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Good Job Maryland

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Thanks to an unfortunate combination of factors, Maryland has elected a Republican governor. They are already getting what they asked for. Larry Hogan has already withdrawn from regulations of phosphorous releases from the state’s many poultry farms that protected the Chesapeake Bay from massive pollution. He blocked air pollution regulations that would reduce carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants. And he withdrew from regulations that would bar Medicaid providers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Expect another 4 years of this.

Of course, as Maryland is showing both parties are the same and that’s why the only true progressive candidate in 2016 is Rand Paul.

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  • Derelict

    Until the Chesapeake Bay is a stinking fetid algae bowl; until the children of Maryland and Delaware all carry rescue inhalers; until the troglodytes of the eastern Appalachians are free to beat up the faggots, no man can say he’s truly free!

  • awt76

    I generally agree in principle, but shame on the O’Malley administration for waiting until a lame duck session after the other guy won to try to pass these. The democrats obviously didn’t have the guts to get these through when it would have hurt them more, politically, to do so. Not sure this is the best of example of how different the parties’ regulatory priorities really are.

  • LeeEsq

    Has it ever occurred to liberal/progressive critics of the Democratic Party, like certain posters of this site that will go unnamed, that the real blocking point for social democratic style policy in the United States isn’t the Democratic Party but the average American voter?

    • Davis X. Machina

      You can build social democracy when the political nation is nearly innocent of actual social democrats.

      You just have to want it bad enough.

      • LeeEsq

        Green Lanternism writ large than.

        • Davis X. Machina

          Pretty much.

          The persistent belief that there are tens of millions of ‘dark’ social democrats out there who can be coaxed out of the bleachers come election day, and vote in FDR v. Landon-esque numbers, provided we finally nominated sufficiently-left candidates, is one of the wonders of the world.

          Because the natural end-state of the US polity is sort of a nuclear-armed Denmark.

          • LeeEsq

            Invisible might be a better word to use than dark. Its the liberal version of Nixon’s Silent Majority with the exception that Nixon was more accurate in his description of the American electorate.

            • Craigo

              There is an almost-point within that criticism – that the US does have a much lower voter turnout than Western European social democracies, and that the elements of the VAP that fail to turn out are generally center-left.

              But it’s not just the average American voter – the average American is further right than the average European. Variety of theories for why that is – I blame functionally low population density – but there it is.

              • LeeEsq

                I think that Americans continually over-estimate how left the average European is. You do get a broader spectrum of openly voiced political opinions but these aren’t necessarily anymore mainstream in Europe than they are in the United States.

                Also, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have low populations densities but don’t seem to be as conservative as the United States so I don’t see how our functionally low population density as anything to do with it.

                • tsam

                  I think it comes from the attitudes fostered by the westward expansion and manifest destiny. We’ve always had a silly, mystic belief in an imaginary idea of total self reliance. That’s where the constant admonishments to “be more like me” come from. It was the idea of the western pioneers being self reliant (never mind the U.S. Army exterminating the people who already lived there to make way for these settlements)

                • Craigo

                  1. I go by the Pew Global surveys, which show that most European countries are genuinely and substantially further left than the US. Not all political issues have salience in every country and it’s less stark in social terms, but quite clear economically.

                  2. If you use basic density, Canada and Australia are not dense at all. But that’s because they contain very large regions which contain no or next to no people at all. Measured in terms of where people actually live (e.g.. by dividing them into two sets of county equivalents or metro areas, one for the larger areas and one for the smaller, each containing half the population) they’re functionally quite dense. A third of Canada’s population lives in the Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver CMAs alone.

                • Craigo

                  This map is nicely illustrative.

                  In terms of raw numbers, the US is ten times as dense as Canada. But 90 percent of the Canadian population is located within 100 miles of the US border (a statistic which actually understates its density, as most of the border is sparsely populated, especially in the west).

              • Brett

                That might be covering over some significant regional differences. For example, the southern states identify disproportionately as “conservative” excluding Florida and a small number of upper South states (like Kentucky and Florida).

