The Best Thing That Happened This Week: Philly Moved Away From “Racial Math”

Tuesday's mayoral primary blew some holes in our assumptions about how politics work in this town.

It wouldn’t seem a likely moment for this to happen — not with the wounds from Ferguson and Baltimore and, yes, Vineland still open and raw. But Tuesday’s mayoral primary blew some giant holes in the assumptions Philadelphians have about the way politics work in this town. In the city where Republicans not so long ago used John F. Street’s joyous proclamation that “The brothers and sisters are running the city” to race-bait, voters in this week’s race readily crossed the once-impenetrable lines between black and white Philadelphia, voting on the candidates’ merits, not their melanin. After George Burrell opined that the city’s early African-American leaders would be “turning over in their graves” to see contemporary black leaders endorsing Jim Kenney, State Representative Cherelle Parker shot back: “I think members of the community were insulted by the idea that anyone would think that they were entitled to their votes just because.” Just as white support helped Michael Nutter into the mayor’s office, black support got Jim Kenney the nomination. And that’s a beautiful thing.

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