Is Manuel Medina San Antonio’s Trump?

Manuel Medina is like Donald Trump. He’s an elitist claiming a populist agenda. Like Trump, Medina rails against The Establishment and Old Political Interests and The Swamp. Like Trump, Medina is more concerned with personality than policies in his mayoral run[1]. Like Trump, Medina claims the city’s status quo is terrible, just awful and only he can fix it. Unlike Trump, Medina’s definition (and criticism) of elites is rather broad. In fact, it seems to apply to most of San Antonio rather than his neighbors, who are far more likely to be the city’s elite than those of us living near downtown.

As I’ve said before, Medina seems to want to represent a slice of the electorate rather than reach across the city and across demographics. See, at least Trump knew to pander to the uneducated and low-income voters while nonetheless targeting those middle-income voters who feel socially and economically threatened. Medina is feeding into (and attempting to feed off of) fear of the elites’ neoliberal takeover, but he’s denigrating those middle-income voters he needs to win and fund his priorities, whatever they may be. This is why I point out that he lives in the Dominion.

I haven’t seen anyone else mention his passing on the option to run for a seat on city council before throwing his hat into the ring for mayor, especially given he’s never before held elected office. I’m going to argue that his positions don’t sit well with those in his district who, given property prices, are more likely on the other side of the aisle and not in favor of a Democratic firebrand. (This is conjecture. I’m not familiar with the districts nor their demographic makeup.)

These ratings disprove Medina’s fearmongering. Infographic from SA2020.org.

As I have said several times, to represent those he says he wants to represent (poor minorities, as his rhetoric suggests), Medina may have to live in their neighborhood. If you’re unwilling to do that, why should you be elected to serve?

Oh, and Medina styles his campaign after Morales’ drive-across-the-state Senate run years ago. I’ve run a Morales-like campaign – Ray McMurrey for U.S. Senate in 2008. We challenged Rick Noriega in the Democratic primary and “bloodied” him in a debate (according to the media). We lost, of course, but I can’t imagine how many miles Ray put on his truck campaigning across the state. Medina is no Morales. He’s not even working as hard as Ray did. And when Ray discussed national issues, at least he was running for national office and not mayor of San Antonio. Oh, and Ray was a school teacher; not a political consultant.

I appreciate that he made his way as a political consultant by the sweat of his brow. I appreciate that he wants to help the little guy. But when you denigrate the guy in the middle (the guy who would otherwise agree with you), you’re gonna lose. Trump won the election because he didn’t lose focus – no matter how chaotic his campaign and White House have seemed from the outside. He stuck with his target audience and they stuck with him through Election Day. Unfortunately for Medina, I don’t think enough San Antonians are going to do that for him.

[1] In a profile published today by The Rivard Report, Medina said, “What we have today is a mayor’s office that constructs highways, sidewalks, and bridges without the human factor. The human factor is something that [I will bring] as mayor.”

 

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