                I wouldn’t be surprised if the polling in the West Coast states plus New York State northward was much closer to European and Canadian responses.

        • Brett

          No, just very good organization. Look at the Anti-Choice movement, for example – a majority of the American population consistently supports first-trimester abortion access, but they’ve managed to severely curtail it in half the states in the US and elect a ton of state governments and federal officials who are as fanatical about it as they are. Or (possibly) the Temperance Movement.

          Our political system allows a fanatically devoted minority to push policy changes when the majority either is apathetic on the issue or weakly supportive/opposed.

      • Linnaeus

        Indeed. What this nation needs is Very Serious politics.

    • I guess I was unaware that expecting a Democrat to win in one of the nation’s most Democratic states was an unrealistic view of the American public.

      • Malaclypse

        Three words: Martha fucking Coakley.

        • Shakezula

          Or more appropriately Kathleen “DID I MENTION I’M A KENNEDY??” Kennedy Townsend.

          • Davis X. Machina

            Which is why the periodic boomlet for Caroline Kennedy to run for US Senate from NY has always left me cold.

            • But don’t you understand–Caroline Kennedy DESERVED the Senate seat that Gillibrand received. Or so said my in-laws.

              • joe from Lowell

                YOU LEAVE THE KENNEDYS ALONE HAVEN’T THOSE POOR PEOPLE SUFFERED ENOUGH?!?

              • Hell, Gillibrand is my favorite politician in the state at this point.

            • Shakezula

              Oh nice. All of the schmaltz of the “And lo, a Kennedy appeared unto them!” mindset PLUS a cartload of “She’s a vessel for the will of the great MEN who came before her,” tacked on.

              What did I ever do to you?

    • Origami Isopod

      I really don’t understand your and Davis’s comments in this thread. Absent terrible Democratic candidates like Coakley — and I don’t know enough about Maryland to say whether such was the only alternative to Hogan — it’s entirely reasonable to expect a blue state to elect a Democrat. Yes, there are conservative Democrats, but generally they don’t take negligence of the environment to the point of destroying one of the state’s primary sources of revenue (for both fishing and tourism).

      Loomis’s last paragraph was obvious sarcasm.

      ETA: Okay, so I see from Shake’s comment that Hogan’s opponent is a Kennedy. Problem understood. This still doesn’t make what Hogan’s doing okay, nor is Loomis playing the “both parties” card.

      • LeeEsq

        Even in very Democratic states, the voters will occasionally elect a Republican because they are tired of the same old, faces.

      • Shakezula

        Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Townsend ran against Erlich and we got Erlich.

        Brown ran a very inspiring campaign against Hogan and we got Hogan.

        My larger point – We’ve had Republican governors before and very recently. They get elected by not being anywhere near as deranged as your Brownbacks or Brewers.

        My even larger point – Hogan’s win proves (yet again) that even in ultraviolet states the Democratic candidates have to do more than just show up. (Unless your opponent is dumb enough to run on Gods, Guns & Gynecology, in which case, take it easy.)

        • Origami Isopod

          Well, yeah, in re your even larger point. I don’t see how this is even remotely controversial on LGM. I think we’re all on the same page more or less. Or maybe I need more caffeine.

        • Shakezula

          Uggg

          Very UNinspiring campaign.

          Forget it, read SharonT downthread: http://lawyersgunsmon.wpengine.com/2015/01/good-job-maryland/comment-page-1#comment-1409595

          • njorl

            Ah. That explains it.

        • njorl

          Brown did not run a very inspiring campaign. Brown failed to show up at all. He had virtually no presence in the state. His campaign signs didn’t even have his name on them. “Vote for the Democrat!” signs lined the roads.

          Short of those candidates who actively shoot themselves in the foot, it was the single worst political campaign I’ve witnessed in my 52 years on Earth.

          • njorl

            Whoops. Should have read down 2 more posts.

      • joe from Lowell

        Absent terrible Democratic candidates like Coakley — and I don’t know enough about Maryland to say whether such was the only alternative to Hogan — it’s entirely reasonable to expect a blue state to elect a Democrat.

