What if Race No Longer Matters in City Politics?

The most significant development in the mayoral election in Boston earlier this month was hardly discussed: the absence of open racial animosity. … The absence of race as a divisive issue was also striking in New York’s recent mayoral election — and before that in the March 5 mayoral election in Los Angeles. …

For Democrats celebrating the party’s post-racial solidarity, however, the future offers the prospect of new and potentially more divisive conflicts in the struggle to hold together the fragile liberal coalition.

The Democratic Party has two tiers. At one level, there is an elite of well-educated, relatively affluent activists who dominate party proceedings, set the agenda, write much of the platform and decide the make-or-break issues governing the selection of presidential nominees. At another level, there is a much larger segment of the electorate that is poorer, dependent on government programs and ill-organized to force the powerful to pay attention to its priorities.

If, as now appears to be a possibility, the 2016 fight for the Democratic nomination pits Hillary Clinton against Elizabeth Warren, this largely submerged conflict will be forced onto center stage. CONT.

Tom Edsall (Columbia U.), New York Times