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I am a Jax Dem, a liberal, and a daily Daily Kos reader. Couldn't be happier with this result, and I'll admit I had grave doubts Brown could pull it off. From all appearances Hogan had more money and more visibility. Hogan's greatest backer was this [expletive deleted] who owns all the local stripmalls. Thus, huge obnoxious Hogan signs were EVERYWHERE. Brown ran out of signs weeks ago and never got more. But my friends in the local Democratic party told me they were completely focused on getting out the vote. This strategy was effective in '08 and succeeded again. I'm amazed!

I was just over at slackiinoff's Rec-listed diary on Jacksonville's new mayor. I found myself running on at the mouth in the comments and decided to turn my comments into a diary.

My theme is basically my thoughts on how/why a black Democrat won the highest office in what is seen as a bastion of the conservative Good-ol'-boy South.

In response to a comment by user icemilkcoffee, "Are latinos the deciderer here or what?" I began the following response, which spiraled into this diary:

North Florida is NOT heavily latino at all. Their numbers are growing, to be sure, but not in comparison to the southern half of our state.

No, I would say that this election can be chalked up to 2 or 3 things.

One, when I was working hard to help the Obama campaign in '08, I would sometimes quote that joke line, "Once you go black, you never go back!" Simply put: Obama's candidacy energized many who had previously felt (and in some cases were) disenfranchised. And it helped unify the Democratic party. I found myself canvassing neighborhoods I never would have stepped foot in during my teens and twenties. It opened my eyes. I saw that we are all one with the same goals. (Of course I always knew that intellectually, but even smart liberals have lizard-brains with vague fears that go back years and years!)

The precinct demographics show that Hogan the Republican won more precincts but by a narrower margin. The precincts Brown took he took overwhelmingly. What this says to me is that, in a city that is still highly segregated, probably this: mixed-race and majority-white precincts voted for Hogan, but there were still about 40% willing to vote for Brown. Majority-black precincts were probably those that went for Brown by a 3-to-1 margin. I am giving a complete armchair, amateur analysis -- but would not be surprised if it held up.

So, the '08 campaign helped mobilize Jacksonville's African-American community and lift their belief in possibility. Candidate Obama visited here often, including a rally the day before Election Day. He said even if he did not win Duval County/Jacksonville the margin of increased Democratic turnout could enable him to carry the state. He was correct in that prediction.

The other benefit of the Obama campaign is that I believe it finally opened the eyes of a lot of non-blacks to the possibility of supporting a black leader. In the 90s the Dems ran another African-American candidate for mayor and he did not win. Again, this is mere armchair analysis, but I would not be surprised if some whites who either voted for Obama or who have observed his competent performance were able to envision a black leader more so than they would have been able to before President Obama. It's like, "If we have a black president and he does a pretty good job, why would we be afraid of having a black mayor?"

Moreover, before Obama folks would have thought, "A black candidate can never win!" and that despondency would have been self-fulfilling as they stayed home. Now the question has to be: can a non-black candidate ever excite the entirety of Democratic voters enough to beat run-of-the-mill white Republican candidates. (And, hey, as well all know from Haley and Rubio, Repugs are learning to use demographic shifts to there advantage as well. I had a liberal friend in '08 tell me that if McCain chose Jindal she'd vote Republican because she was of Indian heritage.)

The other main reason for this victory is that the Republican candidate was not just another bland run-of-the-mill white guy. He was very conservative. The two parties have learned vastly different lessons from the 2010 midterms. The GOP has seemingly learned to turn ever-rightward and crazier. The Dems have learned to not take turnout for granted and to steal the centrist voters who are turned off by the new GOP craziness.

As we are seeing all over America, many voters who may have slept through the November 2010 elections are rejecting the nightmare extreme right policies they ushered in. Most voters dislike our distrustful Governor Rick Scott. Candidate Mike Hogan made appearances with Scott. The lessons the Right-wing seems to have taken from 2010 is: We won! The electorate wants us to be no-holds-barred maximum conservatives! The lesson the rest of the country seems to have taken from 2010 is: Oh crap! If we don't vote, only crazy people vote... and they elect crazy people! Let's not do that again!