        The Republican candidate won the governor’s race in Massachusetts in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2014. Five of the last seven.

        Now, maybe we just incredibly unlucky with five terrible candidates, but with a streak like that, there is probably something structural going on.

        • Malaclypse

          Silber was arguably the conservative in 1990 despite being the Democrat, and Weld had incumbency in 1994.

          Too fucking many liberals wanted to punish Coakley for Fells River, all while she let Baker attack her from the pseudo-left on homelessness.

          So two of five candidates were genuinely terrible.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Silber/Weld really was a “not a dime’s worth” campaign.

            • Malaclypse

              Not sure I agree. Silber was (arguably) an economic liberal, while being deeply socially conservative. Weld was (arguably) a social liberal [*], while being deeply economically conservative. But between them they split the Democratic coalition, in ways I think we have not really recovered from.

              * Leaving aside the “let’s outsource our prisons to Texas” that everybody but a few Quakers forgot about because really, fuck him sideways for that.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Right — it’s not that they were the same, it’s just that they crosscut left-liberal policy positions to the extent you could justify voting for either or neither.

            • efgoldman

              Silber/Weld really was a “not a dime’s worth” campaign.

              Except Silber was a nasty sumbitch and an anti-Semite, of which I have personal knowledge.

  • Shakezula

    Maryland survived Bob Erlich, it will survive one of his secretaries.

    One of the things Erlich found out while he was in office is the Republicans out on the Eastern Shore are fine with any number of things, provided you don’t fuck up the Bay, because that’s how they earn their living.

    • Pat

      Now you’re being an optimist, thinking that Republican politicians can learn on the job.

      • Shakezula

        Nah, I know they can’t. The fun is in watching them walk face first into reality, over and over and over again.

    • LeeEsq

      America survived Herbert Hoover’s floundering during the early years of the Great Depression, that doesn’t mean its something we want to go through again.

      • Shakezula

        You’re right. I completely forgot that Maryland went through a great depression while Erlich was in office. It was horrible. Everyone was living in a cardboard box in the middle of the road, dreaming of living in a corridor…

    • Davis

      Larry Hogan is a goddam suburban real estate developer, in partnership with his brother. He’s already said he prefers spending on highways rather than mass transit. I don’t think he’ll be as bad as Ehrlich, who’s revealed himself as a real right wing asshole, but that’s my natural optimism at work.

  • Pat

    Question for you, Erik: LGM has been hammering this sarcastic meme about “the parties being the same” for a bunch of posts in a row. I get that you’re angry about the last midterm election. I just don’t see why you feel the meme has value. What are you fighting with it?

    I’m curious. Is there a strategy, or is it a reflexive thing?

    • I see it a lot on other sites. Progressives saying that the “Democrats are just as bad”.

      It’s pretty obvious at this point that they’re not.

      I’m pretty disappointed with the Dems, but the worst Dem is still better than the best Republican.

      • postmodulator

        For all Taibbi’s faults, I’m fondest of his formulation: “You know, at least Democrats have some fucking shame.”

      • Shakezula

        “There’s no difference between parties” is the set up. “So we should all vote 3rd Party to send a message.” is the punch line.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Oh, they’re out there.

        I have to suffer through four more years of Landslide LePage because the answer to stasis is a politics-without-politicians, and above all a politics without parties.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yup. Tom Friedmanism, equally dumb when coming from Friedman or the ostensible left.

      • joe from Lowell

        It’s gotten to the point where leftists reflexively spam the comments of stories at liberal/Democratic sites that denounce Republicans with “Yeah but DRONEZ!” or some other deflection intended to redirect the heat away from the Republican target and towards the Democrats.

        You know, like Republican supporters do during elections.

      • tsam

        That proof would require that we call Elisabeth Warren the same as an objectively shitty person like Ted Cruz. That math don’t add up.

