By: Quinn Katz-Zogby
Well folks, it’s that special time of year again. Bring out your wordy yard signs, put on your ugly T-shirts, and get ready to argue about nothing else for the next year, it’s election season.
This November is a midterm election. There is no presidential election and while every house seat is on the ballot, only about half of the senators will be up for reelection, while for us Marylanders, the most important election will likely be that of the governor race, with primary elections taking place on July 19th and general elections being held November 8th. Our current governor Larry Hogan will fortunately not be eligible to run again this year. However, do not worry, for a host of other terrible candidates have risen to replace him.
The Republican primary is fairly light on candidates, with the two main competitors being the unfortunately named Dan Cox, an ardent Trump supporter, and Kelly Shulz, who is basically just saying “I’ll pretend to be Larry Hogan for another four years.” Cox is running on a platform of basically everything you would expect, supporting the “thin blue line,” promising to loosen gun regulations, and shadow boxing against “critical race theory” while fantasizing about cutting eye-holes in his sheets.
Shulz on the other hand, is running on the same boring policies that Republicans have been running on since Reagan decided that he couldn’t hurt Black communities enough in Hollywood and pretended to care about “states rights”. She wants to lower taxes, fistfight teachers’ unions, and protect small businesses.
The Democratic primary is far more interesting, primarily because their policy proposals amount to more than trying to solve imaginary problems. So far nine people are running for the Democratic nomination, and while most of them have absolutely no shot at winning, I think that it’s in all of our best interest to at least mention and laugh at most of these pale imitations of genuine left-wing opposition to America’s hegemony.
First up, we need to speed through some of the people who have no shot:
John King is a former Obama education secretary who’s only interesting policy idea seems to be weed legalization, something so run of the mill for politicians nowadays that even Trump types are adopting it.
Jerome Segal is a socialist who switched to the Democratic party from his own Bread and Roses party, presumably due to the realization that starting a third party has literally never worked for anyone in America in the last 150 years. Segal has essentially no shot at winning, especially since the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) would be the endorsement he needs to get any traction, and they will never associate with him due to his heavy involvement in supporting the state of Israel in otherwise progressive circles, being involved in the creation of the J-Street program, which the DSA condemned Representative Jamaal Bowman for simply taking part in.
Rushern Baker III came second in the Democratic primaries in 2018 and it’s not exactly surprising that he didn’t win, considering that his only campaign promise seems to be to “Take Dark Money out of Politics!” a vague political slogan seemingly only on his website to adorn the large green button prompting you to give him $250.
Jon Baron, despite having the name of the bad guy in a Pixar movie, is actually a former Clinton and Obama staffer who worked to give away $450 million in taxpayer money every year to private tech companies, so he clearly is using his Ivy League education well.
Peter Franchot is a former Comptroller of Maryland who is running as a political outsider despite having worked in state government since 1986. While he is much older than most of the other candidates on the ballot, time which he clearly used well as he spent most of his youth fighting on behalf of US imperialism in Vietnam. Since then, he has worked with progressive figures like Ralph Nader to be a real progressive voice and has fairly thorough plans for improving Maryland public transportation and expanding quality internet access across Maryland.
Right back into the liberal cesspool though, Doug Gansler is the former Maryland Attorney General who decided to split his time in power between combatting ExxonMobil, and teaching working class kids lacrosse so that they could win scholarships to go to Gilman and other private schools. Frankly, I think that playing lacrosse at all is grounds enough to lose my vote.
Now, onto people who do have a chance:
Ashwani Jain is by far the underdog of those who have some chance at winning, being a former Obama staffer who gained notoriety and press coverage for his bid. If he would win he would be the youngest governor ever and the first POC to be governor of Maryland. However, especially when his two most serious opponents are also POC, this means relatively little, and if he can’t even win a city council race for Montgomery County, why should he be trusted with our livelihood as a state?
He has never held elected office, and while his campaign promises of eliminating income tax for the working class, making public transit free, and creating a jobs guarantee for all adults in Maryland are all promising and could yield amazing results for the working class population of Maryland. Though his own inexperience and reliance on imitating Obama during his speeches definitely leave a bit to be desired.
The next, and probably worst Democrat running seriously, is Tom Perez, the failure of a DNC chair slithering to Maryland after being ousted from the top position of his own party. Tom Perez, ironically, removed much of the inter-party democracy of the Democratic party, kicking out progressive figures and being largely responsible for laying the groundwork for the collusion and corruption that the establishment of the party have been using to make it more difficult for progressives and democratic socialists to win primaries.
He also was involved in the chronic mismanagement of the case against George Zimmerman after he murdered Trayvon Martin and failed utterly to bring justice to the family of Trayvon Martin and the greater Black community. He led the way for the continuation of these sorts of hate crimes to continue until today, crimes that are especially prevalent in Baltimore City. Perez is a crony of the Democratic establishment, listening to no one but his corporate donors and has been holding the Democratic party back from real change for the past 20 years; we should never let him do the same to our state.
Lastly, author, non-profit CEO, and man who killed human beings in Afghanistan because “college was really damn expensive” Wes Moore. Who, while working with New York hedge-fund manager and natural gas lobbyists, earned $800,000 a year while working to “alleviate poverty.” Moore is portrayed by most media outlets as a progressive, for his brilliant policy ideas of “not giving tanks to police departments” and “Unions: maybe they’re fine?”
Wes Moore is promising to increase workers’ collective bargaining power and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which, according to an MIT study is far less than the $17.93 an hour that would be a living wage for an adult living on their own with no debt of any kind. While Moore may be better than much of the opposition, it doesn’t change the fact that he is just as much a mockery of left-wing politics as every other politician Maryland has seen for the past 30 years.
Now, I know that this article may have been a bit pessimistic, painting a grim picture of the myriad of bad options that Maryland will face this November, but I do still want to circle back to the end of the title of this article. The big question that you no doubt have been losing hours and hours of sleep to: “Should you care?” In a race with this many corrupt, under-experienced grifters running to lead our state, it is easy to feel like your vote doesn’t matter, and if I’m being completely honest, it doesn’t especially matter.
No matter who you vote for, it won’t change the root causes of the problems facing our state, it won’t stop your boss from stealing your wage, banks from gentrifying your neighborhoods, and police from murdering your friends, family, and community members with impunity. But while you can’t kill the virus, you can treat the symptoms. Vote for who you think will be the least bad, but don’t think that your responsibility to your community ends at the ballot box.
Work together with your neighbors and community to build real alternatives to this awful system, spend your free time volunteering for mutual aid organizations, educate yourself on politics, and don’t grow complacent. There is a better way for our society to run, but improving our society is not as easy as ticking a box on a sheet of paper; it will only get better if we work to make it better. November is looking dark, but there may still be light on the horizon.
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