Courting Swing Vote in Harlem District: Whites

Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times, June 18, 2014

There was never a question that race would play a key role in Representative Charles B. Rangel’s re-election fight, a battle for a seat held by two black men since the 1940s, in a district where Hispanics recently became the majority.

But as the heated Democratic primary between Mr. Rangel and an ambitious, Dominican-born challenger, State Senator Adriano D. Espaillat, enters its final days, the candidates are vying for the support of an unexpectedly critical minority: whites.

Elderly Jewish voters in the Bronx have found a smiling Mr. Espaillat at their doors, with pamphlets in hand. White gentrifiers in Harlem were invited to meet Mr. Espaillat at more than a dozen private receptions, many held in their neighbors’ homes.

Mr. Rangel, whose reputation fell sharply among whites after a string of ethical missteps, is striking back: Last week, his campaign targeted the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights, neighborhoods with some of the district’s largest non-Hispanic white populations, with fliers depicting Mr. Espaillat as a marionette, with Republicans like Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin holding his strings.

The jousting over white residents, who have poured into the greater Harlem area in recent years, signifies how gentrification and redistricting have altered the battle lines in the 13th Congressional District, long seen as a stronghold of black political power in New York.

And it speaks to the sharp-edged nature of a primary that could be determined on the margins: 25 percent of the voters who turn out on Tuesday are expected to be white, a smaller portion than Hispanics and blacks but enough to sway the results of a race that was decided by fewer than 1,100 votes two years ago.

“The highest percentage of undecided voters in the district is among whites,” said Bruce N. Gyory, a political consultant not working for either campaign. {snip}

Each candidate remains focused on maximizing turnout among his base. For Mr. Rangel, that means black voters who have helped propel him to 22 terms in the House; for Mr. Espaillat, it is the Hispanic population that now makes up 55 percent of the district, up from 46 percent before a realignment to reflect the 2010 census.


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  • Actually, the district Rangel represents was re-drawn in 2011 to include far many more Hispanics. The aforementioned Mr. Espillat, who has political credibility of his own as chairman of the New York State Senate Latino Caucus, challenged Rangel back in 2012 in the newly redrawn district and came very close to winning.

    And, contra this article, Rangel has been even more loud and screwy with his anti-white rhetoric in the last few months. I think the reason for it is that he knows the fight of his life that Espillat is giving him, and Rangel is trying to remind his black voters that they’re black and Rangel is black, but do it without coming out against Hispanics and ruining the Democrat-left apple cart.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Have you heard the latest?

      At the last moment a 64 year old Dominican woman turned up on the ballot. She’s getting 5% of the vote, coming at Espaillat’s expense in a tight race.

      This woman has never run for office before, can’t speak English and doesn’t even live in the district.

      She has no campaign staff. No office. No money.

      So how’d she get on the ballot? Signatures were collected on her behalf by an operative who used to work for … Charlie Rangel.

      • White people need to use these kinds of dirty tricks to sabotage blacks at every turn. We’re fighting for our lives. This is war. All’s fair.

      • Dr. Cramden

        Great, she fits the bill for the job. She is a perfect replacement for Charlie Rangel.

  • OhWow

    Harlem is the total reversal of what we are seeing in Detroit. The whites have taken it back after it was essentially owned by blacks exclusively. There are tons of new apartments and the ghetto areas of old Harlem are shrinking by the day. Whites are forcing blacks out of Harlem, Brooklyn, and more recently Queens. Many graduates with advanced degrees want to live in the city now and they raise the rent prices which makes the welfare deadbeats have to leave. They are very bitter about it too. Recently, Spike Lee made comments essentially whining about how the neighborhood was changing and how whites “weren’t respecting the culture” of these inner city neighborhoods. Some white person had the audacity to call a noise complaint on a black guy next door blasting music in the wee hours of the morning. That was what he was referring to by not “respecting” the culture. He basically said “there goes the neighborhood” referring to whites. But of course instead of getting crushed in the media, he got supported. Reverse that and a white guy saying there goes the neighborhood here come the blacks and all hell would break loose.

