Election Day is almost upon us and I’d first like to offer an informal voter’s guide:
For the top slot, support the moderate who has proven his bipartisanship. We need Gov. Larry Hogan’s counterbalance to our supermajority legislature to foster fresh approaches to governing and law-making.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin has been in politics for over 50 years. That’s much too long. Let’s choose a more energetic, next generation voice in Washington. Think outside the box with Neal Simon, an independent.
Without Googling, can you name one major accomplishment of District 1 Congressman Andy Harris? Wouldn’t it be great to elect someone with “buzz” who might even be presidential timber? Give Jesse Colvin a chance.
Don’t you wonder why the so-called “Hogan Team” of Dels. Susan Krebs, April Rose and Haven Shoemaker was afraid to attend a candidate forum in October alongside their rival — the very sharp Emily Shank? What bills did the team personally author and pass on behalf of Carroll last year? It appears being Hogan-endorsed is their chief accomplishment. Think musical chairs. The music has stopped and one of them must leave the game.
Why re-elect the current members of our school board who made such a hash of things with school closings and their recent oversight of the Redistricting and School Closure Committee? What was it about the committee’s name and purpose that its members didn’t understand?
If you haven’t noticed, the common thread above is to shake things up a bit and rid ourselves of career politicians. You can’t fix the mess we’re in by electing the same people over and over again.
And now on to broader issues: Words have consequences, especially when you reach the highest office in the land. Terrorists like MAGA-hatted pipe bomber Cesar Sayoc and mass shooter Robert Bowers grew in the Petri dish of the far right’s fevered internet sites. These regularly feed on and amplify President Donald Trump’s cruel tweets and rally taunts and sometimes even inspire him with new conspiracies that he then shares with friends on Fox TV. This feedback loop is toxic to the nation’s political health and encourages home-grown terrorists.
Speaking of which, some GOPers are quick to embrace every conspiracy, from President Barack Obama’s non-citizenship to Pizzagate to liberal financier George Soros supporting the Central American caravan’s migrants and asylum seekers. Given the proven role of the Russians in our 2016 presidential election campaign and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s multiple subpoenas and convictions, why do Republicans not talk about the conspiratorial nature of the Trump team’s relationship with Russia?
The GOP has looked the other way when it comes to corruption and conflicts of interest if members of the House, the cabinet, or the president himself are involved. Why did the party investigate Benghazi seven times but has yet to consider if Trump has violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause?
If the clause bars federal officeholders from receiving financial or material benefits from foreign governments, isn’t it illegal for Trump to be making money when foreign delegations stay at Trump hotels? Isn’t this something that the GOP would have roasted Hillary over? When are we going to see Trump’s tax returns?
The federal budget deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends and the revenue it receives. Republicans regularly hounded Obama over the size of the deficit, even when spending was crucial to bailouts of the banking and auto industries and an economic stimulus package for public works projects — all of which saved us from economic cataclysm in 2009.
Today the deficit is the highest in six years, having grown 17 percent since 2017. The Congressional Budget Office predicts it will reach $1 trillion by 2020. However, the GOP now says it doesn’t matter because the economy is booming. They deny the Trump tax cut has anything to do with the deficit. That’s funny. President Bill Clinton and the Democrats eliminated the deficit in the late 1990s. Their trick? A modest tax increase to accompany a rocket-fueled economy.
It is time to hold people and parties accountable, whether it’s for our uncivil discourse, the legislative branch’s timidity in exercising its constitutional duty to balance executive over-reach, Washington corruption, or the soaring deficit.
You can help return us to a system where transparency and the ideals of a liberal democracy prevail. Vote on Nov. 6 as if your county and your country depend on it. They do.