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Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Leatherwood: Voters tired of status quo

A lot of ink has been spilled listing the things that are unappealing about Donald Trump. Even as a Republican, I could name a few.

So why has this man with so many obvious flaws continued to fill halls and stadiums? I think it comes down to one thing: The folks are tired of career politicians. Ironically, this puts Gov. Larry Hogan and candidate Trump in the same boat.

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In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans, Hogan's enthusiasm to "Change Maryland" had a broad appeal. He was not a political "good old boy." He had not worked his way up the Republican ladder. Hogan was a businessman with energy and an "everyman" attitude. Halfway through his first term, political polls continue to show his extreme popularity in the state long past the traditional "honeymoon" period and with a clean bill of health, it can no longer be dismissed as just sympathy.

Like Hogan supporters, voters of varying political persuasions recite their reasons for voting Trump and they are not all the same. For both Hogan and Trump, their energy, enthusiasm and outsider status has created a groundswell of support.

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While others in the Republican Party had earned their spot in the primary competition through years of loyal duty, Trump was seen by some as an interloper. My political prognostication was quickly shown to be worthless as Trump gained momentum even as I told friends he would grow bored and drop out. As time passed and he eventually won the nomination, I had to wonder how this happened. Trump was not my first choice. To be honest, he did not make second, third or fourth on my list.

For Americans frustrated with career politicians, Donald Trump, the outsider, is an appealing alternative.

Recently, much attention was brought to Hillary Clinton's statement that half Trump's supporters were deplorable. While this is the line that is getting all the press, I found the rest of the statement to be just as important. Secretary Clinton went on to say, "The other half are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they're just desperate for change." I disagree with this assessment. I think the Trump supporters are not looking to the government to solve their problems. They do not express frustration with being let down or that nobody cares. The Trump voters I have spoken with want less government intervention, not more.

Trump promises something other than business as usual in Washington. His opposition is the poster child of political status quo. She has been employed in a variety of capacities, all the while building her government resume and waiting her "turn." Trump talks extemporaneously while Clinton has a lawyerly reserve to her statements. She is "inside the beltway" and he is "outside the beltway." For the second election in a row, outside is the new in.

In 2014, Hogan pulled off an unexpected upset running as an outsider. Del. Kathy Szeliga, elected in 2010, is running for the vacant U.S. Senate seat against a candidate who has been a legislator for 25 years. District 8 congressional candidate Dan Cox is new to running for office, but his opponent is a three-term state senator. The polls have been up and down, but mostly favor the Democratic candidates. I think there will be a lot of people surprised on election night. Voters are tired of the status quo. I am hoping at least three career politicians find themselves looking for work as Trump, Szeliga and Cox go to Washington.

Karen Leatherwood writes from Eldersburg. Reach her atleatherwoodkarenm@gmail.com.


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