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Voting smart in upcoming mayor’s election

Melvin B. Miller

There are 12 candidates vying to be Boston’s next mayor, and six are minorities. So many candidates will split the minority vote and create confusion on issues. The election is Sept. 24, only three weeks away. It is time for minority candidates who have not made much headway in their campaigns to consider closing down.

Sometimes it is heroic to quit. Politicians are competitive, highly motivated and aggressive individuals who will fight to the end. It is unnatural for them to throw in the towel before the political battle is over. However, there is a strategic aspect of politics that just might call for such a maneuver.

The primary concern at this time is whether the candidates have raised sufficient funds to conduct at least the vestige of a vigorous campaign. Clearly David Wyatt, Charles Clemons and Charles Yancy have not. Therefore, despite what qualifications they might have to become mayor, they lack the financial resources to attain that goal.

The ultimate objective, at least among progressive citizens, is for Boston to become a truly cosmopolitan city. Political candidates will then be evaluated by their programs and not their ethnicity. However, in order for Bostonians to attain that state of mind, ethnic groups that have been ignored in the past must become viewed as serious participants in the political process. Felix Arroyo, John Barros and Charlotte Golar Richie are all racial minorities, and Richie would also be the first woman to be Boston’s mayor.

Political operatives will be assessing the minority vote in the Sept. 24 primary election for mayor. A strong turnout and vote for viable candidates will let them know that the concerns of minority residents will have to be considered in future elections. Dissipation of voting power on candidates with no chance of winning is not a good sign. It shows a lack of political sophistication.

Everyone has the opportunity to run for public office in America. That is the beauty of our democratic system. It is usually a personal decision whether or not to run for office. At some point, however, it is appropriate to consider what is in the best interest of the community.