Duggan v. Napoleon in November

By Bankole Thompson

Detroiters deserve to have a real mayoral race where the candidates can speak to the issues in a more constructive, engaging and realistic way. From the very beginning I have argued that we should not have a mayor by default and that we need to have a race that raises the stakes in this historic election. With the specter of bankruptcy and all of the accompanying issues rising from the state of emergency management, it is crucial that voters put forth a stronger searchlight on the candidates. That means choosing former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon to square off in the general election in November. Notwithstanding, all of the current contenders in the race are all qualified public servants.

But the seriousness of this moment in Detroit’s history and given the threshold of leadership needed to confront the challenges of leadership the city faces, a Duggan-Napoleon race, would be an epic battle. Detroiters would get a rare opportunity to see two strong candidates make the case for the highest office in the city.

A Detroiter walked up to me at the newest Whole Foods store in midtown weeks ago and was complaining about the caliber of candidates running for mayor. In his view majority of the candidates did not match the kind of leadership he believes the city needs at this time. Detroit is Michigan’s largest city and the mayor is a significant player in the region.

That alone should compel voters to want to see a real race for the November general election. We missed the opportunity to see a competitive race in this primary campaign leading up to the election even though it has been an entertaining political season. But all distractions aside it is time for Detroit to have an election where Duggan and Napoleon can be put to the truth test, face the hard questions and show their vision for Detroit.

Detroit voters should be given a choice in the general election and the primary campaign hasn’t given them a choice. Instead what we have seen has been a political entertainment season that offered nothing but conspiracy theories and subterfuge. The main election will begin the day after the Aug. 6 primary if voters push Duggan and Napoleon to the general election. That is why the primary election is important to select the candidates that will offer two choices of meaningful and real bold vision for Detroit.

Bankole Thompson is the editor of the Michigan Chronicle and author of the forthcoming 2014 book on Detroit titled “Rising From the Ashes: Engaging Detroit’s Future with Courage.” His most recent book “Obama and Christian Loyalty,” deals with the politics of the religious right, black theology and the president’s faith posture across a myriad of issues with an epilogue written by former White House spokesman Robert S. Weiner. He is a political analyst at WDET-101.9FM (Detroit Public Radio) and a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” roundtable on WLIB-1190AM New York. Email him at bankole@bankolethompson.com and visit www.bankolethompson.com

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