On April 29, 1992, the acquittal of four white Los Angeles police officers involved in the beating of Rodney King, an African-American man, triggered riots in Los Angeles that resulted in more than 50 dead, thousands injured and some $1 billion in property damage.
Sitting here in Paris, where I am spending a month as a visiting professor at the Université Paris 8, Institut Français de Géopolitique, I’m struck by how, once again, American presidential candidates are denigrating their opponents simply by calling them “French” or “European.”
The battle over raising the debt limit has raised a lot of concern about how Republicans act as an opposition party. They have shown that they are willing to risk crashing the economy to get their way with a Democratic president. But they won’t be in opposition forever. We have to start thinking about what they would be like if they were actually in charge.
Raphael J. Sonenshein is chair of the Division of Politics, Administration and Justice at California State University, Fullerton. Remember Osama bin Laden? Anyone who thought his death would determine the 2012 elections only had to wait a few weeks for the story to disappear and the bad new job numbers to remind us that the economy is still the main issue in American politics. The 2012 election is certainly looking more competitive.
Letters to the Editor
In November 2003, California voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger. White voters backed the recall by a large margin, but Jewish voters swam against the tide, with 69 percent voting against the recall. On the second part of the ballot, where voters chose a replacement candidate, Schwarzenegger collected a surprising 31 percent of Jewish voters.
I suggested then in these pages that Schwarzenegger might eventually do well with Jews: "Jewish voters aren't likely to abandon the Democratic Party anytime soon, but will likely give Arnold Schwarzenegger a chance to prove that he can govern in a bipartisan, moderate manner.... If Schwarzenegger truly seeks to solve the state's problems without being a tool of right-wing forces, and with an open-minded, progressive approach, he may find a surprising number of friends among California's Democratic-leaning Jewish voters."
Chance given, chance blown.
With his election as mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa now has the chance to deliver on the coalition approach he offered to the voters in the recent campaign. If he succeeds, Los Angeles government may start to find solutions to problems that have previously seemed intractable. If he fails, he will leave a city more balkanized than before, and one that will have a harder time than ever solving its problems.
The race for the Democratic presidential nomination has taken a fateful turn in the past several weeks. The rise -- or re-emergence -- of Sen.
John Kerry of Massachusetts, the decline of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and the withdrawal of Sen. Joe Lieberman make the quadrennial dream of Republicans that Jewish voters will vote Republican more difficult to achieve.