Lessons Learned from These Campaigns – Race Should NOT be The Issue


There are lessons to be learned from the simultaneous primary victory of Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), and the primary defeat of Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick (D-MI), and they’re not hard to spot.

Lesson #1 – Be an effective Representative.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) has been easily renominated in his Democratic primary tonight, beating back former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton’s effort to make race an issue against the white progressive Congressman from a majority-black district.

Steve Cohen has been an effective representative of his Memphis district for the past four years.  He paid his dues as a State Senator, and initially ran against Harold Ford, Jr., back in 1996, for the seat when Harold’s pappy retired.  I think I said in a previous post, that many in the district thought they were still voting for Harold, Sr., but after 10 years, couldn’t they tell the difference between Jr. and Sr.?  They sure can tell the difference between Junior and Cohen, or, in this case, Herenton and Cohen; that’s why Cohen keeps winning his primaries.

As for Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick, for all of the 14 years she’s served in Congress, where’s the effectiveness in representing her district?  Many of you might recall, she damned near lost the primary in 2008, when she was forced into a run-off by former State Rep. Mary Waters.

Her son, former Mayor “Rump-Shaker” Kwame, did her no favors with his act as a gangsta wanna-be mayor, cheating on his wife, and using city funds and property to do it.  A stint in jail hasn’t cured him of his shananigins, either.  And it provided political fodder for her opponent, State Senator Hansen Clarke, to use against her:

State Sen. Hansen Clarke beat the veteran lawmaker, stressing the legal woes surrounding her son, who resigned in 2008 after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice.

Lesson #2 – If you are a Person of Color, don’t use Race/Ethnicity to persuade people to vote for you.

Yes, even in a city with a racial history that Memphis has, it still is surprising how Black candidates want to play the race card when running for Congress in Memphis’ 9th district, and yet, the voters were smart enough to see right through the game playing.  They saw it with Nikki Tinker, and they saw it again with former Mayor Willie Herendon.  What Herenton forgets, is that the city sat under his watch for more than 20 years as School Superintendent of Memphis Public Schools, and as Mayor, and watched their city go from being a mecca to damn near ghost town.  Downtown Memphis IS a Ghost Town – all the businesses moved – there’s a multi-million dollar arena that only hosts the NBA Grizzlies, and the only big business they have there is Federal Express.  So, when Willie came calling, the people told him they preferred to stick with Cohen, rather than vote on the basis of race.  As my friend, the Field-Negro, would say, “Now that’s some Field Negro behavior; voting for effectiveness as opposed to race.”

When Kwame was going through his crap, both his parents played the race card…and got laughed out of town.  In fact, Mama Kilpatrick, as I mentioned earlier, damned near lost her seat back in 2008 behind her son’s mess, and her trying to defend him against his own foolishness.

Lesson #3 – Repeat Lessons #1 & #2.

Race should only be used when you have evidence of  racism or discrimination, and that evidence has to be factual.  Every factor should be equal, and the choice is made because of RACE, and nothing more.  If you have been found to be slip-shod in your performance; if you have been less than ethical in your practices; if you have screwed over the very people that sent you to Congress to be their voice by voting for legislation that damages their district – how much longer do you think your constituents are going to put up with your shyt?

In both districts – predominantly African-American districts – the constituencies have spoken.  Race doesn’t matter to them, BUT EFFECTIVENESS AND DOING ONE’S JOB DOES.

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