      • Brett

        It annoys me a lot when I hear that type of rhetoric. It’s covering for their own incompetence at influencing Democrats in the primaries – they should be out there hustling and pressuring the Democratic Party from the Left, using their activism and the particular low-turnout venues to compensate for their relatively low numbers.

        • weirdnoise

          What, you mean posting in blog comment sections isn’t activism???

    • junker

      Really? This may not he something that (most) posters claim here, but I’d argue that there is a widespread belief that the parties are essentially the same, that politicians as a class are crooked, etc. It’s an idea that deserves to be pushed back on.

    • Specifically, mocking what way too many brogressives said in 2012 and will say again in 2016.

      • Pat

        I can see that. Mocking and sarcasm have their place. But this kind of meme is adopted by people who dig in when their facts are challenged. Showing them that they’re wrong doesn’t make things better, it makes things worse. But there has to be a way to sway them, to bring them over anyway. But I think the ideas have to be planted early. I just don’t know what they should be.

        One of the reasons that I like Sen. Warren is because she describes her politics in a narrative that people buy into. It’s a different kind of confrontation, a more successful kind.

  • c u n d gulag

    I’m no fan of Andrew Cuomo, but that DINO’s a hell of a lot better than any Republican!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I try to remind myself of that every day.
    But some days, it’s tough…

    • Brett

      He’s good on social issues, at least when they affect well-off white folks. He’s been pro-gay marriage rights, pro-choice, and he just recently announced he’s pushing for an Affirmative Consent rule in public colleges and universities in the state.

      . . . On the other hand, he did immediately try to welch on commitments made to the Working Families Party for their support, and only now is endorsing a minimum wage rise. Hmmm.

  • sharonT

    I live in Maryland and this race was lost because the Demoicratic candidate was flawed, he ran a lackluster campaign, dominated by lots of negative ads about the Republican, and he failed to introduce himself to the voters.

    The campaign had more than enough money to swamp Hogan’s campaign. I think it was something like a 4:1 advantage, but the campaign chose to spend that money on a high-priced team of out-of-state consultants who didn’t know the state and they did no voter outreach. There wasn’t a campaign sign on the ground until two weeks before the elections, and many of those sign simply read, “Vote for Democrats.”

    Brown’s campaign didn’t even think to purchase the email list from the current governor. I was never contacted by that campaign, but Martin O’Malley, sent plenty of emails asking me to donate to some guy running in an Iowa House race.

    Anthony Brown lost this race running the same message free, highly compensated consultant led race that many of the Democrats that were slaughtered in House races ran in 2014.

    Voters don’t turn out for candidates that never contact them. Larry Hogan campaigned in the state of Maryland. Anthony Brown campaigned in the living rooms of Potomac.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      “voters don’t turn out for candidates who never contact them”

      last election this was the most republican district (state house) represented by a dem and she got re elected even as every other dem runnning above her on the ticket went down and it was in large part because she did a ton of door knocking. but even in a small state it’s easier do do that down-ticket, of course…

    • postmodulator

      Aimai had a pretty good takedown of this mindset a couple of months ago. The words “artisanal vote-gatherers” were used.

      • sharonT

        What I meant by the Potomac remark was that Brown saw fundraising as his sole duty in that election, and by all accounts he spectacularly completed that mission. His campaign was focused on hippyesque messaging. He wasn’t trying to appeal to the Peoples Republic of Takoma Park. If anything he completely turned off that part of the base, by showing one of his defeated primary opponents the hand after she cowboy end up and did unity rally’s with him.

        And yes, he was as bad as Kennedy was, but in a somewhat different dimension of awfulness.

        • Brien Jackson

          It’s really a shame Mizeur was so damned committed to never saying anything mean about anyone, ever, because if she had blasted away at Brown for being an aloof politician with no real values I think she might actually have overtaken him after the Channel 45 debate that Brown no-showed.

    • Davis

      I also am a Marylander, and you said it for me. Dan Rodericks in the Sun said that Larry Hogan acted like he really wanted to be governor. Brown just wanted it handed to him. Like Ehrlich, who also had a weak former Lt. governor to run against, Hogan will likely last one term.

