Looking back, I saw the LA mayoral candidate rip. I missed the first hint that there could be some problem with hanging Karen Bass in support of black men.
It came in mid-May, when legendary Long Beach rapper Snoop Doug decided to meet with his main rival, billionaire developer and former Republican Rick Caruso, and offer his support.
“You got my support,” he told Caruso Zoom up, TV news cameras exchange documents. “We are a part of who you are as a part of bringing love to the community.”
A few days later, there was another sign. I missed that too.
Clarence Avant, the respected music industry mogul who introduced the then-Sen. In Southern California’s political and entertainment circles, Barack Obama also supported Caruso. The 91-year-old, whose wife, Jacqueline, was killed during an attack on their Beverly Hills home last year, left the candidate to break the news.
“I am humbled and grateful for his support,” Caruso told the Times.
Weeks later, it is now clear that these two black men have a lot of company.
A new poll of potential voters, conducted by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies and sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, found that nearly half of all black men in Tuesday’s primary election plan to vote for Caruso. In fact, of all the men surveyed, black men were most likely to support her.
It’s somewhat surprising – and as a black woman, more than a little mysterious – Bass worked in the black and Latino neighborhood of South LA, serving as one of the two black members of the city’s congressional delegation.
Of course, it is not written anywhere that all black people should vote for black candidates. Many black men and women certainly support Caruso for their own solid policy reasons – maybe even Snoop Dogg, of course Clarence Avant.
After all, we are not a monolith. I mean, look at Larry Elder.
But in this liberal city of a very liberal state, it is also true that Caruso is the most conservative candidate running for mayor, and many of his proposals – albeit in response to real problems and public outrage – have long been echoed by black Angelinos. They wanted
Caruso, for example, favors a return to some of the most devastating hard-up-crime strategies of the past, shutting down many people and moving away from criminal justice reform. He wants to add 1,500 officers to the Los Angeles Police Department and is backed by former LAPD chief William J. Bratton – he is notorious for breaking-windows policing.
Homeless, Caruso wants to quickly evacuate many of the camps, which are unequally occupied by black men. Thanks to decades of systemic housing discrimination.
He has made big promises to build more shelters and housing, both of which are easier said than done. But if the camps are vacated when not enough beds are available, he has a legally dubious suggestion to move some homeless people to tent camps, such as those built to house undocumented immigrant children in Texas.
Compare with Bass, whose proposals for public safety and homelessness are less extreme, but more realistic, sophisticated and thoughtful for poor people of color.
In fact, many political observers believe that if she ran for mayor, she would have the support of a large majority of black voters. Instead, despite strong and sustained support from black women, the survey found a decline among male-led black voters as a whole.
The question is why.
Is it just sexism? Or maybe the desire to maintain patriarchy, Bass will be the first woman to be mayor of LA?
This cannot be racism.
No, I believe the answer is related to what I call the “ice cube effect”.
If you recall, shortly before the 2020 presidential election, the Los Angeles rapper helped draft a progressive plan for a black America. He tried to adopt the Biden-Harris campaign, and was told to wait.
And so, driven by good intentions and hubris, he talked to Trump administration officials about the plan, drawing an avalanche of criticism, especially from black women who were shocked that he even considered working with them.
Ice Cube explained that, although he did not pay attention to politics for a long time, he acted because the Democrats were not doing anything to help black men and, therefore, were not worthy of any loyalty to the votes if the Republicans were willing to do so. Good
“Every aspect of America is a dark side for us,” he said at the time. “Unless something changes for us, they are all the same. They all lie and they all cheat.”
I heard a similar argument when I went to Leimert Park over the weekend to try to understand the apparently late support for the bass.
I was hoping to talk to the black men who were planning to vote for Caruso. Instead, I found a bunch of irritated bass voters who still understood why their black men would do such a thing.
They told me that many black men were frustrated and upset by the status quo. They do not believe that another politician can fix anything in Los Angeles. So why not give Caruso a shot?
Some black men, he said, are aware of the complexities of the city’s politics and do not realize that it will not be easy or quick to implement Caruso’s promises on homelessness and the economy – if they are all there.
Other black men, he said, see ads on TV and Instagram – part of Caruso’s massive multi-million dollar ad Blitz – and the Los Angeles Board of Police commissioners don’t know about his history or whether he wants to add police to the LAPD. .
Black men can be sexist, they admit. Some see bass as “sweet” or “soft”, not “hard” enough to become mayor like a smart, rich developer. As one black politician said: “Why should we vote for her? Because she is a good woman?”
And then there were a lot of other black men I met who were completely out of politics, at the point where they didn’t know the election was going on, very little about who was on the ballot.
Some were like Willie, who told me he used to vote regularly, but stopped because he didn’t believe that politicians – any politician – could solve his problems.
“You can work and your wife or your child can work. Dogs can work. Mice and roaches work too, and you still can’t live in a studio apartment in South Los Angeles,” he told me from selling used DVDs and books from his minivan. He said taking a rest.
He continued, raising his voice: “And the last time you heard a politician call a black man? When they think of the black community, black women or black children, they don’t really think of us.
Willie ran the list of government aid programs, from tax credits to food benefits for infants, arguing that they primarily benefit women. Meanwhile, single black men are disproportionately homeless and politicians “don’t care.” For this reason, he speculated that black men voted differently than black women.
“But that’s fine,” he said, shaking his head.
On Sunday, the Bass campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the new poll. Statistically, the trend-line in black men, albeit a little embarrassing, is not a serious problem for him in the primary.
Black voters make up only 13% of the electorate in Los Angeles. And going to the official closing of the polls on Tuesday, Bass is leading Caruso with 38% to 32% overall, indicating a November runoff.
In many ways, though, it’s a race that’s bigger than Los Angeles. How Angelnos votes for mayor is sure to have a national impact on issues such as criminal justice reform and policing, housing and homelessness.
How we vote will provide a window into how some of the biggest problems within the Democratic Party are likely to unfold in the coming years.
In 2020, black voters were the difference between the second term of Donald Trump and the first term for Joe Biden, the difference between the Congress and the slim majority of Republicans running the show.
As the midterm approaches, there are fresh fears that black voters will not return in equal numbers this year or in 2024, given the partial rift and collapse of many democratic priorities in Congress, including the police reform effort that Bass helped lead.
In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that Biden’s acceptance rating among black adults was 67%, 20 points lower than at the start of his presidency. Young voters and Latinos are not really feeling the current administration, creating even more panic among Democrats.
Again, this is just a survey.
Exit polls suggest that many black men have left Trump. That’s more hype than reality – and there may be pole numbers ahead of primary in this mayoral race.
Black women have long been considered the backbone of the Democratic Party. We are impressed if a relatively small percentage of the population – especially in California – is credited with getting voters elected.
Now, maybe this is a black man Which are becoming the bells of the democratic party.
Because if you can’t persuade a majority of black men in a highly liberal city like LA to vote for the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, what hope do Democrats have in the red and purple states?
That’s the “ice cube effect.”