Every Jakartan who voted for the winning pair in the capital’s gubernatorial elections last week knew exactly what they were doing. On the one hand they rejected the incumbent, a son of the city, angered by the many failures that have made living in the big city a misery for many. On the other, they recognized Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s successes in Surakarta (Solo) and pinned their hopes for a better Jakarta on the man who has kept his promises.
Most Jakartans have never been to Solo and most never will. But everybody knows success breeds success. At least they hope so. And, by endorsing his ethnic Chinese running mate Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama as well, Jakarta sent another message to all of Indonesia.
A stronghold of conservative Islam, Jakarta’s overwhelming majority of Muslims looked beyond race and religion to support the senior-most Chinese offici...