schools; across the nation, it’s over tough versus tolerant criminal prosecution and lenient versus punitive approaches to homelessness.

These tensions are, in turn, aggravated by white gentrification and have one thing in common: limited or declining resources, with shuttered businesses no longer paying taxes evident on downtown streets. An absence of growth prevents elected officials from expanding benefits for some without paring them for others.

Political tensions between African American, Hispanic American, Asian American and white communities in Los Angeles are now on full display as a result of the publication of a secretly taped conversation that exposed the crude, racist scheming of three Hispanic City Council officials and a Hispanic labor leader — who were, in the main, angling to enhance their power at the expense of Black competitors.

These zero-sum conflicts epitomize the problem for liberals struggling to sustain a viable political alliance encompassing core minority constituencies.