It really is a harbinger for larger state and national elections I feel. If any Repub besides Hogan had made it into the general it may have gone differently. I'm friends with many who worked for and supported Audrey Moran, who ran as a moderate (even in some ways liberal) Republican. All her supporters that I know flocked to Democrat Brown! They hated Hogan.

So... I hope the GOP continues its insane shift ever-rightward. I honestly think if the Republican Party does not have a drastic restructuring they will not win major elections. The 2010 mid-term may just turn out to be a swan song... Here's hoping!

The battlefield, as always, is TURNOUT! The percentages were not very high (just over a third of voters showed up) but the Brown campaign put a lot of energy into turnout and the word on the street is that the Hogan campaign took it for granted that their voters would come out. Since many local conservatives, and moderate Republicans, were not fond of their candidate their turnout suffered.

Let's hope it takes the opposing team a loooong time to realize their policies and candidates are unpopular. We probably have a good chance of this, since they are totally enamored of themselves and they isolate themselves from conflicting opinions. Will Fox News and hate talk radio eventually lead to the end of the current conservative movement as we know it?

For now, I just say: GO MAYOR ALVIN BROWN!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great news (4+ / 0-)

    Jacksonville is a big city too.  More people than South Dakota.  

  •  Finally!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DianeNYS, Little Lulu, DoubleT

    Some good news out of Florida.  

  •  Why did some unions support Hogan? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Wed May 18, 2011 at 05:50:25 PM PDT

    •  Pensions, partly (0+ / 0-)

      The major unions in town are the police and fire. These guys are usually conservative and regularly endorse Republicans. Alex Sink was the first Democrat they'd endorsed for Governor in a looooong time -- but that just tells you more about Rick Scott than anything else! (I mean, we all know that he outspent her umpteen-to-one and still won by a slim margin, right?)

      I don't know what kind of Democrat Mayor Alvin Brown is. I suspect that -- like Obama and Clinton before him -- Brown felt he had to appeal to fiscal moderates if he had any chance of winning.

      The majority of candidates in the all-party primary (or whatever you call it -- yesterday's election was a runoff) said that they would tinker with the pensions in order to stave off financial calamity. Personally I feel that those workers have earned their pensions and I oppose taking it away from them. But in these times, it seems everyone has to give up something.

      I think Hogan was the only candidate who said that he would not touch pensions. But I did not view this as anything but a tactic to gain the union's endorsement. Personally I did not even believe him. But, if it comes down to a choice between reducing pension benefits a certain percentage and drastic cuts in everything else I support the former. I mean, as a conservative Republican, I believe Hogan proposed massive cuts to all city services.

      I'm not smart enough economically to know what my city government should do. (I know where I stand on national economic matters.)

  •  And nothing about Taylor? (0+ / 0-)

    Or did you not want to mention that fiasco who rode Brown's coattails?

    •  Happy to (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mph2005, bythesea, CherryTheTart, petral

      I covered this topic in a comment over at slackiinoff's diary.

      But, do you think one (additional) loon on the Jacksonville City Council is more significant than having a Democratic mayor? I'm not sure I see the point of your comment.

      In any case, here is what I had to say about Kimberly Daniels' victory (Taylor was the person she beat):

      Daniels NOT good news (2+ / 0-)
      In fact, the true "booby prize" of last night's election was the victory of "Democrat" Kimberly Daniels. As I watched Brown's numbers go up I noticed that Daniels' tracked his fairly closely. I just decided that having an African-American Democratic mayor was worth the price of one lunatic on City Council.

      slackiinoff, you're forgiven for not knowing this, because it received very little attention, but Daniels is certifiably crazy! She calls herself "the Demonbuster," she is virulently anti-gay, and she has claimed that Halloween candy is “prayed over by witches... Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference.

      I highlighted my favorite line!

      If nothing else, she'll provide entertainment. Those City Council meetings are all so boring...

