R-E-S-P-E-C-T

As the 2023 Mayor’s Race approaches, Philadelphia’s voters need to channel their inner Aretha Franklin.

Photo by Trev Adams

Three percent.

That’s all that stood between us as Americans and the cruelest and disingenuous act of electoral disrespect I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been covering politics for 30 years.

On Tuesday, the citizens of Georgia came within 3% of sending Herschel Walker to the United States Senate.

Now if that sounds scary to you, it should. Watching Walker’s campaign was painful. While folks on the right have tried to compare it to watching John Fetterman campaign for the Senate, the big difference between the two was that while Fetterman may have been slowed by a stroke, he was relatively coherent.

(He also didn’t bring up the great Vampire vs. Werewolf debate. Like former President Barack Obama, most of us settled this when we were 7.)

I bring all this up because Georgia’s Republican Party knew that Walker was a hot mess and encouraged voters to put him on the ballot anyway. That, to me, was the ultimate sign of disrespect. It says to voters, “You’ll get what we want to give you and like it!”

Usually, that’s not a problem we have here in Philly. While we may not like the candidates we have for certain races because we don’t like their stances on certain issues, we tend not to run people whose inability to do the job is blatantly obvious.

But that can change. Especially when special interests get involved. For example, during last weekend’s Pennsylvania Society event, a group of developers from New York (and former State Sen. Vincent Fumo) got together and announced that they put $5 million into a political action committee to elect State Rep. Amen Brown the city’s next mayor. Brown officially announced his candidacy on Thursday.

While I’m not going to go as far as some have and call Brown Philadelphia’s Herschel Walker because I think that’s unfair, there’s a bunch about this that is already not passing the smell test.

Like, for example, the fact that he’s being bankrolled by a group of people whose intentions are so obvious.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Developer Class is letting you know that it wants its own Mayor. Frustrated with a City Hall that defers to City Council on these issues, and a City Council that views councilmanic prerogative as sacrosanct, it wants someone that will stop breaking their flow and will allow them to put their overpriced Box ‘O Apartments anywhere they want.

They claim it will create jobs. Now, if past is prologue, the rest of that sentence is, for White dudes from New Jersey and Delaware County.

While Brown brands himself as a fighter for his district, and he very well might be, fighting guys like the Vince Of Darkness and former Boxing Commissioner George Bochetto on behalf of residents with Gentrification Fatigue might be out of his wheelhouse.

But, this is a group of guys that has thought this out and believes that putting a young, Black man with neighborhood cred will help you overlook who’s bankrolling this.

To me, that’s disrespectful. Besides, it tends not to work. State Sen. Anthony Williams could tell you that.

That said, voters need to let all of the candidates running for Mayor and City Council in 2023 know that they’re not going to tolerate having their intelligence insulted. While many of us may have been born at night, it wasn’t last night.

To do otherwise puts you in a position where the parties or some special interest group decides to put someone up whose desire to dance with the ones that brought them is far more obvious than their desire to dance with the ones that elected them.

Voters need to demand their proper respect.

Or at the very least, they need to make sure that one of their candidate choices isn’t a guy who thinks “Twilight” is real…

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