“Republicans, Libertarians, and Greens aim to make Baltimore’s general election matter.” That was the subtitle to to last week’s City Paper cover story.

If you were excited (as I was) by the headline’s implication that the city’s minority parties had gained enough grassroots support (or were perhaps collaborating — as strange as that would be) to mount a formidable challenge to the Democratic juggernaut, you would have been disappointed by Van Smith’s article, which told a familiar story: though they may have compelling platforms, the Republicans, Libertarians, and Greens account for a pathetically small portion of Baltimore’s voting public and therefore have very little chance of wrestling any power away from Dems.

Of course, Smith’s larger point — that the Democratic party’s long-standing dominance over local politics disenfranchises voters and breeds corruption — is well taken. When you live in a city that refers to the Democratic primary as “election day,” and a state that can effortlessly pass overtly gerrymandered congressional districts despite the protests of Republicans, minorities, and even some fellow Dems, how long does it take before you start demanding an alternative, even if (as is probably the case) you’re a registered Democrat?