    Funny quick story: I was out in Brooklyn one night in a mostly white section (Williamsburg). One older white guy was at a bar and I was joking around telling him there are a lot more white people around than I remember growing up. He looked at me with a grin and said “We’re taking the this city back brother!”. And he is correct. Yes there are many liberals in the city, but you’d be shocked how many race realists there are (who don’t even know that term) and how many conservatives.

    • John R

      Yes, there are probably a lot of race realists in New York. But that is because they have had the unpleasant experience of being near blacks. That seems to be what all too many Whites need to wake up to reality.

    • 1stworlder

      But the trash ends up moving out into whitopia

    • blackjack322

      Very much appreciate your perspective on this. Very nice to get the perspective of a race realist who has lived and continues to live in places like New York.

      I’m very pleased to hear that so many young whites there are racially conscious and not set in stone with their political beliefs. A ray of hope for us from…Harlem? Didn’t see that one coming at all!

      Cheers brothers and sisters!

      • Olorin

        Remember, Harlem was white long before it was ever a theme park for worshippers of Negro culture.

        “Long before it became the diverse enclave it is today, Harlem was a haven for European immigrants and citizens of European descent. Attracted by its fertile soil and location, which presented military advantages, Dutch settlers founded Harlem in 1658. Governor Peter Stuyvesant named the town Nieuw Haarlem after a city in Holland—British immigrants renamed it Harlem.

        “According to a 1910 Census, Harlem had a population of around 500,000; only 50,000 were African American and 75,000 were native-born whites, the rest were immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Russia, England, Italy and Scandinavia. By 1930, the African American population grew to over 200,000.”

        Read that second paragraph again. In 20 years Harlem went from being 10% black to 40%, after 250 years of being majority white.

    • saxonsun

      Great post–good news all around. We’ve lived in NYC for decades. We rejoice at the gentrification of the slums here.

  • John R

    Won’t matter. Because if this is between two black candidates the only one who would get the votes of his people would be the one was more anti-white. “Courting white voters” would be a useless exercise.

  • Katherine McChesney

    Someone should remind blacks in Harlem that it was originally inhabited by White people and that blacks replaced the Dutch who were the original inhabitants.

    • Oil Can Harry

      And after the Dutch came WASPS and Germans. In the late 19th century Italians and Jews.

      Harlem wasn’t a bad place to live until the 1920s when it became part of Africa.

    • saxonsun

      The Italians had it before the blacks moved in.

  • dd121

    I’m afraid that in NY, the white swing voters, don’t swing very far to the right.

  • I’m rooting for the Hispanic (Puerto Rican?). Let the blacks learn they’ll end up losing as amnesty for illegals is granted. Let them learn that the Hispanics are not their friends. I hope the whites in New York see it my way. Teach the moronic blacks a lesson.

  • alwaysright21

    most hipanics despise blacks and look down on the “mayato’s?”

  • LHathaway

    ‘a series of ethical missteps’

    The news must always be colored. . .

    I’ve heard language 10 times more negative than ‘missteps’ going on for 10 times the length of space when a politician on the political right merely misspells a word.

  • saxonsun

    The bleaching of Harlem has been in the works for many years. Decades ago, the cops followed whites around if they saw them there–now we see tons of whites.

  • Katherine McChesney

    Blacks don’t create ghettos’. They create slums. Find out the difference.

  • Black Plague

    Never EVER vote for the black guy. I don’t care if the opponent is Mexican, Chinese, or Indian. Never EVER vote for the black guy. If Obama didn’t teach you that, nothing will.

  • Get ready for a shock.

    I am recommending a vote for Rangel if you happen to live in that district.

    While it’s only a Democrat primary in one of the bluest Congressional districts in the country, it has ramifications for immigration politics in the Republican party.

    If Espaillat wins tomorrow, here’s what we’re going to hear from the RINO open borders establishment:

    “ZOMG GREAT HISPANIC TIDAL WAVE COMING LOL~!!!!!1 Amnesty and open borders NOW”

    And as an aside, if you’re in Mississippi, even if you don’t think Chris McDaniel is all that and a bag of chips, definitely vote for him tomorrow if you have a vote, because Thad Cochran has become the de facto black candidate, pandering to blacks hard and big time.