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Commentary By Jason L. Riley

Black Mayors in the Four Biggest Cities. Is That a ‘Big Deal’?

Ethnic political clout may be more of a hindrance than a boon when it comes to economic success.

When Karen Bass is sworn in next month as the new mayor of Los Angeles, the nation’s four largest cities will be led by blacks simultaneously for the first time.

Ms. Bass, a former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, joins Eric Adams, who became New York’s second black mayor in January; Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who took office in 2019; and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who was first elected in 2015 and is now serving in his second term. Like most black voters, all four are Democrats, but liberals are celebrating more than another partisan victory.

A widely held view on the left is that racial and ethnic political clout is essential to a minority group’s economic advancement. “When you have the top four cities at the table, with the administration, I think that the conversation is definitely going to land where it needs to be,” said Phyllis Dickerson, CEO of the African American Mayors Association, in an interview with CNN. Frank Scott, the mayor of Little Rock, Ark., and president of AAMA, was similarly optimistic in his comments to Politico. “Anytime we get a new mayor, it’s exciting,” he said. “But to have another mayor, a black woman, who’s going to lead one of our nation’s major cities? That’s a big deal.”

Continue reading the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal (paywall)


Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator. Follow him on Twitter here.

This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal