The Democrats Larry Hogan Creation Myth is Still Prevalent and Wrong

As we discussed on this week’s Red Maryland Radio, the Democrats and their enablers are continuing to propagate the myth the Larry Hogan was elected in 2014 solely because Anthony Brown was a “bad candidate.”

In an interview last week with WBAL’s Robert Lang, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz opined on this very subject when discussing his potential candidacy for Governor in 2018:

WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler also had a conversation about the 2018 election where Hosler goes into great detail claiming that Governor Hogan’s 2014 victory was the sole responsibility of Anthony Brown.

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The problem with the Democrats myth about 2014 is that it doesn’t even come close to being accurate.

Mark Mellman wrote a piece about Governor Hogan’s 2014 victory last year that lays out precisely what happened. Read the whole thing, but this section deserves special attention.

Many initial analyses followed the meme I attacked before the election — “it’s all about turnout,” they argued. A New York Times headline summed up the consensus: “Drop in Democratic turnout was the difference in the Maryland governor’s race.” The Baltimore Business Journal (“Low Democratic turnout propelled Larry Hogan to victory in Maryland governor’s race”) and other outlets echoed that lesson.

We now know it’s not true.

McDonald notes that, while turnout in Maryland was lower among Democrats than among Republicans, with 54.5 percent of the actual electorate consisting of registered Democrats, Brown could have won without a single vote from a Republican or an independent.

Moreover, using a post-election Washington Post/University of Maryland poll, he shows that Hogan would still have won if the turnout had matched recent midterms — from 2010, or from 2006, or from 2002.

If turnout was not the culprit, then what was?

Brown simply lost lots of Democrats and was overwhelmed among independents. Some 23 percent of Democrats defected to Hogan, while only 6 percent of Republicans crossed party lines for Brown.

Hogan Democrats were different from other Democrats in several ways, including the fact that they put a higher priority on taxes.

In other races, Maryland independents have leaned toward Democrats, but in this contest they went for Hogan by a massive 61 to 33 percent.

Post-election polls have flaws, of course; fortunately, Ghitza takes a very different approach to the data — using multilevel regression with variables included on Catalist’s data file — and comes to similar conclusions.

Ghitza’s data also indicates turnout was not the malefactor.

Yes, Democratic turnout dropped 8 points from four years ago, when Martin O’Malley was reelected overwhelmingly as governor, but Democrats made up just 2 percent less of the total electorate in 2014 than they had in 2010, with Republicans rising by 2 points. Registered Democrats still made up 54 percent of actual voters, while just 32 percent were Republicans.

Even with the turnout in a presidential year with Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, Brown would have lost if he bled Democrats and Republicans the way he did in 2014.

Emphasis mine. And this isn’t a Republican writing any of this. Mark Mellman is a liberal Democratic consultant who has worked for all sorts of liberal Democrats.

The Democrats continue to propagate this myth for a variety of reasons. For them, it’s an easy way to treat Governor Hogan’s victory as an aberration, as a mistake, as a Black Swan event. Of course, that’s not exactly the case. While Democrats like to treat Republican gubernatorial as a rare event, Republicans have won half of Maryland’s gubernatorial elections in the 21st century. It seems that they have not quite successfully digested the message that the voters are sending them; voters are fed up with Democrats and their tax and spend and tax budgeting philosophy.

For Kevin Kamenetz, blaming Anthony Brown for Larry Hogan’s win is merely an easy way to try to distract Democratic voters from the fact that he is  one of the whining ingrates who are lying about Governor Hogan’s record all the while enthusiastically trying to send kids to school in sweat boxes.

Why reporters like Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler continue to talk about this myth is a mystery. Ostensibly, reporters like Smith and Hosler should have the wherewithal to do their own research before regurgitating Maryland Democratic Party talking points. This is especially damning considering the facts that are easily available to show that the assertion that repeatedly make is demonstrably false. It’s lazy journalism that does nothing to dispel the notion that the mainstream media are in the bag for Maryland Democrats.

The Democrats and the media can continue to pretend that Governor Larry Hogan’s election was a fluke. But that’s simply not an accurate interpretation of history or of the data. But if the Democrats want to continue to pretend that Governor Hogan’s victory of a fluke, if they want to learn nothing from their defeat in 2014…….let them.

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