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Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Proportional Representation and Racist Republican History

Posted by The Dean of Cincinnati

Last night, I was called to fill in for someone at a community forum, speaking about Proportional Representation.  I was happy to do my part for the campaign, but I think the most rewarding aspect of the experience was meeting an older gentleman who has lived in Cincinnati long enough to remember PR.  He asked me, during the question session, why the City ever got rid of PR in the first place.  I told him that the Republicans who then controlled Cincinnati did not want minorities and Democrats earning so much control—and that they got rid of it to maintain Republican rule.  The older guy shook his head “yes,” and said my comments matched his recollection.

Then I thought of this fairly recent post from the Cincinnati Blog.  That’s when I found out that Alex Triantafilou, over at the Hamilton County GOP, had actually been bragging about the Hamilton Party’s racist history on Proportional Representation.  Triantafilou wrote:

The Hamilton County Republican Party has historically stood against proportional representation as a method of electing members of city council. The most important factors identified by the Republican Party in opposing this measure is the confusion in how the system operates and the cost associated with implementation. After vigorous debate and discussion, our Party is urging a vote of “NO” on Issue 8.

I followed the link on Cincinnati Blog, and read the above paragraph in its full context at the Hamilton County GOP blog.  It was my intent to link to both these items today.  I was surprised, however, to see that Cincinnati Blog had posted an update, which I had missed:

[UPDATE: 9/25/2008]: The post to which the following refers has been deleted from the Hamilton County GOP Blog without comment. Since Triantafilou is relatively new to the blogosphere, perhaps people will overlook this serious breach of blogger etiquette (generally, it is understood that one does not delete posts—updating or editing for typos is fine—in this manner). I’ve no idea whether our post here has anything to do with the deletion.

I spent some time this morning, hoping to find a cached copy from a number of different services—but the cached copies were either too old or too new.

Alex Triantafilou ought to be ashamed—for opposing PR, for bragging about the racism of his own party, and for deleting the web page in question.  If anyone can find a cached copy, please post, for historical purposes.


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  1. JFD says:

    Jason,
    Where, in the quote you provide, is a statement that could be considered bragging; and, which of the comments do you consider racist, as race is never mentioned? If as you contend that opponents of PR have a racial agenda against blacks, then doesn’t it follow that supporters of PR have a racial agenda aimed at non-blacks?

  2. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    The Hamilton County Republican Party has historically stood against proportional representation as a method of electing members of city council.

    As the Cincinnati Blog already pointed out, this “historical” stance against PR goes back to when the Republicans did not want minorities continuing to rise to power.

    It is not anti-white to say that minorities can achieve power; it is pro-human.

  3. JFD says:

    So, according to your answer; there is no bragging involved in Triantafilou’s statement and we should consider that part of your comment as inaccurate, (wrong). As far as the accusation of racism; he outlined two reasons, cost and potential confusion. Neither involve racism. Since the presentation of history, often involves the prejudices of the presenter, especially when it comes to motives involved; it’s prudent to discount the accusation of racism, as only your opinion and not necessarily a fact. You certainly haven’t made a case that Triantafilou is a racist.

    It is not anti-white to say that minorities can achieve power; it is pro-human.

    It depends completely on the motives of those trying to achieve power, whether or not their efforts are pro-human or not. It’s certainly not a given. Do you think Smitherman will ever make the switch to a positive agenda?

  4. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    JFD is right. No bragging about racism by Triantafilou and you can obviously flip the situations and see no identity group can claim to be above working the electoral system to get or maintain power. Face it, in zero-sum gain or a winner-gets -power- loser- gets- nothing situation like electoral politics, people are going to use all legal means available (and probably even some illegal ones) to arrange the playing field so that its most beneficial to them winning elections.  Hence, that is why more extreme political voices like Smitherman and COAST favor PR and more middle-of-the-road, moderate voices like the Dems and Repubs oppose it.

    And do you really think a 80% black city like Detroit (or possibly Cincy in the future) would allow a PR system if it looked like whites were going to use it to “sneak” a white into power?

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