Popular wisdom about Detroiters isn’t working
The term “popular wisdom” is often used in politics when you have no concrete proof that what you are saying is true, so scribes often toss that around and its country cousin, “conventional wisdom,” to add false credibility to what they are writing and what you are reading.
Take for example the issue of a Caucasian mayor in the City of Detroit. The popular wisdom would be that African-Americans, who have been electing one of their own to the post since 1974, would never support a white person running their town.
Turns out the p.w. is dead wrong and there is proof to back it up.
With widespread speculation that hospital administrator and former guru to Wayne County executive Ed McNamara, Mike Duggan, might run for mayor, the survey takers at Denno Research and the Lambert Edwards firm set out to sample the state on the attitudes toward such a game changing development.
Question: Would you vote for a white mayor in Detroit?
The revealing results shows how out-of-step out-state Michigan is with its brothers and sisters in Motown.
Turns out 50 percent of Detroit residents would indeed vote for a mayor who was not one of their own. Contrast that with 40 percent of the rest of the state that figures Detroiters would never do that in a million years.
Talk about being out of sync.
The numbers get more interesting.
While one out of two voters in Detroit are OK with that, only 22 percent of the out-state voters believe Detroiters would actually do that.
So add it all up and you could conclude that many Detroiters see themselves as more tolerant of a candidate from a different race while outstate citizens don’t view Detroiters as that willing to consider a different choice.
The polling seems to underscore a divided Michigan which Gov. Rick Snyder has often discussed, but not all the Renlentless Positive Action in the world can rearrange that over night.
And the recent episode where the Detroit City Council fatally attempted to block state intervention into the huge deficit mess there, did little to foster the turnaround of anti-Detroit attitudes so prevalent north of Eight Mile Road.
The governor’s backers believe that he acted in good faith to avoid the imposition of an Emergency Manager and finally hammered out a consent agreement with the city to send in some badly needed financial assistance while leaving the mayor and council intact.
For a precious few fleeting moments, it looked like peace was at hand but then that law suit was filed, long after the ink had dried on the agreement, and out-state citizens had another reason to ill-judge the leaders in Detroit.
The governor refused to be drawn into the verbal cross-fire although privately he must have been more than a little miffed at the attempts to undo what he and others had so carefully put together with the help of the very council that tried to renege on the deal at the 11th hour.
The city lost credibility even though many thought they were doing the right thing.
Now the “deal” is back on track, but the deficit has not moved an inch.
Could a white mayor do any better?
Detroiters seem to be open to the idea, but their counterparts in other parts of the state, don’t believe it.
Which means the governor has a long way to go before we are One Michigan.