The Flip Side of the Democrats Mailer
By now you have no doubt heard about the race-baiting mailers the Maryland Democratic Party sent to party voters in an effort to tar Larry Hogan and Maryland Republicans as racists (which would certainly be news to Boyd Rutherford). Of course, Maryland Democrats won’t tell you that’s what they are trying to do. You’ll note in this WBAL-TV piece that Lt. Governor Anthony Brown likes to say that this is actually a reminder to Democrats not to take the right to vote for granted:
Brown said the mailer is a reminder that voting is a hard-fought privilege and responsibility.
“A responsibility born on the shoulders of so many who worked so hard to ensure all Americans have this right,” Brown said.
Of course including pictures of birther talk, the Ferguson riots, and the civil rights movement of the 1960’s has nothing to do with voting rights here in 2014.
Michael Higginbotham, a University of Baltimore Law School Professor, defended the mailer (without noting that he was Co-Chair of the O’Malley/Brown Transition Team Minority Affairs Working Group in 2006) and keyed on one very key point: “And I think third, it is to note the historical significance of Anthony Brown’s campaign.”
That’s one of the other, unspoken, points that this mailer is intended to remind people. That Anthony Brown would be the first African-American Governor in our State’s History. It is actually the first time the Democrats have ever nominated somebody at the top of the ticket, whether it be a candidate for Governor or U.S. Senate, that was African-American. Brown himself was the first Statewide African-American candidate when he won the nomination as Lt. Governor back in 2006.
And that’s the nutty thing about Maryland Democrats constantly trying to play the race card on Maryland Republicans. Because to this day, Maryland Republicans have nominated more African-Americans to Statewide office than Maryland Democrats.
The first African-American candidate for Statewide office in Maryland was all the way back in 1978. Dr. Aris Allen had been a member of the House of Delegates in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and was serving as the Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party when he was selected as the Republican Candidate for Lt. Governor by former U.S. Senator Glenn Beall.
In 1986 Melvin Bilal was the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor as the running mate of State Senator Thomas Mooney. Incidentally, Mr. Bilal was also the first (and so far only) Muslim ever nominated for statewide office in Maryland.
Alan Keyes was twice the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, losing to Paul Sarbanes in 1988 and to Barbara Mikulski in 1992. Yes, this was back in the time in which people took Alan Keyes semi-seriously.
And of course Michael Steele served not only as the first African-American Lt. Governor of Maryland when he was elected alongside Bob Ehrlich in 2002, but also went on to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2006 as well.
To this day, the only African-American ever nominated statewide by Maryland Democrats is Anthony Brown himself. I did not see any Democrats make any statewide references to any “historic nature” of Michael Steele’s U.S. Senate candidacy in 2006. Heck, I didn’t even hear any Democrats make any statewide references to any “historic nature” of Kweisi Mfume’s U.S. Senate candidacy in 2006. A candidacy, incidentally, that the Maryland Democratic Party establishment shunned as they lined up behind Ben Cardin.
Even as recently as two years ago, the Maryland Democratic Party violated their own bylaws in order to get in line behind Cardin when he was challenged in the primary by African-American State Senator Anthony Muse.
And none of that even addresses 2002 when Kathleen Kenendy Townsend passed over many well-qualified African-Americans to pick a white Republican as her running mater, or 1966 when the Maryland Democratic Party standard-bearer was George Mahoney, who ran a vehemently racist campaign.
I think we all understand what the game is here for the Brown Campaign and the Maryland Democratic Party. They are running a tight race, they are underfunded, and the Democratic base is particularly unenthused about the election, something that was underscored by the Democratic spin machine trying to pretend that people really weren’t leaving the Obama-Brown campaign rally early last week. But Maryland Democrats fail to acknowledge the fact that when it comes to supporting African-American candidates for statewide office, they are lagging behind Maryland Republicans.