To answer Lane Hudson’s question: Yes, Democrats should place a high premium on party loyalty in this fall’s mayor’s race.
In his April 23 op-ed, Hudson delivered a litany of reasons why former Republican David Catania should get the votes of Democrats over Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser. According to Hudson, Council member Catania has the superior list of achievements in general, and is more qualified for the job of mayor. Taking his case right to the gutter, Hudson labeled Bowser “an unqualified Democrat,” who doesn’t deserve our vote just because of a party label.
We get it! You like David Catania, and you want him to be mayor. That’s fine. Why not just leave it at that? Muriel Bowser is an equally fine choice; she’s a solid Democrat and has a solid record on LGBT issues. More importantly, she’s done nothing to disqualify herself as the nominee of Democrats in the District. And quite frankly, it’s absurd to claim that Council member Bowser is “unqualified” given her own time on the Council and her other civic achievements. Would Muriel Bowser be deemed qualified enough if she were a white gay man like David Catania or Lane Hudson? I wonder.
Setting Bowser and Catania aside for a moment, the underlying premise of Hudson’s commentary is equally disturbing. He apparently sees no value in political parties. The whole purpose of a party primary is for competing factions to come to a consensus about a general election candidate.
As Democrats, we considered Mayor Gray, Muriel Bowser and others for this nomination. After hearing all the arguments, Democrats picked Bowser as their standard-bearer. From this point forward, unless she does something disqualifying, it’s completely rational to assume that the vast majority of Democrats will support Bowser in the general election. Why wouldn’t they? It’s not bullying in the least to expect a party to fall in line behind its nominee after a primary election. In fact, that’s the whole point of being a political party and having a primary election. The only difference this time is that Catania supporters would rather have him over Bowser, so they’re whining about a process that plays out exactly this way every election year.
As fabulous as David Catania may be, he’s not a member of the Democratic Party. And even gay Democrats need a more compelling reason to vote for a non-Democrat than the fact that said candidate is also gay. If Catania is so progressive, so in touch with Democratic values and so qualified to get the votes of Democrats – then he should join our party and ask for our nomination. Until that day arrives, Democrats should absolutely coalesce around Muriel Bowser, and they should continue to press all factions of the party to fall in line.
Isaiah Webster III lives in Ward 6.