Scandal plagued Congressman William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, 61, secured a spot yesterday in November’s Democratic Run Off by besting five serious black contenders and a lone Latina, Helena Moreno, 30, a political newcomer and former newscaster.
Ms. Moreno, a Texas transplant and the daughter of Oil and Gas entrepreneur Felix Moreno, has been identified in the mainstream media and seems to be campaigning as the only “white” contender in the race despite having been born in Mexico and not stepping foot in this country until after her seventh birthday. Technically, Ms. Moreno’s mother, an academic at Baylor University, a native born American, is white.
Most Mexicans identify themselves racially as Mestizo–an Indian and Anglo combo analogous to being Mulatto in the United States. But Latin America is famous for having a reverse one drop rule: one drop of white blood makes you white in some contexts and countries.
The subtext of all southern politics is race, and the politics of New Orleans, a uniquely French influenced region and culture, is no different.
Louisiana is famous for having jungle primaries in which candidates of all parties compete against each other and the top two candidates regardless of party advance for the general election. That has been changed for Congressional races. However, the Democratic Primary and Run Off are not closed to independents. Independents in the New Orleans Metro area are usually not of color and vote disproportionately Republican.
The question in this race is whether African Americans will coalesce around the federally indicted Jefferson and send him back to Congress for a term he will never finish. Jefferson’s December trial will most assuredly result in his conviction for bribery, kickbacks, and a host of other crimes I’ve long since forgotten and don’t care to research.
Given the division between blacks and whites in Metro New Orleans over Hurricane Katrina related recovery projects and the universal hostility of the majority-white city council and their Negro ventriloquists to working class African Americans need for affordable housing and their undisputed right to return home and reclaim the property and lives destroyed by white hostility and indifference, it is unlikely that reform minded African Americans will coalesce behind Moreno and her Republican Real-Estate Developer benefactors.
The Congressional Black Caucus chose to back Jefferson rather than bow to reality and back an acceptable horse–an act of political malpractice I still struggle to understand. New Orleanians are the most misrepresented blackfolks in the nation and are in need of a savior. Before New Orleans drown in a sea of Army Corps of Engineers incompetence, Dollar Bill was too preoccupied securing the relief of the richest 1% from Estate Taxes and engineering foreign graft and kickbacks for himself and his children to bother with procuring appropriations for the upkeep of the levies that keep the city dry. I’m too tired to adequately express the totality of my contempt for Dollar Bill. I’ll get to it later.
This race will be an interesting one for sure.