Libertarians have, as usual, been excluded from a number of forums with increasingly legalistic and more complicated rationalizations, now that we have permanent ballot access and a primary with 7 ballot qualified candidates on the April primary ballot.
In the past gatekeepers and censors protecting DC’s one party monopoly would just say “no one allowed unless they are already on the ballot by April or are in a recognized party.”
This year one Georgetown mayoral forum at Dumbarton Oaks moderated by Current newspapers publisher Davis Kennedy was held with so little advance notice in early January that Libertarians didn’t even really have time to complain about the false advertising – that it was actually a partisan Democrats’ only forum, heavy with Democrats who were polling at 1% and skipped by some of the major Democratic candidates.
Then a coalition of groups led by DC for Democracy held a forum at the 6th and I synagogue (video previously posted here below). The DC4Ders claimed when asked if Libertarians were invited that only candidates in primaries that were contested would be invited. But they were caught in a fib – they in fact only invited Democrats, and two Green Party candidates who were challenging each other in a Green Party primary showed up and claimed a right to speak. And once again the DC4Ders forum was attended by the incumbent mayor and a bunch of Democrats polling at 1% or 2%. Major challengers Jack Evans and Muriel Bowser skipped it.
Similarly the allegedly non-partisan or bi-partisan Kennedy Political Union at American University is holding a mayoral forum in February, and spending the AU corporate dollar advertising it to surrounding neighborhoods. But they only invited Democrats; it’s a partisan forum for the Democratic primary falsely advertised as a mayoral candidates forum. When I contacted them to ask if other parties would be invited, AU public relations director Andrew Huff said “only ballot qualified candidates are invited, so I guess it is in that sense a Democratic forum.”. When I pointed out that I AM a ballot qualified candidate on the April primary ballot he wrote back “oh, I guess it is just for Democrats” and agreed to advertise it more truthfully in the future. One wonders if once again major Democratic candidates will just skip the KPU forum, mainly before students who are not DC voters, but enjoy the advertising money AU spends publicizing their names in advertising to surrounding neighborhoods – a nice gift to grateful incumbents?
Libertarians will be in a growing number of forums in February and March including:
Pranav Badhwar, Ward 6 city council debate, February 20, Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, 201 4th Street SE, 7 pm
Bruce Majors, Takoma Park/Brightwood/Shepherd Park neighborhood forum by Neighbors Inc. in February and before the ACLU in March (check back for locations and dates).