Democratic Clown Show on the Shore
Lest you think that it’s only the state-level Maryland Democratic Party that’s a dumpster fire, the infighting between the “Democratic establishment” and the “Democratic socialists” is now seeping into the Democratic county central committees.
Jake Burdett is a student at Salisbury University. He is also a member of the Wicomico County Democratic Central Committee. You may remember him most as being the knucklehead who plead guilty to wiretapping after illegally videotaping a meeting at the office of Congressman Andy Harris. Something Burdett is still proud of, by the way.
Be that as it may, that’s not why he’s in trouble with Democrats. He’s in trouble with Democrats because he failed to support a Democratic candidate in a partisan election. Burdett (and many other Democratic socialists) supported DaJuan Gay, a write-in candidate for Alderman in the special election held in Annapolis earlier this year. Burdett certainly wasn’t the only Democrat who supported Alderman Gay; Anne Arundel County Executive and wealthy horseman Steuart Pittman did the same.
But the rules aren’t quite the same for elected Democrats and Democratic Central Committee members. When they take the oath of office, these Central Committee members pledge to support the nominee of their party. There are consequences for publicly supporting a candidate of a different party, even if they are of the same ideological stripe as the party is.
Heck, this even happened last year in Wicomico County, where the Wicomico County Democratic Party Chairman was forced out of office because he supported the independent candidate running for Wicomico County Executive over the Democratic nominee. And that recent experience is why the Wicomico County Democratic Party petitioned to the Maryland Democratic Party to kick Burdett off the committee.
Unbelievably, this is the second time Wicomico Democrats have petitioned to remove Burdett. They petitioned to remove him for his taping stunt with Andy Harris, but the Maryland Democratic Party did not allow them to remove them.
This won’t shock most Republicans reading this. It is in the bylaws of the Maryland Republican Party as well as the various County Republican Central Committees that supporting the nominee is not a suggestion, it’s a requirement. At the very least most Republican Central Committee members who are disenchanted with a nominee don’t make public statements to the contrary. And that’s because there are consequences for being a party official who steps out of line. This is why several Republican Central Committee members, including at least one county party chair, resigned in 2016 when they chose not to support Donald Trump’s presidential nomination. Those committee members, though, at least resigned.
Apparently, in this instance, Jake Burdett once again thinks the rules don’t apply to him.
What’s hilarious, however, is the fact that Burdett and his supporters seem to think that this is all a crusade to eliminate Democratic Socialists from the Democratic Party. Here’s an example of somebody who thinks that.
Burdett’s got support, however. He’s got the entire fringe of the Maryland Democratic Party supporting him.
Tonight, @WicCountyDemCC votes on whether to expel @jake_burdett. He has been accused of supporting both an “independent candidate” (who’s actually a Democrat) and a “third party” (which is not a political party at all).
It’s absurd. Our party needs more progressives like Jake.
— Vaughn Stewart (@DelegateStewart) October 21, 2019
They are signs of courage & commitment!
— Ben Jealous (@BenJealous) October 21, 2019
There’s a delicious irony, by the way, to Ben Jealous advocating that the Democratic Party forgive Jake Burdett for not supporting the Democratic Party nominee when the entire Ben Jealous support structure blamed the Maryland Democratic Party for not supporting Jealous when he was the Democratic Party nominee.
Ultimately I could not care less what happens to Jake Burdett’s spot on the Wicomico County Central Committee. Everybody in this situation looks pretty stupid, which has me sitting here going….
There are so many questions for everybody. Why did Jake Burdett think there would be no consequences? Why couldn’t Wicomico County Democrats convince the state party to get rid of him the first time? Why is the Maryland Democratic Party being allowed to decide something for the Wicomico County Central Committee that should be a local matter? Why did the Maryland Democratic Party spare Burdett the first time when he clearly desrved removal? Why did the Maryland Democratic Party think that the right time and place to hold a hearing on this issue was Monday Night at 7 PM…….scratch that, the Maryland Democratic Party establishment doesn’t know the Eastern Shore exists, never mind.
What is the ultimate upshot of this? It’s that the Democratic Socialists don’t think following existing rules and structure apply to them. They have learned none of the lessons from Ben Jealous and his doomed campaign of 2018. Nothing is requiring them to stay within the Democratic Party. They can march to the beat of their own drum and form their own party. But by staying you would think they’re agreeing to play by the rules or, in Burdett’s case, at least live up to their oath of office. But instead of trying to work with the rest of the Democratic Party they make ludicrous my-way-or-the-highway demands, are incapable of working with their own side much less Republicans, and are doing their best to burn whatever is left of the Democratic Party down to a small minuscule rump that can’t win an election.
Actually, come to think of it….
The Democratic Socialists in Maryland have no interest in governing. They have no interest in cooperating with anybody. They have an interest in protesting. They have an interest in yelling. They have an interest in being jerks to everybody. Let’s hope that they continue with their shenanigans because frankly, it’s pretty fun to watch.