Filed under: State Politics
West Hartford, CT. Home.
Municipal elections were held in West Hartford on Nov. 3rd, just as many towns and cities across the United States held their own elections. The Democrats won an unsurprising majority – propelled by budget issues (the Republicans on the Town Council tend to vote down budgets causing referendum after referendum in the spring) and an overwhelming amount of Democrats registered in town.
So what did the Republicans run on? How did they conduct their underdog campaign in the face of overwhelming odds against them?
Well – taking a page out of the way the national GOP is headed – West Hartford’s Republicans used a very controversial issue to try to win the 2009 Municipal Elections — race.
Connecticut. A Yankee state. Succession – no way. But yeah, how about we use the threat of racial redistricting to try to scare all of those poor white grandmas that live in West Hartford. Seriously? This isn’t the 1960s! This isn’t the South! This type of campaigning is NOT APPROPRIATE, ever!
Here’s what the Republicans did – they ran on a firm platform (mind you, their own platform) of being against “a state statute that requires racial balance in individual schools to reflect the racial balance of the district as a whole.” Yes, the Republicans were against racial redistricting. And GOP town chair, Justin Clark, credits the Republican’s stance on this issue to helping the party as a whole gain votes - mind you, the top vote getters for TC and BoE were all Democrats.
But back to the point – the town Republican’s key issue was opposition to a state statute that mandates redistricting to reflect racial balances. This is not just a state statute – it’s a NATIONAL LAW! If the West Hartford Republicans took over the town council – do you think that they would not have to comply with this law? Of course they would have to – it’s the law. A national law. Unless they want the NAACP and the ACLU up on them and a case to be brought to the US Supreme Court – West Hartford public schools would get redistricted regardless of what party was in power.
Now that we’ve established the fact that the West Hartford Republicans need to go retake high school government, we can turn our attention to using race-baiting as a strategy in an upper-middle class New England suburb. This just shocks me. It’s West Hartford. Yeah, there’s a lot of white people – it’s because we live in Connecticut. But – we also border Hartford. Hartford kids are bused into our schools. Conard High School does so well on national scales because it is so diverse and does so well. I think it’s easy to view West Hartford a two distinct towns – the Conard side and the Hall side. Hall – of course they would submit to fear mongering and race baiting, I mean in their minds, it’s an attack on their culture of perfect pretentiousness. The Conard side – well even the lower per capita income of this side would not push this crew towards the Republican side. Our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues are all different. Why shouldn’t that be acceptable?
My town has a lot of problems – that’s for sure. But the vote returns from the 2009 Municipal Elections show that the voters here are not swayed by the tactics displayed by the Republican party. If things change – and who knows, they might – or if a fight breaks out when the redistricting issue comes about – I’m sure that there will be a lot of people on both sides of the aisle screaming at each other. I’ll be there too – because people need to understand that this type of campaigning and this behavior displayed by the town Republican party is not acceptable. Not today. Not then. Not ever.
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