By Branko Marcetic, Jacobin

When thinking about India Walton’s loss in the Buffalo mayor’s race last night, it’s hard not to first think about the never-ending injustice of being poor.

Consider: incumbent Byron Brown — Walton’s opponent and improbable write-in candidate, after he lost a Democratic primary in a city where its winner is virtually elected mayor by default — has one of the country’s more shocking records. Brown has recklessly run the city’s finances into the ground. He utterly failed to tackle the city’s pervasive poverty, exacerbating it instead. He did little to nothing about its growing lead problem, and has presided over such pervasive corruption, including several scandals linked directly to him, that the FBI was investigating his entourage even as the race was going on, including a raid on one of his offices. In fact, the only reason Brown was even able to stay on the ballot was that a judge with a glaring conflict of interest ruled he could.

Byron Brown stands in front of a stack of money bags while India Walton stands in front of a raised fist
Photos by Niccappon and Lindsay DeDario

Yet as soon as Brown lost the primary, all of the misdeeds he’d committed while actually in power over the past fifteen years took a backseat. Brown successfully turned the election debate to the petty personal mistakes of Walton, a woman who became a working mother as a teen, before becoming a nurse: she was charged with $295 worth of food stamp fraud in 2003; she owed $749 in back taxes in 2004; she was stopped for driving with a suspended license; she visited her cousin before he went to jail; she failed to show up for a court summons sent to the wrong address; she wrote a rude Facebook post; and her car was towed just last month over unpaid parking tickets.

Read More