This story is an example of the profoundly flawed ideology of merely supporting someone just because of party affiliation. Despite both being Democrats, Delaware Rep. Earl Jaques (D) recently lashed out at his primary opponent Eric Morrison – a veteran drag queen, for throwing a drag show fundraiser.
According to The News Journal, Jaques expressed disapproval of the drag event stating, “You can have fundraisers, I don’t care about that. But dressing in drag? Really?” Jacques then went on to suggest Morrison is not fit to be a viable candidate to represent Delaware’s 27th District, where Christian- identifying residents go to church regularly.
So, back to my earlier point; this reminds me of a similar dynamic at play right now in which a particular 2020 Democratic presidential candidate has a somewhat tumultuous relationship with African Americans. I have noticed that when my fellow African Americans or I express concern with this candidate’s abysmal history regarding race relations, we are often met with resistance or the command to, “No matter what, VOTE BLUE!” Our specific interests are dismissed. That is a problem when the purpose of a primary is to gain a better understanding of the candidates before the time comes to vote for them.
I identify as a Democrat; however, that does not mean I shouldn’t scrutinize the record and history of every candidate. My personal responsibility is to make sure we advance the best Democrat to become our nominee; one who has a record of inclusion for all.
Regarding Rep Jaques’ antiquated position, rejection of dragqueens, and his use of religion to justify it would gays still be expected to vote for him over a Republican challenger, just because he’s a Democrat? If Jaques shares the same antigay ideology of conservatism as a GOP challenger, then is there a difference between them?
Complicating things further, Jaques has a history of antigay positions, including voting against gay marriage and even voting against a ban on conversion therapy. That said, again, he is a Democrat. Is he that “Blue” the liberal gays of Delaware are expected to vote for no matter what?
Luckily, in this case, Jaque is up against another Democrat for the state representative position. But how should the LGBTQ community approach this when Jaques runs against a Republican who is equally as oppressive to the LGBTQ community? The answer for me is simple; be aware, challenge all candidates’ history and voting record, and always remember to assess the person first, over their party affiliation.
It’s worth noting that Jaques has since apologized (of course), after facing backlash for his comments. No surprise that Delaware wasn’t having it, with its decades-long history as a liberal state –especially in the heavily gay-populated Rehoboth Beach. Still, even with that history though, Delaware has never elected an out LGBTQ person to the state legislature. All that could change as there is a current, very diverse field of opponents running for state positions, including Sarah McBride, who is trans, running for state senate in 2020.