Since sometimes, as Freud is supposed to have said, a cigar is just a cigar, maybe sometimes an election for mayor in Connecticut is just an election, not part of a longstanding scheme to keep uppity women and minorities in their place.
But more than ever these days such complaints of prejudicial discrimination can intimidate, and last week Connecticut's Hearst newspapers pandered to them. The papers proclaimed disappointment that white men had won the Democratic primaries for mayor in Connecticut's three biggest cities -- Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport -- even though those cities are full of women and minorities.
The most mistaken complaint about the primary results came from state Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven. "It's just hard for people to accept change," Porter said. "White men have ruled this country since its inception, so the barriers we're talking about bringing down are so entrenched that it's going to take time. That it's going to be all white men representing majority-minority cities is something that needs to be addressed."
But as even Porter acknowledged, in those three cities white men [ITALICS] themselves [END ITALICS] are a minority, since barely a third of the population of the three cities is white and only about half of that third is male.
Yes, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, a white guy, defeated a black candidate and a Hispanic one, but Bronin did not win because the two minority candidates split the minority vote. Instead Bronin won with 59 percent, signifying he had support from many blacks and Hispanics. Of course it helped Bronin that one of his rivals, former Mayor Eddie Perez, had been convicted of corruption in office. But good for Hartford that integrity could trump mere ethnicity.
Besides, Hartford already has had black, Hispanic and women mayors. Despite Porter's hallucination, nobody in Hartford is being excluded because of race, ethnicity, or gender.
Yes, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, a black woman, was defeated in the Democratic primary by another white guy, Justin Elicker, after a campaign in which Elicker was challenged about his ability to represent black people when he doesn't look like them. This challenge was racist but it was taken seriously. To oblige his doubters should Elicker have put on blackface instead of sticking to the issues?
Like Bronin in Hartford. Elicker could not have won in New Haven without support from blacks and Hispanics, and there was plenty of reason for everybody to vote for him, from Harp's recent 11 percent tax increase to the frequent reports of expensive incompetence and arrogance in her administration. Harp long has seemed to think that facilitating illegal immigration is what her constituents care about most. While Elicker probably will pose as politically correct, too, at least he may realize that good public administration is more compelling.
"Hard for people to accept change"? But change is exactly what New Haven's Democrats voted for.
And yes, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, another white guy, narrowly won renomination in his primary with state Sen. Marilyn Moore, who is black. But Ganim won because Moore's campaign failed to corral absentee ballots as well as everyone knew Ganim's would, being backed by the city's Democratic machine.
Moore still would have had an excellent chance to become mayor if her campaign could have obtained 207 valid petition signatures to gain an independent ballot line in the general election. That should have been easy, but Moore's campaign submitted only 168. That wasn't racism but incompetence.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer ,in Manchester, Conn.