SIMMONS: Dark-blue D.C. in dire need of diversity — of ideology

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Special elections have become rituals in the District, thanks to the liberals and their constant barking.

Now it seems the D.C. Republican Party has fallen down and can’t get up.

While the D.C. population is growing by leaps and bounds, both the Republican and conservative coteries are nowhere to be found.

Look at recent events:

December: True-blue progressive Anita Bonds won over party leaders and was elected to hold temporarily an at-large seat until a special election is held April 23.

November: There were 483,600 registered D.C. voters, but only 294,254 bothered to cast ballots in the races for president and vice president, and the local contests, which included a special election for D.C. Council chairman.

In races with national implications, Republicans lost, and in the special election the party fielded no candidate.

May: Ward 5 voters hit the polls in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Harry Thomas Jr., who had pleaded guilty to misappropriating public funds. Voters didn’t even hand the victory to Republican Tim Day, even though he is credited with the research that actually led to Thomas’ downfall.

In other cases in recent years, D.C. Democrats simply pinned a tail on a different donkey.

Now look at these numbers:

According to the D.C. Board of Elections, more than 81,000 voters were not beholden to any party as of Sept. 30 (the latest available monthly report on the website).

That compares with fewer than 30,500 registered Republicans and more than 354,600 Democrats.

Why so lopsided?

The ideological lines are historically blurred, and they have been that way since Congress and the Kennedy administration winked at the D.C. electorate by giving registered voters the privilege to elect their first White House ticket and school board.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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