  •  This is as much a harbinger (5+ / 0-)

    as the NH state house special election. I am ecstatic over this result!

  •  Congrats to the city of my cousins. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    me knows best, tle, Josiah Bartlett

    I remember when Jacksonville wasn't so freeway crazy. My grandfather and grand mother are a rest under a sweet magnolia tree there in Jacksonville. I should get back down there a pay them a visit.

    "Misfortune shows those who are not really friends." Aristotle Fuldheim's long and distinguished career - where, at age 91, .,,,. suffered a stroke on July 27, 1984, shortly after interviewing U.S. President Ronald Reagan via satellite.

    by JugOPunch on Wed May 18, 2011 at 06:29:59 PM PDT

  •  I'm a SoFL resident, but I've lived in Jax, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, DEMonrat ankle biter

    have relatives there, visit quite often for business and pleasure, and I had no idea this was possible.  The interesting thing is that turn out was only 37%, and while the AA community over performed their percentage of the population, the real growth came among white voters (2008 election results-McCain 51% and  Obama 49%).   This means that either the Tea Party crowd wasn't motivated, or there's been a shift amongst white voters.  If this can happen in a bastion of the Ole South, it has to be more pronounced across the country

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Wed May 18, 2011 at 06:43:35 PM PDT

    •  Behind the numbers (3+ / 0-)

      Like I said, I believe that some of those white voters for Brown can be attributed to the "groundbreaking" that was done by the Obama campaign and subsequent presidency. Even though all the attention goes to the cranky Tea Partiers, there have to be many McCain voters who realize that Obama is not a radical. Rather, he is clearly a competent and dignified chief executive. So, the taboo has been broken for all reasonable Americans.

      Also, as I pointed out above, many local Republicans who may have supported other candidates in the open primary had disgust for Hogan.

      Those reasons, combined with the high AA turnout you mention and reportedly high young turnout = Dem victory.

      Let's keep it up!

  •  There are still 1600-2000 votes (0+ / 0-)

    Once those are counted then I'll consider it a victory.

  •  Our distrustful Governor Rick Scott (2+ / 0-)

    Well, you certainly know how to hold back. I'll give you that.

    Your analysis in this diary is quite insightful. I agree with you. Teabag loonies are destroying the GOP and yet, because of insider beltway echo chamber thinking, they don't understand how crazy they are starting to look.

    Destroy Social Security and Medicare? That's the platform? Repeal healthcare reform? They honestly think that these are electoral "winners"?

    Alvin Brown's victory in Jacksonville is a true bellwether. It signals a Barack Obama victory in 2012.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to the man. - dls

    by The Raven on Wed May 18, 2011 at 07:43:45 PM PDT

    •  Thank you (3+ / 0-)

      I lingered over that word choice ("distrustful") for quite a while. I considered "criminal" and "disgusting" and a million others. But I think that when it comes down to it people just don't trust him. Some feel that way because of his questionable business history. Some feel that way because of his lack of experience in politics (which even means, especially with his independent wealth, a lack of party loyalty and discipline). It's hard to feel good about calling him a "crook" (which I'd like to) when he has never been convicted of a thing. (Don't get me wrong -- I'd love to see him taken out of office by criminal proceedings.) Anyway, there are many Republicans who do not trust Gov. Rick Scott. So it's the most accurate word, without hyperbole. And still a political killer.

      As to your other point: How long have we liberals wailed at the total lack of "liberal bias" in media?! Could it be that by hindering our views from becoming mindless talking points the media is doing us a favor? I mean, I have heard GOP pols say so many times, "The people want this _" and "Everybody I talk to says this __" -- And I think, yeah, when you're only willing to rub elbows with your base, the haves and the have-mores (to borrow one of Bush's only accurate lines), and the media "Villagers"! On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are extremely informed as to contrasting views. Is that our secret strength?

  •  Great job Jacksonville. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter
  •  If I have fans... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter

    I posted a brief light-hearted diary on Schwarzenegger and birther lunacy. With a fun poll!

    See here.

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