Last year who would have predicted that Donald Trump might win the Republican Primary?
Last year who would have thought that Bernie Sanders would still be giving Hillary Clinton heartburn?
People have become so unhappy with the status quo that they are willing to vote for outsiders and non-traditional candidates.
It’s become totally impossible to predict elections and that may be true for Birmingham also.
I was energized to write this piece because of a comment made by a ComebackTown guest blogger last week.
I’m not so sure.
Birmingham voters might consider electing a Mayor of either race if the candidate presented solid ideas that could transform Birmingham neighborhoods, schools, public transportation, and increase jobs and wages.
Birmingham is 73% African-American, but I believe blacks would be open to a candidate who might improve their lives.
Sadiq Khan was just elected Mayor of London England. He’s the first Muslim mayor of any Western capital city–which is truly remarkable since Muslim’s represent only 12% of London’s population.
Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 and 2012 with a U.S black population of also about 12%. Obviously many non-African Americans voted for him.
And this year’s presidential primaries have been totally unpredictable.
No one would have thought Donald Trump, a previous Democrat, billionaire and reality TV star, would defeat 16 Tea Party, conservative, traditional, and Evangelical candidates to be the presumptive Presidential nominee of the Republican party.
How do you explain Bernie Sanders, a 74 year old Jewish social democrat who had not even been a Democrat, mobilizing young folks 1/2 or 1/3 his age to give Hillary Clinton many sleepless nights?
I want to emphasize that I’m not saying a white mayor would be better than a black mayor.
And I’m not maligning the current administration. Birmingham has made more progress in the last few years than in the previous twenty.
No candidate should be excluded from consideration because of his/her race. I’m sure most people, and certainly African-Americans, would agree.
The Mayoral and City Council elections are next year.
I don’t know if a strong non-black candidate will be brave enough to step forward to lead Birmingham. Maybe not.
But I do know that Birmingham citizens deserve options.
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David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).