Brooks: In the Newark mayoral race, Baraka Represent the "Old Stability" for Municipal Workers While Jeffries Represents a "Shot at Improvement"

In today’s New York Times columnist David Brooks frames the race between mayoral candidates Ras Baraka and Shavar Jeffries as “regular vs. reformer.”

Brooks explains that Baraka  "has the support of most of the major unions and political organizations," combining  "a confrontational 1970s style of racial rhetoric with a transactional, machine-like style of politics." Jeffries. on the other hand, "is the outsider and the reformer, promising to end the favor trading in government and modernize the institution," although "he has not not organized a particularly effective campaign."

Brooks continues, 
Then there is the split, which we’re seeing in cities across the country, between those who represent the traditional political systems and those who want to change them. In Newark, as elsewhere, charter schools are the main flash point in this divide. Middle-class municipal workers, including members of the teachers’ unions, tend to be suspicious of charters. The poor, who favor school choice, and the affluent, who favor education reform generally, tend to support charters.

These contests aren’t left versus center; they are over whether urban government will change or stay the same. Over the years, public-sector jobs have provided steady income for millions of people nationwide. But city services have failed, leaving educational and human devastation in cities like Newark. Reformers like Jeffries rise against all odds from the devastation. They threaten the old stability, but offer a shot at improvement and change. 
For more on how the Newark race is less about the choice between  Baraka and Jeffries and more about whether NJ's next governor will be Steve Sweeney or Steve Fulop, see this analysis from PolitickerNJ.

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