Opinion: Reflecting on the Durham race and what this means for the 2024 federal election

Writing for the Durham elections has been an eye-opening, informative experience. 

Mostly, I talked with Durham mayor-elect Leonardo Williams. We talked about his journey from educator to entrepreneur to electoral candidate in an October feature on the City Council member. In November, we discussed what issues he plans to tackle when he starts his term as mayor. I enjoyed talking with the mayor-elect and am curious whether or not the current dysfunction on the Council will be overcome or continued with his leadership.

After breaking the results of the primary election to the Durham VOICE audience in my Oct. 12 article, I discovered that Durham’s political climate is messy. Fights in chambers, SBI investigations and lawsuits shouldn’t even be in conversations leading up to the City Council election. The time preceding the election should be solely used to debate civilly on pressing issues in Durham. Candidates should be advocating for the community, not defending themselves from accusations (whether they are true or not). 

The chaos of the 2023 municipal elections will only crescendo in the 2024 presidential election. My hope is that the messy, divisive nature of Durham politics doesn’t serve as a prequel to the federal elections this next year. However, with former President Donald Trump leading in the polls despite fraud charges and President Joe Biden not even being able to walk up the stairs of his private jet, I fear that this is a foreshadowing of what’s to come.