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sleepy

Steve Cohen to run for Congress

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For those unfamiliar with the politics:

Tennessee's 9th District has been represented by the Ford family since the early 70's. Harold Ford, Sr., was the 2nd black elected to Congress in the South since the civil war.

Anyway, as Ford, Jr., runs for the Senate, Steve Cohen has declared for the congressional election. Cohen represents Midtown and the Poplar Corridor in East Memphis as a democrat in the state senate, and is widely perceived as one of the most liberal senators. Actually, he's quite conservative on fiscal matters and very liberal on social issues.

Any thoughts on the election?

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Tennessee's 9th District has been represented by the Ford family since the early 70's. Harold Ford, Sr., was the 2nd black elected to Congress in the South since the civil war.

Actually, when Ford, Sr. beat GOP incumbent Dan Kuykendall by one of the closest margins for a Congressional race in TN history in 1974 (largely due to Watergate, otherwise Kuykendall probably would've held on at least another cycle before demographics would've done him in), 2 other Blacks had preceeded him in the modern era. Barbara Jordan in TX in 1972 (becoming the 1st Black in TX and 1st Black woman elected from the South (Shirley Chisholm being the 1st from the North, preceeding her by 4 years), and Andrew Young in GA, also in 1972. Ford, Sr. was the 1st Black ever elected to Congress from TN, as none were elected during the Reconstruction Era. Prior to Jordan and Young, the last Black elected from the South was Republican George Henry White in North Carolina in 1898, capping nearly 30 years of consistent Black GOP Representation from the South before the Democrat party implemented Jim Crow laws making it nearly impossible for Blacks to vote or hold office. It would be 30 years before one would be elected to Congress again, those then being from the North.

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Anyway, as Ford, Jr., runs for the Senate, Steve Cohen has declared for the congressional election. Cohen represents Midtown and the Poplar Corridor in East Memphis as a democrat in the state senate, and is widely perceived as one of the most liberal senators. Actually, he's quite conservative on fiscal matters and very liberal on social issues.

Cohen can benefit greatly from what will be a gigantic mess of candidates which now include 2 (!) Fords (Joe Ford, Jr. running as a Democrat, Harold, Sr's son and Junior's brother Jake running as an Independent -- both of which are running so that Harold, Sr. can hedge his bets, he has ostensibly endorsed "both"). Because there is no runoff in TN for primary nominations, all Cohen has to do is win 1 more vote than his opponents (he could conceivably win just by getting as low as 12% of the vote). This, of course, would be quite galling to many in the Black community to have a White man representing a Black-majority district (and a Jew at that ! Anti-Semitism being a particularly noxious undercurrent amongst some Blacks and generally fashionable amongst the political left these days). What you will likely have for the fall is Cohen as the "D" nominee, Jake Ford being backed by "the Family" as an "I" (as in "I, Ford"), and (hopefully) a Black Republican nominee (I don't know who is leading to get the nomination, though a man named Derrick Bennett, a college financial controller, looks to be a very attractive candidate and has my endorsement). As recently as 1994, Harold, Sr. was given the shock of his years in political office when a Black Republican held him to the high 50s% for reelection. If Mr. Bennett gets the same 40% that Rod DeBerry received in '94 while Ford and Cohen split the remaining 60%, hence winning the election, that would be simply "mahvelous" (and not necessarily out of the realm of possibility, after all, who thought a White Republican could WIN John Ford's Majority Black State Senate district, and yes, Miss Ophelia, he did win). :yahoo:

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Actually, when Ford, Sr. beat GOP incumbent Dan Kuykendall by one of the closest margins for a Congressional race in TN history in 1974 (largely due to Watergate, otherwise Kuykendall probably would've held on at least another cycle before demographics would've done him in), 2 other Blacks had preceeded him in the modern era. Barbara Jordan in TX in 1972 (becoming the 1st Black in TX and 1st Black woman elected from the South (Shirley Chisholm being the 1st from the North, preceeding her by 4 years), and Andrew Young in GA, also in 1972. Ford, Sr. was the 1st Black ever elected to Congress from TN, as none were elected during the Reconstruction Era. Prior to Jordan and Young, the last Black elected from the South was Republican George Henry White in North Carolina in 1898, capping nearly 30 years of consistent Black GOP Representation from the South before the Democrat party implemented Jim Crow laws making it nearly impossible for Blacks to vote or hold office. It would be 30 years before one would be elected to Congress again, those then being from the North.

