This is Huge
In a story that probably passed most by in the routine wrap up to the recent national conventions, the Capital Gazette disclosed the plan for Maryland Democrats this year:
The strategy is a departure from most presidential years, when Maryland’s plentiful and in many cases wealthy Democrats have sent resources to states with tougher, closer congressional and presidential contests. Volunteers would board buses, drive into the heavily Democratic suburbs of Northern Virginia and southeastern Pennsylvania, and knock on doors to help the party identify voters.
Bruce Poole, chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, called this election cycle a “building phase.”
“We are not going to go to other states — at least not very much — this year,” he said. Poole described plans for “a fundamental retooling in how the Democratic Party does business” in Maryland, done with an eye toward taking on the broadly popular Hogan.
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In a state with more than twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans, Democrats were stunned in 2014 to watch their nominee, then-Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, first slowly lose ground in the polls to Hogan and then lose the election by 4 percentage points.
“It was really like watching a large ocean liner out at sea, drifting off into what looked like was going to be a crash … but it couldn’t get corrected,” Poole said. “We’ve got to change that, and that’s the goal.”
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Southern Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, endorsed the plan to keep volunteers closer to home this election cycle.
“I don’t think we need to be an export state,” he said. “We need to make sure that we’re organized very well here in Maryland. 2016 is an opportunity for us to get our party really focused, assigned, operational for 2016 and then 2018.”
This is huge. In a state that has not been competitive in Presidential politics since 1988, Maryland Democrats are keeping their volunteer resources and money here. While the spin they give is that the national election isn’t close and they want a “landslide victory” for Hillary Clinton in Maryland, the truth laid pretty bare is that they are scared to death of the possibility of Governor Hogan’s reelection in 2018.
While the polls will change, the national race is in no way a runaway for Hillary Clinton. The fact is she could win with 65% percent of the vote in Maryland and still lose nationally, just ask John Kerry. Maryland is surrounded by key swing states, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the resources Maryland Democrats can bring to bear were probably already factored in by Clinton strategists. This change in policy is significant and if it remains competitive it could be a decisive factor in the 2016 Presidential race. For that reason, it should be bigger news in the national coverage of the race.
Even bigger though, is that this change in strategy shows just how afraid Maryland Democrats are of Governor Larry Hogan. As we have often mentioned here at Red Maryland, Hogan’s reelection in 2018 will end Maryland Democrats’ monopoly on power due to redistricting. Even if Hogan’s reelection results in the proposed non-partisan redistricting process being adopted, it will forever change the field for legislative elections. Even if Democrats keep control of the General Assembly they will never have the supermajorities to get away with proposals like repealing the death penalty, expanded felon voting or 40 tax and fee increases in eight years. Moreover, a broadly popular nonpartisan redistricting process, once adopted, would be nearly impossible to replace with the current hyper-partisan process.
State Democrats get this. They see Governor Hogan’s popularity and they are getting more desperate by the day. Now they are willing to put Hillary Clinton’s election at risk to build and focus toward what they see as a do or die election in 2018.
This is the most significant change in the balance of Maryland politics in a century. That isn’t hyperbole. This is a huge story.
And for the Trump supporters consider this. Governor Hogan, by governing effectively and maintaining wide bipartisan popularity, is doing more to help get Donald Trump elected, by soaking up resources which could be going to a number of critical swing states, than few other Republican politicians in the country. This reality is far more important than his public endorsement of Trump could have ever been. Just something to consider.