Today is primary day for Maryland, and the most important day for Carroll County voters. Our Republican voters will, essentially, decide who our county commissioners will be. All primary voters will have a say in which final candidates for the Carroll Board of Education will appear on the November ballot. In theory this contest is nonpartisan.
For local Democrats, the selection of members of the local Democratic Central Committee will be important. There are only four Democratic candidates for local partisan offices. That party’s central committee needed to do a better job of encouraging candidates for local office. Nationally, this will be a “blue wave” year because of widespread dissatisfaction with the President and both houses of Congress. It could have been a rare chance to elect a Democrat to local office.
State and national contests are important but for these contests, Carroll’s votes are a small drop in a large bucket. For all of us here the local offices and the state legislature are where we wield real power over who gets elected.
Maryland has only one Republican in the House of Representatives. He is likely to be chosen again in November. Republicans control both houses of Congress and the Presidency. So we discuss national issues a lot on these pages but have limited real ballot box influence.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has done an effective job and is likely to be re-elected. Among candidates to replace the spectacularly ineffective and unworthy Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for president in 2020, Marylanders Hogan and former Lieutenant Governor and chair of the Republican National Committee from 2009-11 Michael Steele should be given consideration.
Meanwhile if you didn’t cast a ballot during the early voting period, there is still time to do so. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 26.
The national issue attracting recent attention is immigration, and particularly the immigration of refugees from Central America. The violent gang MS-13, which originated in California the 1980s has spread to the Central American nations and rendered those nations unsafe and unlivable for decent folks. MS-13 recruits new members through the tactic of kidnapping teenagers and literally beating them into becoming members. As a result, many families in that region have paid human smugglers to transport their young children to our country. Others have traveled to our borders as family units. Some have applied for refugee status at official ports of entry. Even these have been treated not as refugees but as criminals.
Donald Trump, who gets most things wrong, has gotten this flow of refugees very wrong, and for a time ordered children to be taken away from their parents. In some cases, nursing babies have been taken from their nursing mothers. More recently, Trump has reversed this policy when faced with national and international criticism, it has become difficult to reunite these families because of sloppy record-keeping by the multiple agencies involved and the practice of sending children to confinement camps many states away from their families.
There is no guarantee that Trump will not reverse his position again and block the reuniting of families in the future. An ominous portent has been a secret plan leaked from the Department of the Navy to build what amounts to concentration camps for tens of thousands more refugees.