I didn't include Jordan because she was from Texas. By "civil war" I meant reconstruction era.

Cohen can benefit greatly from what will be a gigantic mess of candidates which now include 2 (!) Fords (Joe Ford, Jr. running as a Democrat, Harold, Sr's son and Junior's brother Jake running as an Independent -- both of which are running so that Harold, Sr. can hedge his bets, he has ostensibly endorsed "both"). Because there is no runoff in TN for primary nominations, all Cohen has to do is win 1 more vote than his opponents (he could conceivably win just by getting as low as 12% of the vote). This, of course, would be quite galling to many in the Black community to have a White man representing a Black-majority district (and a Jew at that ! Anti-Semitism being a particularly noxious undercurrent amongst some Blacks and generally fashionable amongst the political left these days). What you will likely have for the fall is Cohen as the "D" nominee, Jake Ford being backed by "the Family" as an "I" (as in "I, Ford"), and (hopefully) a Black Republican nominee (I don't know who is leading to get the nomination, though a man named Derrick Bennett, a college financial controller, looks to be a very attractive candidate and has my endorsement). As recently as 1994, Harold, Sr. was given the shock of his years in political office when a Black Republican held him to the high 50s% for reelection. If Mr. Bennett gets the same 40% that Rod DeBerry received in '94 while Ford and Cohen split the remaining 60%, hence winning the election, that would be simply "mahvelous" (and not necessarily out of the realm of possibility, after all, who thought a White Republican could WIN John Ford's Majority Black State Senate district, and yes, Miss Ophelia, he did win). :yahoo:

I think Cohen will win the primary, and win the general election as well, even if running against a black republican. I think he will get a substantial number of black votes in both elections.

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I didn't include Jordan because she was from Texas. By "civil war" I meant reconstruction era.

I think Cohen will win the primary, and win the general election as well, even if running against a black republican. I think he will get a substantial number of black votes in both elections.

Well, Texas is very much in the south, and was very much a part of the old Confederacy. There were, of course, no Blacks serving in Congress during the Civil War (1861-65), the first not being elected until 1870. The Reconstruction era was generally considered to have ended in 1877. Some Blacks still managed to get elected in heavily Southern Black districts clear up until the dawn of the 20th Century, close to 35 years after the Civil War was over.

I would agree that Cohen would get some Black votes, since unfortunately too many Blacks would vote for Satan himself (or herself) on the "D" ticket even if Jesus were running as an "R" (something which is one of the largest problems with the Black community today in putting 90% of their eggs in one basket, placing them entirely at the mercy of the old party of slavery, Socialism, and statism). It really depends on whether or not Cohen vs. Jake Ford turns into a fiasco (and I never underestimate the Fords for doing whatever it takes to preserve their political power) and if the Black GOP nominee (assuming we're not stupid enough to nominate a White) can get some visibility and benefit from the split to win a plurality. It will be interesting to watch, nonetheless.

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I wouldn't be so patronizing of blacks. Perhaps they vote democratic because after reflection, they view the democrats as more in touch with their interests.

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I think Cohen has a good chance of winning the crowded primary if it retains all the folks currently in it. If he wins the primary I think he has the race won, unless like FMJ says a Ford (or possibly someone else) runs as an "I" and garners enough votes to allow the Republican nominee win with quite a bit less than 50% of the vote, which would be reversed come 08 most likely barring another 3-way race.

