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Understanding Political Interests and a Tale of Two Cities
10/7/2015 1:14:17 PM

Kurt Walker
By Kurt Walker

As we approach the November election cycle the cities of Charleston and North Charleston stand on the precipice of history with the possibility of making it with the outcome of the mayoral race in both places.

An examination of the field of candidates contains an element of dynamic possibilities in both races.

In Charleston, there is will be a newly elected mayor who will follow a forty-year run of Joseph P. Riley and has a wide array of candidates in terms of ethnicity, sex and political stances and ideology.

 In contrast to North Charleston, although the lacks a female candidate, race will play a factor in the election as well. Regardless of these elements, how different or similar, the interests of the voting population will be the deciding factor in both cases.

With both cities being in a situation to change who is at the leadership helm, although Mayor Keith Summey is an incumbent fending off three African-American candidates, lies an opportunity to proceed as status quo, shift the direction, and/or institute a new direction for either city.

 With no incumbent, this will be the case for Charleston. Both cities have a tale similar to the classic Charles Dickens novel but the Dickensian effect is very evident in both. With the recent economic and development resurgence both have realized a widening of the gap of the family class gaps and values of homes and the cost of living rise in relation. The haves so to speak are quite well with the current agenda and the have nots, and the burgeoning middle class families more likely not.

Schools, employment and economic opportunities are high on the list of concerns voiced by the political challengers in both races in both cities. However, there is a certain size of the population in both cities how are quite comfortable with these issues because their quality of life and daily choices are not necessarily impacted by the decisions made at City Hall.

Their interests are far more imbedded with the current policies and agendas that often exist beyond local politics but are on a national or international scale. They operate on a macro level while those who are heavily invested on the local agenda primarily operate on a micro level.

Political action committees and special interests groups have been on the rise in recent elections here, not they haven’t left, but will impact both elections. But with the number of registered voters in both cities, the one person, one vote philosophy can, if there is a rise in the level of participation, will beat out the large dollars and contributions of special interests groups, whoever they may be for.

With both election pools having less than thirty percent of the registered electorate, therein lies the opportunity for the underdogs and interests of the underserved to influence the outcome in both cases. Hopefully voters will exercise their voice and find a candidate who speaks and addresses their interests and spend the remaining weeks familiarizing themselves if they haven’t done so. Will there be change in both cases is the question but that will definitely be the case in one.

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