      • Shakezula

        He’ll have to be incredibly un-Republican like to last more than one term. It isn’t like the people who said no to Erlich a twice have left the state.

        • Brien Jackson

          This. Hogan can either govern like a quasi-Democrat who cuts fees, tolls, taxes, and squeezes programs for the poor slightly…or he can do what he can to make things better for corporations for four years until he hands Democrats a massive victory in 2018. And if he’s going to start by relaxing rules against polluting the bay, he’s going to be devoid of any solid political constituency outside of the boondocks in Western Maryland pretty quickly.

    • Bruce Vail

      Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. Brown was a black man in a state has never had a black governor (or U.S senator).

      • Brien Jackson

        I saw basically nothing to suggest that Brown’s race was ever a factor in the campaign. I mean, it’s possible that there were a lot of white Democrats who wouldn’t vote for a black guy, but a) it literally never manifested itself even subtlely, b) you would think Doug Gansler would have done a lot better in the primary if that were the case, what with running against a black man and a lesbian and all.

        • Shakezula

          Right. It isn’t like Free Staters balked at voting for the African-American candidate in another Very Important Election.

          • Bruce Vail

            Don’t kid yourself, Shak. Record low turnout in the election indicated that a lot of white Democrats didn’t want to vote for Brown. I didn’t want to vote for Brown either (although it wasn’t because his skin color.)

            • Brien Jackson

              Holy shit, were you trying to put on a clinic in self-refutation there, or did you just trip into it?

              • sharonT

                I’m a black woman,and I didn’t want to vote for Brown. He wasn’t very good at his job.

              • Bruce Vail

                Not at all. I voted for somebody else in the primary and voted very reluctantly for Brown in the general. But as a voter who participated in both, I am very much in the minority in Md., especially in this latest election.

            • Shakezula

              Just FYI: Projection isn’t proof.

    • Brien Jackson

      Meh, it’s a lot more complicated than that. There’s real liability with O’Malley now, because there’s plenty of genuine anger at the level he’s raised fees and tolls over the past few years. Hogan exploited that, while trying to position himself as a non-crazy, borderline Democrat who was just going to lower those costs and repeal the rain tax…but OF COURSE he wasn’t some crazy fire-breathing Christianist and OF COURSE he cared about education, public healthcare, and the Bay. It was a lie, of course, but with Brown living up to every fucking stereotype of him as an empty-suit who was just the “next man up” in the machine, and the left-wing (led by Mizeur) running around decrying Brown for saying mean things about Hogan instead of RESPECTING HIS IDEAS!!!, there was no real way to push back against it during a wave year.

      The fact that Maryland is actually a pretty good place to be in the middle/working class paradoxically hurts Democrats at somewhat regular intervals too.

      • sharonT

        Hogan’s brilliance/evil is that all of those big cuts are going to fall in the biggest jurisdictions of the state. Precisely the counties that didn’t vote for Hogan.

        The bonus for the cretins in Carroll County that did vote for him, is that those cuts are going to affect blah and Hispanic people.

        • Brien Jackson

          I mean, only marginally, since he still has to work with a Democratic legislature and the referendum system. And Carrol County isn’t going to be happy with him for long if the only thing he’s doing to differentiate himself is making it easier to pollute the Bay.

  • AlanInSF

    Perhaps at some point we should stop blaming the 7 or 8 brogressives who didn’t vote Democratic and take a look at the astonishing ineptness, corruption, and general worthlessness of Maryland’s Democratic Party.

    • Brien Jackson

      This is me, laughing at you.

      Ha. Ha ha. Hahahahahahahaha.

    • sharonT

      No, he has a point. Brown was an awful candidate. He ran a bad campaign, he screwed up the one thing that O’Malley tasked him to do in the second term, the health exchange.

      The Health Exchange screw up dug a deep hole for Brown. I wasn’t thinking about staying home, there were city bond issues that I cared about, but there was no enthusiasm in my vote for Brown. Don’t blame Heather for Brown’s mistakes.