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I hope Cohen wins, he's one of the few politicians in Memphis that isn't a Ford and/or corrupt!

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I think Cohen has a good chance of winning the crowded primary if it retains all the folks currently in it. If he wins the primary I think he has the race won, unless like FMJ says a Ford (or possibly someone else) runs as an "I" and garners enough votes to allow the Republican nominee win with quite a bit less than 50% of the vote, which would be reversed come 08 most likely barring another 3-way race.

I think aside from Harold Jr., the Ford name has lost its lustre in Memphis. In the race to replace John Ford in the senate, Ophelia Ford only "won" by 8 disputed votes against a white republican from Millington. And that district is 70% black.

So, I suspect a white democrat running against an independent Ford would do even better in the black community.

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^ Low turnout overall and a fairly good "get out the vote" effort by the Republicans is what made that special election race tight for Sen. Ford's vacated Senate seat. Had it been a regular election, and Ophelia been the nominee, its a pretty safe bet she would have won by a good margin. On that same note though, had that that been a regular election, in the special Dem primary neither Ophelia Ford nor her nearest opponent Rep. Henri Brooks would have done nearly as well I think its safe to bet and that possibly would have allowed a more credible candidate like Rep. John Deberry to win the nomination.

I agree with you sleepy that city-wide the Ford Family's electoral strength is weakening, aside from Ford Jr. That reality I think was shown by the Ford's machine's near inability to hold off Brooks in the primary, in a Senate district that contains probably their biggest base of support.

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I wouldn't be so patronizing of blacks. Perhaps they vote democratic because after reflection, they view the democrats as more in touch with their interests.

I've talked on this subject for years, and it is one that remains bitterly frustrating and depressing. Needless to say that whatever else goes on, with 90%+ of one particular group casting their lot for one party (nevermind the party's given positions and its particular plusses or minuses), it puts them at a terrible disadvantage and keeps them entirely at the mercy of the ups and downs of that party and offers them no choices (much like Soviet Russia - one party or else !). The similarity to that was many Southern states prior from after Reconstruction to the 1950s (where almost only Whites were allowed to vote) were almost to the last one-party states entirely with NO alternatives (S.C. voting over 90%+ in some instances for the Dem nominee for President), and were, not surprisingly, statist backwaters. Once the two-party system broke through in the South, it flourished greatly, as it does today. Ironically, where we seat a retrogression in states like Massachusetts, where they are effectively one-party states, they are quickly becoming the statist backwaters that many Southern states were in the "bad old days."

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^ Low turnout overall and a fairly good "get out the vote" effort by the Republicans is what made that special election race tight for Sen. Ford's vacated Senate seat. Had it been a regular election, and Ophelia been the nominee, its a pretty safe bet she would have won by a good margin. On that same note though, had that that been a regular election, in the special Dem primary neither Ophelia Ford nor her nearest opponent Rep. Henri Brooks would have done nearly as well I think its safe to bet and that possibly would have allowed a more credible candidate like Rep. John Deberry to win the nomination.

I agree with you sleepy that city-wide the Ford Family's electoral strength is weakening, aside from Ford Jr. That reality I think was shown by the Ford's machine's near inability to hold off Brooks in the primary, in a Senate district that contains probably their biggest base of support.

An aside about machine politics---

I had an Irish uncle in southside Chicago who was a plumber who worked for the city. Of course, it was a union job. Working for the city meant you worked for Daly (the old man, not junior--this goes back decades).

The job was very well-paid--a licensed master plumber in Chicago in the 50's and 60's in a union job (which they all were) did very, very well.

On top of that, working for the city added some more perks. But of course, Daly wanted something in return, so in order to keep the good job, my uncle had to work as a precint captain. In other words, if your garbage didn't get picked up, you called my uncle. Got a pothole or the snowplows were slow? Call my uncle. Come election time, my uncle had to go out and remind the voters that the efficiency of Chicago was due to Daly and his organization.

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