“It sheds light on the picture demographically,” Mr. Palelogos said.
Boston is growing, according to recent census data, while its percentage of non-Hispanic white residents is declining from 47% in 2010 to less than 45% now. The city’s black population is also in decline, from around 22% in 2010 to 19% today. There is rapid growth in its Asian and Hispanic communities.
Although Ms. Wu enjoyed a young and dynamic base – elements of the “Markeyverse”, which fueled the surprise re-election of Senator Ed Markey, gathered in a “Wuniverse” – she could encounter headwinds in the general election in New York. because of its positions on housing and development, such as its support for rent control.
It’s a start, in itself, that so much of this race is about politics. Boston’s campaigns have long revolved around ethnic rivalries, first between Anglo-Protestants and Irish Catholics, and then attracting racial minorities as those populations grew.
Boston’s mayors relied so heavily on the participation of ethnic enclaves that they did not need to build a multi-ethnic coalition by presenting a bold vision, as Fiorello La Guardia did in New York, the historian said. Jason Sokol, author of All Eyes Are On Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn.
“They didn’t have to express a vision, and they didn’t end up ruling with a lot of vision,” he said.
Tuesday’s preliminary election results could point the city to very different confrontations for the November general election, including one that will pit Ms. Wu against Ms. Essaibi George, who draws her main support from white neighborhoods.
Ms Clark said she feared the battle between the two black candidates could lead in that direction, closing a rare window of opportunity for the city, whose black population is steadily shrinking with rising housing costs.
“I firmly believe that if Kim doesn’t stay there, we won’t see a black mayor elected in the city of Boston,” she said.