Last month, a group named SHE THE PEOPLE, which consists of non-white women, held a presidential forum in Texas with several presidential contenders of the Democratic Party. As expected in an ethnic forum like that, a Black women candidate would receive a frenetic entry response. And Kamala Harris got it.
But there was an interesting moment that holds deep significance for the next presidential election in the US. One hopes what transpired in Texas will resonate with the Guyanese electorate.
In a situation where the audience was 99 percent non-white and predominantly African American women, a white candidate got the largest end-of-speech applause.
What it tells you is that Black American women are looking at issues not the ethnic composition of the candidates. MY choice after Bernie Sanders is Elizabeth Warren. I think Ms. Warren is more interested in the type of policies that are more radical than any Black candidate at the moment.
Not because Harris is of Jamaican and East Indian extraction that should make her the automatic choice of non-white voters.
This kind of thinking is long overdue in Guyana. The disturbing presence in the upcoming election campaign here is the Irfaan Ali ticket. Bharrat Jagdeo engineered Ali’s victory because he feels the ethnic vote will generate success whoever the PPP runs with.
This writer has inside information about conspiracies during the voting for the presidential candidate. Frank Anthony and Dr. Vindya Persaud were asked to withdraw.
The thinking behind the withdrawal request by the person who made it is that Ali or Anthony or whoever is elected or selected does not matter, the Indian people will vote for the PPP because of race.
What the Ali candidacy means then is that race-based voting will be encouraged. What makes this sad is that the better man or woman is driven to the wasteland because ideas and issues do not matter in the way people vote.
But the other dimension of the Irfaan Ali controversy is Indian people themselves. If Jagdeo wanted a Medvedev type personality and that is why he chose Irfaan why do Indian people feel he would do better for them and Guyana if elected than a more learned politician; for example, Anil Nandlall?
With every passing day, the Ali enigma takes on more bizarre features and that is why one hopes that what happened in Texas last Wednesday could resonate in Guyana. Jagdeo is insisting on Ali never mind the skepticism among PPP supporters because Jagdeo is counting on the ethnically driven ballot to give the PPP victory.
It is embarrassing because nowhere in another country, the man who would be president of a country allows another party official to dominate the election campaign. From the time the no-confidence motion was passed, and election signs began to emerge, Jagdeo became the face of the PPP’s bandwagon.
Why is Jagdeo doing this? Because for him, Ali cannot lose. Ali’s victory is not dependent on Ali the man, but on the way people vote for the PPP. Jagdeo, then, does not see the overshadowing of Ali by him as causing consternation in and outside of Guyana.
Jagdeo’s mental frame is shaped by the reality that the PPP is contesting elections, not Ali and the way people always vote for the PPP, they will vote the same way in 2019 if it is Ali or Sally or Molly.
Could Jagdeo be wrong? Could the Texas incident find a presence in the Guyana election? Is there a perceptible rise of dissatisfaction among PPP on the evolution of the Medvedev syndrome than can create a formidable dent in the PPP’s collection of votes? I would cite two circumstances that could damage the PPP at the polls.
First, there is a mood of frustration over the victory of Irfaan. His rivals were very credible people. Most Guyanese thought that the conclusion was already in existence – Nandlall would win. But Anthony and Dr. Persaud have widespread acceptance. If this frustration continues to simmer, the PPP will lose votes.
Secondly, if Nandlall, Anthony and Dr. Persaud go public with their angst and chagrin, the damage will be enormous. But there are many ways to display a bad mood. They can stay home, become invisible and refuse to galvanise PPP supporters.
It would appear that Anthony and Dr. Persaud are taking a low profile. Since the PPP election for the presidential slot, the country doesn’t hear about them.
On the other side, the situation is no different. Why should African Guyanese cast an ethnic ballot for a president that will not be able to muster sufficient physical strength to campaign and run one of the most troubled countries in the entire world?
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