Openly Gay Tea Partier: D.C. Congressional Candidate Bruce Majors Raises Hackles
When he thinks about his introduction in Washington, D.C., Libertarian political candidate Bruce Majors can't help but wax romantic. Majors, 53, a realtor in West End who grew up in Tennessee and moved here at just 21-years-old to live with a boyfriend who he had met at Libertarian summer camp.
"We were like the earliest gay marriage advocates," Majors told EDGE, growing misty-eyed with reverie. "We even had a joint bank account with hyphenated names."
It is the same romantic notions of turning the city where he has lived for more than half his life into a Libertarian Utopia where marijuana is legal, same-sex marriages are recognized out of state and taxes are limited, that drives him now to run for the seat Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has occupied since 1991. But Majors' uncommon political alliances could complicate his already long shot run against the 11-term congresswoman.
A one-time member of Gertrude Stein Democrats, Majors admits to dabbling with political groups on both sides of the aisle. He donated to Howard Dean, John Kerry and Ron Paul in the last two presidential elections, and was photographed at one fundraiser straightening Teddy Kennedy's tie.
Majors even finds something in common with infamous Democratic D.C. Councilman Marion Barry, since they share support for school vouchers and marijuana legalization. He also describes himself as ardently pro-choice, and an advocate of campaign finance reform and term limits for state and national offices. But this hasn't stopped him from maintaining an active Tea Party blog, which has more than once raised anger from the liberal media.
Majors, who decided to attempt his first political run after attending the Libertarian Party convention in Los Angeles this past May, said he doesn't see why he can't represent people with a wide range of conflicting political viewpoints. He is an equal-opportunity button-pusher. When he attended the Glenn Beck Tea Party Rally in 2010, he proudly sported a T-shirt bearing the quote "Do you know me well enough to hate me?" from the movie, "Boys Don't Cry."
And those who don't know him may very well be put off by Majors, or at least his online persona, which is far more sarcastic and cutting than his more soft-spoken in-person demeanor. He garnered national media attention from MSNBC pundit Rachel Maddow when he posted advice to Tea Party rally-goers about which Washington, D.C. neighborhoods to visit. (He recommended they limit their travels to the predominantly white enclaves of Capitol Hill, Northern Virginia, Montgomery County and Northwest D.C.)
At the time, Congresswoman Norton called his ideas "worrisome." But, ever hoping to get the last word in, Majors likes to point out that both the TV correspondents who found fault with him and the Congresswoman reside in the affluent neighborhoods he deemed tourist-safe.
Recent posts on his various blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook have continued to raise eyebrows, including an image of Michelle Obama next to the face of Chewbacca. Majors is quick to deny claims that these pictures are racist, but he uses racially-loaded language to critique liberal Democrats for being the most racist group there is.
"They run segregated school systems and keep a modern day slave trade, by selling black and brown children to educate cartels like the teachers' unions in exchange for fundraising and votes," said Majors.
But the group he targets most blisteringly are gay liberals, repeatedly throwing barbs at popular figures on the left like Dan Savage or Rachel Maddow and calling their supporters "gay trolls who live in the leftover blogosphere...too ugly to leave their basements for a gay bar."
His attacks on DC-area gay liberal fundraisers are even more scathing, printing their home addresses and home photos on his blog, listing the value of their properties and gossiping about their relationships with exes and adopted children.
But his political mentors say the edgy tone of his online jabs against liberal gay voters won’t cause him to lose votes, even in a city as small and overwhelmingly Democratic as Washington, D.C.
"Voters aren’t going to make a decision based on his blogging, because that’s just a sideshow," said Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia, who previously ran for the same seat on the Libertarian ticket in 2000.
While Kampia earned just 4,500 votes, he expects Majors to do better because there is no Republican candidate in the race this year, so baiting the left could actually earn Majors a few right-wing votes. "It just comes down to name recognition," said Kampia.
Majors’s spokesperson, Chris Barron, said that as a Libertarian in the District, he could actually straddle divergent political ideologies.
"The Libertarian party in D.C. could play an important role going forward on putting a check and balance on the Democrats because they do not have the baggage associated with the national Republicans," said Barron, who co-founded the Republican LGBT group GOProud. "Because he’s a Libertarian and not a Republican, people won’t look at Bruce and associate him with Rick Santorum."
Carla Howell, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, also sees the District of Columbia as potentially fertile ground for someone with Majors’ ideas. She noted that many residents support reintroducing a bill to end federal taxation of district residents until they receive a vote in Congress (a bill Congresswoman Norton proposed previously but has since dropped), along with efforts to de-criminalize marijuana.
"We’re sincere about shrinking national government, which is something D.C. residents want, especially when it comes to home rule and reducing crime by freeing up non-violent offenders and getting drug dealers out of the city," said Howell.
Right now, Majors isn’t looking to appeal to every Washington, D.C. voter. While his goal is to win, he is instead setting his sights at simply nabbing the required 3,000 signatures by August 8.
And he has about half of them so far. After that, he will need to earn just 7,500 votes to gain major party status for the Libertarians. But he said he won’t tone down his style to win a single vote.
"I don’t need all gays to like me, just some of them," he said. "You can’t be too concerned with constituencies, so that it affects how you speak and communicate. That’s pinched and castrated."