Unfortunately, the Moseley-Braun candidacy was simply not meant to be. After a series of missteps, Rahm Emanuel used the power of President Obama's backing to convince the vast majority of Chicago citizens, white and black, to give him their support. Apparently, unspoken endorsements from Barack Obama and Bill Clinton goes a long way, even if you can't readily prove that you've done very much for the African American community.
Some give Carol a hard time for attacking her opponent, Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins, for being strung out on crack, and I certainly agree that much of the criticism is warranted. At the same time, Rahm once said that liberal Democrats were "F*cking retards," implying that neither he nor Moseley-Braun is above losing their temper. The problem for Carol, however, is that her nasty words came in a public forum, signalling a clear lack of discipline that made Chicago citizens shudder. Just when they were hoping she would (as Obama did) give them a reason to bolster their support for her, she reminded them of why they needed to simply play it safe. Had Obama displayed a similar blow up early in his campaign, he never would have come close to being president. In fact, when Rahm Emanuel was ruled (temporarily) by a court to be ineligible to run for mayor, Moseley-Braun was in a better position politically than Barack Obama was when he was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey.
According to the New York Times, the most critical problem for the Moseley-Braun campaign was a lack of money. Carol's campaign raised an embarrassing $550,000, compared to the $12 million raised by Rahm Emanuel. In fact, the total amount of money raised by the Moseley-Braun campaign was less than the $800,000 Emanuel raised from Southern California donors alone.
Both Carol Moseley-Braun and Rep. Danny Davis confirm that many of Carol's financial backers did not hold up their end of the bargain. Like a poker player being forced to fold his hand, Davis was bluffed by black business leaders in Chicago, who called to inform him that they were going to raise $2 million dollars and throw their support behind Carol. At the end of the day, their promises were nothing but air.
The Chicago Mayoral race of 2011 will go down as one of the most humiliating and disappointing black political events in American history. The city could have finally elected a political leader with a genuine concern for the plight of the poor, jobless and homeless. Instead, we were simply fed a debacle.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To follow Dr. Boyce on Facebook, please click here.