So last night, among the many election results coming from Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia and elsewhere, was an historic one where Kentucky elected its first African American Attorney General. Wilmington City Councilman and former Democratic candidate for Attorney General in our own state, Chris Johnson, made note of that history with this Facebook post.
“Congratulations to Kentucky for making history! This monumental feat reminds us that even so called “Red” states often get it right in areas where “Blue” states do not.”
First, I sense a little bit of bitterness there on his own personal part. Had Johnson won the Democratic nomination here for Attorney General in 2018, it is highly likely that he would have been elected Delaware’s first African American Attorney General. There was a little knock or shade thrown on Delaware with that “blue” state reference. At least, that is my interpretation.
Second, however, is the more important point. The first African American Attorney General of Kentucky, David Cameron, is a Mitch McConnell acolyte and a Republican.
So the question is, should we be happy that Kentucky has broken the color barrier with a candidate who will be hostile, ironically, to minorities and civil rights given his ideology, political history and party membership?
Delaware Democratic Party Executive Director Jesse Chadderdon thinks the answer is no. Here is his comment: “What am I missing here? Why are we supposed to be excited about the election of Mitch McConnell’s Republican protege, a guy who demonized immigrants as a central plank of his campaign?” Chadderdon and others posted links to racist campaign ads and positions that Cameron had taken in the campaign, which are quite the opposite of the progressive and criminal justice reform principles that Johnson ran on himself in 2018 and continues to advance in his political career. You can read Johnson’s and Chadderdon’s back and forth at the Facebook link above, and I hope Chris doesn’t delete it, because this is the rare instance where both sides of the argument are right and wrong.
Councilman Johnson posted another Facebook post in response to the reaction of the first:
“To clarify to all, as a life-long Democrat I have always stood by the values and tradition of our Party. My acknowledgement of a historic accomplish[ment] by a fellow attorney of color is an acknowledgment of the tremendous pain and racism of our nation’s history and just how far we have come. I do not support his positions.
However it sparked a much larger conversation about how the Democratic Party MUST clean up its act and start to invest in younger and more diverse candidates.
Living in a state in which after hundreds of years there have only been TWO ever statewide elected officials of color, underscores the necessity of wholesale investment and changes on this front.
Black and Latino Americans don’t need the most “woke” candidate but instead need the leader that will consistency work everyday to add food to the table and jobs to disinvested areas.
If we get this formula right we CAN win back the White House.”
This should have been his first post on the subject. You can celebrate the breaking of a racial barrier without celebrating the horrendous man doing the breaking of the barrier. It is a tightrope, to be sure, but it can be done. Johnson’s first post did not do that balancing, hence the reaction. I don’t get the dissing of “woke” candidates, though. Chris Johnson, as a champion of criminal justice reform in 2018, was a “woke” candidate.