Turf War

Former mayor and assembly-speaker Antonio Villaraigosa will likely announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate this coming week. If Tony runs, he'll be taking on the Democratic front runner, California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Harris is coffee-colored and from the Bay Area and Villaraigosa is an Elay homeboy with an Hispanic name, so the media have made the sensible decision to present the competition in a way that's simple and easy-to-understand: black against Latino, SanFran vs SoCal. The alternative would be to waste endless column inches and seconds of airtime evaluating the candidates' records and explaining their policy differences, and no one wants that. The only snag in the epic ethnic showdown scenario is that the candidates don't fit the required templates -- Harris is the offspring of an Indian physician mother and Jamaican economist father and Villaraigosa was still struggling with español as recently as his run for mayor -- and may balk at being cast as ethnic stereotypes.

Oh, well. It's not their choice to make.

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