Tuesday, August 08, 2006

THE GA-4 SAGA: Why McKinney Could Still Win ...

Political hacks, wonks and geeks of all shapes, sizes, colors and species are closely watching the heated battle unfolding in today's run-off for Georgia's U.S. House District 4 currently held by the controversial magnet Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D). Former Dekalb County Commissioner and, incidentally, former staunch McKinney supporter Hank Johnson, Jr. is polling 13 percentage points ahead of McKinney.

Blackpolicy.org made repeated and unsuccessful attempts to contact the Congresswoman for an interview in an effort to balance it against Commissioner Johnson's appearance.

It's easy to assume Johnson could win, given his lead in the polls. But, then, you have to ask: who's conducting the polls? And how badly do they want McKinney to go? Not assessed here is McKinney's ability to call and get response; her energetic skill at developing a pedagogy of the oppressed - something that resonates fairly well in a majority Black suburb of Atlanta. Even Johnson understands this, and should be shifting his resources accordingly.

The geopolitical situation and anti-Bush, anti-war sentiment is, in some respects, feeding voter angst more so than whether the Congresswoman has succeeded in "... bringing the bacon home," as Johnson observed in his assessment of McKinney during a recent Blackpolicy.org exclusive. Perception is everything in a tight race like this. In this case, just like in Connecticut, voters could be more attracted to the candidate that is most unapologetically anti-war/anti-Bush. Despite McKinney's personal troubles and the perception of incompetence, she is able to build support through a constant focus on the Bush Administration's lack of committment to civil rights and the African American community, including diatribes against electronic voting systems. In addition, despite national polls showing 65% of Americans supporting Israel's incursion into Lebanon against Hezbollah, we're curious to see how voters in District 4 are responding to reports of Johnson receiving significant amounts of cash from pro-Israel PACs - do Black voters in GA-4 support the war in Lebanon? We suspect not for a variety of reasons, and sources indicate that the McKinney camp is using that as an advantage. Hence, this will also translate into a serious test of the mercurial relationship between the Black & Jewish communities.

The numbers of voters who want an advocate who is unapologetically "Black" could very well outnumber those voters who desire a representative able to draw the "bacon home." It doesn't matter what the national mood on McKinney is since all politics is local. We'll see ...