Tag: republicans

Marital Difficulties

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Courtesy of Center Maryland – When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in 1964, he knew he was doing the right thing. But he also figured he was inexorably changing the politics of the American South, and that the Democratic Party, once so dominant throughout the region, would suffer the consequences.

He was right.

In the same way, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) felt he was doing the right thing when he signed the DREAM Act into law last year and same-sex marriage just last week — and he was.

But has O’Malley — or any other state Democratic leader — given much thought to what those two new laws, and the upcoming referendum fights over them, are going to do for the party and its most reliable constituency, African-American voters? Could we be witnessing the beginning of the end of what has been, for Maryland Democrats, a beautiful relationship? Are Maryland Republicans in any way equipped to exploit whatever fissures may exist between Democrats and their loyal supporters?

There have been murmurs of marital difficulties between the Democrats and African-American voters for quite a while now. A dozen years ago, Ike Leggett was perhaps the first official to openly warn that Democrats risked losing black voters if party leaders took them for granted and didn’t do more to promote black candidates for higher office.

That warning seemed prophetic when in 2002, the Democrats’ gubernatorial nominee, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, tapped a white Republican to be her running mate, and she became the first Democratic candidate for governor to lose in 36 years. To add insult to injury, the Republicans won with a black candidate for lieutenant governor.

A decade later, not much has changed.

Black and Latino candidates for attorney general were overrun by Doug Gansler in the 2006 Democratic primary. Kweisi Mfume lost the Senate primary that year to Ben Cardin. O’Malley tapped Anthony Brown to be his running mate, but Brown only has the distinction of being the first black Democrat to be elected lieutenant governor.

It is entirely conceivable that had Mfume bothered to raise money six years ago, he’d be sitting in the Senate today, instead of Cardin. The way in which Mfume smoked Cardin in Baltimore city and Prince George’s County was eye-opening. While losing statewide by just 3.2 points, Mfume won the city — where Cardin had been a popular figure for 40 years — by more than 2-1. He won Prince George’s by almost 5-1, an astonishing ratio.

I caught up with Cardin last week and asked him about his Democratic primary challenge from Prince George’s state Sen. Anthony Muse. I prefaced my question by noting that no one thinks Muse can win except possibly for Muse himself. But Cardin cut me off, noting that some other people feel he can win, too.

Read the rest of the story at Center Maryland

How Do You Sell Maryland Republicans on Gay Marriage?

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The fate of same-sex marriage in Maryland — at least for the immediate future — could be in the hands of a few Republicans. The marriage equality bill proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley will be unlikely to pass the House of Delegates without the “yea” of at least a couple GOP legislators.

Proponents of the bill are reaching out to a quarter of House Republicans. So far, they’re attempting to frame the issue as one of civil liberties, appealing to the libertarian sensibilities of some Republicans, as well as pointing out the growing support for gay marriage even among the youth, even Republicans. For those with religious objections (which, in Maryland at least, describes some Democrats as well), perhaps they could point to Delman Coates, a baptist pastor in Prince George’s County who supports gay marriage as a civil rights issue, irrespective of his personal views on homosexuality.

If that doesn’t work, maybe proponents could offer to add a section to the bill requiring all same-sex couples to raise their children Republican. Just an idea.

Partisan Politics Wins Out Over Conscience for O’Malley’s Gerrymander

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Gov. O’Malley’s Congressional redistricting map, plainly gerrymandered to increase the number of Democratic delegates Maryland sends to the House of Representatives from six to seven (decreasing the number of Republicans from two to one), was approved by the Maryland House of Delegates and is off to the Senate this morning where it is expected to be approved without incident.

Despite the well-founded objections of Republicans, principled Democrats, and minority groups (who may also see their voting influence diluted by the swirly map) the plan passed 91 to 46, which means that except for two Democrats who voted “no,” it was a purely partisan vote.

According to an article in The Sun, the implicit argument in favor of O’Malley’s plan is that Republicans will be making similar moves in states where they control the process.

But the idea that Maryland needs to disempower its conservative voters (and minorities along the way) because other states are moving to disempower their liberal voters is absurd. Our governor and House of Delegates should understand that they are in office to serve their constituents (and for O’Malley that includes our state’s Republican voters), not to score points in some national partisan chess game.

These New Congressional Districts Are Trippy, Man

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See that psychedelic rainbow swirl? That’s Maryland’s proposed Congressional redistricting plan. Democrats currently lead Republicans in the state’s share of the House of Representatives 6 – 2. But the situation is just a little too close for comfort for the majority party. (“What if those two Republicans talk to each other? What if they talk about us?”) So just to be on the safe side, they’re trying to convert it to a 7 – 1 lead.

All states have to redraw their congressional districts to reflect populations changes recorded in the 2010 census. Maryland Democrats thought it could be a good opportunity to increase their (apparently delicate) peace of mind.

The official website for the redistricting plan emphasizes that the new map “keeps more than seventy percent of Marylanders in their current Congressional districts,” but seventy percent is deceptively low. Thirty percent is quite a chunk of the population to fool around with.

While we wait to see how this plays out, feel free to vibe out on the groovy colors.

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