Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Street Fight" Analysis

"Street Fight" is a documentary by Marshall Curry that follows politician Cory Booker throughout his campaign for the mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Throughout the film, Booker and his supporters face fierce opposition from his opponent and longtime incumbent, Sharpe James. In the documentary, the nature of the race is described by stating, " In Newark, N.J., elections are won and lost in the streets." This documentary reveals the harsh reality of some elections in which people are willing to use extremely negative tactics to win. The true nature of Sharpe James is revealed. Viewers can see how he manipulates his power in order to harm Booker and his supporters. Business were closed, workers with government jobs were demoted, and people's reputations were destroyed all because of their support for the Cory Booker campaign. Booker's campaign trailer was broken into, the privacy of his phone lines was overlooked, and he was attacked in the press. Booker signs were painted over and people were intimidated into donating money for jAmes. James brought race into the campaign by calling Booker a "white republican" because he received a high level of education didn't fit into the stereotypes of a black man in Newark. He tried to gain support by claiming that Booker was Jewish and had ties to the KKK. Sharpe also lied to the press and told people that Booker was trying to "buy the election" by hiring people to campaign for him on Election Day, when in reality that was what he did. In contrast, James' supporters also threatened Booker at the debate telling him to beware if they see him on the streets. Booker is shown to only use fair tactics to gain funding and support. He is portrayed as an honest, intelligent man who truly cares about the people of Newark. He even lives in low income housing and walks the streets knocking on doors to further get to know the people who are struggling. It is clear that Booker is battling James' negative tactics with positive tactics. The documentary revealed that many elections are not fair fights and there is a lot of corruption in politics. People use other politician's support in return for favors. Although Booker falls short of a victory in 2002, he goes on to become the 36th mayor of Newark in 2006 with a 70% victory over Rice(James decided not to run for a sixth term). In 2007, James was indicted for five counts of fraud and was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

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