We probably don’t need an exit poll to say with some confidence that DC real estate agent Bruce Majors has lost his race against incumbent Eleanor Holmes Norton for the ever-so-powerful job of DC Delegate to the US House of Representatives. Majors is best known for his 15 minutes of fame two years ago when he wrote a guide advising people visiting DC for a Glenn Beck rally to stay away from subway lines that serve predominantly poor black areas. That earned the scorn of everyone from Rachel Maddow to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who said he thought Majors was “scaring white people.” He was an unlikely challenger for Norton’s job. A tea partier, libertarian, professional Internet troll, and gay rights advocate who has given thousands of dollars to Democrats in years past, Majors has been a fixture in local city politics for a couple of decades.
He ran against Norton mostly with his own money, and didn’t ever have much of a shot of winning. But he seems to have an ulterior motive for his campaign: securing a permanent slot on the DC ballot for the Libertarian Party. It’s a laudable goal. When it comes to local politics, DC is a one-party town. Virtually every city office is held by a Democrat or a Democrat pretending to be an independent to win a seat on the city council, where the law requires two seats to be held by people of a different party. If Majors wins 7,500 votes from the city’s libertarian/Republican/Ron Paul voting block, the Libertarians won’t have to spend a small fortune every two years to get on the ballot, and DC voters might have another choice, even in races as meaningless as the DC delegate race.
The DC delegate election is one of the more depressing features of voting as a DC resident. Those of us who live in the nation’s capital suffer from taxation without representation in the US Congress. Voting for Norton is just a reminder of that second-class status. The 22-year incumbent gets to attend congressional hearings and hang out with real members, but she doesn’t actually get to vote on anything outside of committees. Yet every two years, she raises hundreds of thousands of dollars, mounts a campaign, a fringe candidate makes a stab at running against her, and we pretend it’s a real exercise in democracy.