      • Brien Jackson

        I’m not really sure what that had to do with anything. Sure, Brown was a bad candidate, but Brown was a bad candidate who was able to get the nomination because a big chunk of the Democratic constituency would have been perfectly damn happy to continue along with the same trajectory of Democratic governance of the state. There was no meaningful clamoring for changing course, which is why Mizeur never had a chance running the campaign she did. Which is a shame, but the same “Brown didn’t give voters a reason to vote for him” logic applies equally to Mizeur, who had no answer at all for what Democrats should want to upend their own leadership given the O’Malley-Brown record.

    • Pat

      At some point people kick the yellow dog and say, “You know it’s dead, right?” Then they do something stupid like vote Republican.

    • Pat

      Trying to be productive in response, then what you’re saying is that the grooming process for young Democrats does not select for charismatic, effective leaders for the #2 slot. Then when it’s their turn, they fall on their faces.

      • Brien Jackson

        Brown isn’t terribly charismatic, but I think he passes the baseline test, anyway. His campaign’s biggest problem, in my opinion, was the way he treated the primary campaign, taking on the mantle of inevitability, acting as though his challengers were a sideshow, and basically acting as though campaigning for the nomination was a waste of time and unnecessary. It might not have hurt his vote count, but it definitely soured the media on him and led to everything else that happened in the campaign being framed through that prism.

        As for the general election…I don’t know what realistically could have made a difference. Brown campaigned on the premise of “I’m a Democrat” because there was basically nothing else for the Democrats to run on. That can be attested to by the fact that Hogan explicitly tried to pretend that he broadly agreed with the Democrats on issues like education, the environment, healthcare…and just wanted the job to cut some fees and taxes for everybody. That was a lie, of course, and it was always obvious that he was going to do exactly what he’s proposed this week. Brown’s campaign made a (pretty weak) attempt at pointing out that Hogan was just a generic Republican, but the media wouldn’t run with it, the left-wing challenger from the Democratic primary blasted Brown for negative campaigning, and Hogan just got to go on pretending to be a quasi-Democrat.

  • jamesepowell

    For the most part, voters don’t really care about the environment unless it’s in their neighborhood or discrimination unless it’s against someone they know well. Sure, they will give the right answers in opinion polls, but those issues will not move them to get off their asses and vote.

    Recall that the very blue state of California twice elected Arnold Schwarzenegger because they enjoyed his films and were comfortable with his carefully crafted public image.

    I fully expect that a Republican will follow either or both of Gov Brown and Sen Boxer because reasons. We will all argue which of the usual suspects – uninspiring campaign, corrupt Democratic Party, Naderite disaffection, etc. – was to blame.

    • Brien Jackson

      “For the most part, voters don’t really care about the environment unless it’s in their neighborhood”

      So…basically everyone in Maryland east of Frederick.

    • ExpatJK

      I would be very surprised if a Repub follows either or both Brown or Boxer. Schwarzenegger’s first win was in a recall election. He next faced a very weak opponent in his re-election. I wouldn’t say people voted for him because they liked his films, but rather because Gray Davis, who was recalled, was pretty useless and unpopular and Schwarzenegger was the biggest, best-known name on the list of potential candidates to pick from during the recall election.

      The CA GOP has an extremely strong nativist streak, and the recall election meant Schwarzenegger never had to go through a primary. This helped him, since CA GOP primaries mostly consist of telling everyone that Mexican immigrants are the scariest. Kashkari, who recently lost the gubernatorial election to Brown, only defeated his Tea Party/former border vigilante opponent by 4%. [Primaries in CA have changed and the top 2 candidates go forth regardless of party, so basically Kashkari was fighting for 2nd place].

      tl;dr: Don’t agree re CA, mostly because of how their GOP is.

    • Brett

      You notice, though, that those California voters have never pushed for or allowed a removal of the offshore oil drilling ban in California’s waters, right? Not all of them go to the beach regularly either.

  • wengler

    Maryland? In Illinois we elected a guy most likely four times as worse that gets to fuck up the budget in his second month in office.

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