Amid the bloviation-fest following Tuesday’s election, Charlotte’s mayoral election seems to have kept on flying under the national political radar. Odd.
Think about it: A young African-American Democrat, raised by a single mom and his grandparents, now a successful lawyer, aims for a seat that’s been Republicans for years. He mobilizes young and African-American voters and wins in a strong showing. Sound familiar?
Democrat Anthony Foxx’s win over Republican John Lassiter is not an insignificant anthill on the political landscape. The largest city in the nation’s 10th largest state elected its first Democratic mayor in 22 years, an African-American in a majority-white Southern city, a progressive mass transit supporter and an environmentalist.
Charlotte is America’s 18th-largest city, with a population of 687,456 in 2008. That means that Foxx now governs slightly more people than Sarah Palin, onetime candidate for vice president, did as governor of the state of Alaska. Charlotte has more people than Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and Wyoming. If you take the population of the entire Charlotte metropolitan area, the contrast is even more striking. With around 1.7 million people, the Charlotte metro area has a population larger than 11 states and the District of Columbia. Each of those 11 states has two Senators. The political structure of this country is truly bizarre.