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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Coming White Minority

This may be the beginning of a trend:

Today's Democratic primary is the prelude to a potentially revolutionary turning point in New York City's traditional tribal politics: In November, for the first time, non-Hispanic whites are projected to constitute a minority of the voters in a mayoral general election.

The impact of the shift, coupled with changes wrought by term limits and public campaign financing, is already apparent in the choices voters face today. Polls say the front-runner for the Democratic nomination is Fernando Ferrer, a Puerto Rican raised in the South Bronx. Among his three challengers is C. Virginia Fields, a black woman who grew up in the South. William C. Thompson Jr., who is seeking a second term as comptroller, is black. And dozens of black, Hispanic and Asian candidates are competing for borough presidencies and City Council seats.

But rather than guaranteeing minority domination of New York government, the demographic changes have just made the city's politics more complex. A surge of new immigrants - many of them not bound, like their predecessors, to the Democratic Party - has so diversified black, Hispanic and Asian voters that some of the monolithic blocs and natural coalitions once taken for granted among those minority groups no longer apply.

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