In response to What Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) Fears:
My sister used to live in Charlie Rangel’s district. She was appalled when Rangel was re-elected in 2010 despite a strong challenge from Adam Clayton Powell IV–a flawed candidate, to be sure, but with the roots and name recognition to mount a formidable campaign. After that race, which came following Rangel’s tax scandals, it was clear that Rangel no longer has anything to fear. Not from democratic politics, anyway.
Rangel’s race-baiting comments on the Tea Party are probably not for political consumption alone. They are how he likely feels about the subject. Most of the black civil rights establishment feels the same way–so much so that they are prepared to overlook the government’s own violation of the civil rights of Tea Party members and organizations. But Rangel is also prone to candid criticisms of his own party on occasion.
He has nothing to fear; he will be re-elected, regardless. That is not solely a phenomenon of black politics, by the way: see, for example, the colorful career of James Traficant. The comeback careers of Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner (well, almost) are evidence that voters from all backgrounds are willing to consider a scoundrel as long as he or she represents what they want–or, more precisely, opposes what they don’t want.