Now, I'm not for a minute going to compare Larry Hogan and Donald Trump. They are completely different in manner and approach. Yet, there is one striking similarity. And it's that the actions of liberal officeholders caused both of them to gain political prominence.
Obviously, as for Gov. Hogan, the confiscatory left-winger of which I speak is Martin O'Malley. Let's face it, just as without a lame-o like Jimmy Carter, we would not have had Ronald Reagan; so too, without O'Malley, we would not have Larry Hogan in the Governor's Mansion.
O'Malley was out of control. He was responsible for raising at least 80 taxes and fees, including a tax on the rain (which in my opinion was the proverbial last straw). This demonstrable hostility toward Maryland taxpayers propelled Republican Larry Hogan into office in one of the bluest states in the country.
It's not rocket science, folks. When the left pushes too far and too hard, there will be a backlash. And what's the liberal response? Bewilderment and denial.
In attacking Gov. Hogan for cutting highway tolls, big-time Baltimore Sun liberal columnist Dan Rodricks, ascribed the governor's actions to an "obsession with fiscal austerity, the unwillingness to raise taxes, gridlock in [government], anti-government sentiment at all levels, and cheap political grandstanding." If you consider responding to the will of the Maryland electorate to be "grandstanding," then I would respond "guilty as charged." You see Dan, you just don't get it, but Larry Hogan does, which is why he will not be taking your advice anytime too soon.
As for the national scene, the ascendancy of Donald Trump is also the product of backlash against the left pushing too far. In this instance, I'm referring to the policies of the leftist-in-chief, President Obama. From a social perspective, he has gone a bridge too far. He has apologized for America to foreign nations, refuses to acknowledge radical Islamic extremism, and legislates from the Oval Office through executive order regarding everything from immigration policy to telling people they have to make bathroom provisions for the 0.3 percent of the populace that is transgendered.
However, it's the economy and pocketbook issue that really have people riled up nationally, just as in Maryland. And this has given rise to Donald Trump, a celebrity billionaire who folks are hoisting on their shoulders "to make America great again."
You see, despite Obama's self-congratulations about reduced employment and job growth, the people know that the economy is lame. We are in the midst of the weakest recovery in modern history. Under Obama, the number of people in poverty is up, folks on food stamps are up 40 percent, median income has dropped, as has work-force participation. So, the backlash against liberal overreach and ineptitude has given rise to Donald Trump, who like Hogan has significant cross-over appeal to moderate Democrats. It's really not hard to fathom. Simply put, if the "Hope and Change" that you have is to hope to have some change left in your pocket, there may be a backlash.
Let Larry Hogan at the state level and Donald Trump nationally be lessons to liberal political types: If you won't relent from going after people's money, or if your policies yield anemic results, someone from the right will rise up to straighten out the mess. But, like Dan Rodricks, they won't listen. Denial is not just a river in Africa after all.
Haven Shoemaker is a state delegate representing District 5.