By Len Lazarick
The Maryland Democratic Party has been sending out mailers to heavily African American areas telling them to vote for Anthony Brown because “it’s our turn” to have the state’s first black governor.
The mailers and handouts, which have offended some older white voters who saw them, visually tie Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown to Martin Luther King and President Barack Obama. “We’ve come a long way in our journey,” says the cover of one mailer.
“They’ve placed roadblocks in our path at every turn,” said another mailer to Fort Washington in Prince George’s County. It depicts signs about segregated facilities, voter ID, “Go back to Africa” demonstrations from the 1960s, and billionaire birther Donald Trump with a billboard “Where’s the birth certificate?”
The strong appeal to African Americans is hardly a surprise, since they are essential to any Democratic win. They make up 30% of Maryland’s population, 25% or more of the likely voters, and nine out of 10 vote Democratic.
Brown rarely brings up his own race
But urging them to “Vote for Anthony Brown as Maryland’s first African American governor” is unusual in a race where the candidate rarely brings up his own race, though many others do.
When Attorney General Doug Gansler, a Brown primary opponent, told a group of volunteers last year that “I mean, right now his campaign slogan is, ‘Vote for me, I want to be the first African American governor of Maryland,’ ” the Brown campaign jumped all over the secretly recorded remark which was leaked to the Washington Post.
Brown campaign manager Justin Schall called Gansler “out of touch with Maryland values.”
Now the state Democratic Party is using the same message as part of a massive push to get out the vote (GOTV) among the party’s most reliable supporters. On Sunday, there was a huge “Soul to the polls” effort asking pastors of mostly black churches to urge their congregants to vote at early polling places after church was over.
Anthony Brown seems still somewhat ambivalent about the racial appeal, at least in front of a largely white audience as he was Oct. 18 in a TV debate broadcast on four stations.
As usual, a reporter, not Brown, brought up the topic. Here is a transcript of the entire exchange. (It takes place around minute 46 in the online video.)
Race as an issue
“WBAL reporter Deborah Weiner: Lieutenant governor, if elected, you would become the state’s first African American governor in the state’s history. Does race matter in this race?
Anthony Brown: I understand the significance of race and certainly the historical significance of being elected Maryland’s governor. I’ll be only the first African American elected governor in the history of this state and only the third in the history of this nation.
I think where race has more significance is when we look at, for example, education and the question was raised about the achievement gap. We have an achievement gap along racial lines and that’s why I support universal pre-k to help close that achievement gap.
We talked a little about health care, but I wish we would have talked more broadly about health reform because we know that we have health disparities by both race, ethnicity and geography. That’s why I led the effort to create health enterprise zones to address those disparities and to eliminate the difference in outcomes along racial lines.
So I think race is important to the extent that the quality of life goals that we achieve ought to be experienced uniformly by all Marylanders regardless of where your family lives, where they’re from, race, ethnicity or nationality.
Moderator: Mr. Hogan, the same question to you.
Larry Hogan Jr. Well, I don’t know about you at home but I have no idea what he just said. The question was …
I don’t think race has any part whatsoever in this race for governor, and the people I talk to around the state don’t really care about whether the next governor is going to be white or black, Asian or Hispanic.
They’re looking for somebody that’s gonna turn the state around. They don’t want to go in the same direction. They’re looking to move Maryland forward rather than continuing to move backwards.
I don’t think it should be an issue. And I don’t think it is an issue.
You know my wife will be the first Asian first lady in Maryland history, and that shouldn’t be an issue either.” (END OF TRANSCRIPT)
Race almost always an issue
Race has almost always been an issue in Maryland elections since the Civil War.
It was dominant racist Democrats who engaged in black voter suppression in the 19th Century, and most Maryland blacks were Republicans until the 1930s and President Franklin Roosevelt.
The parties have switched roles, and Democrats have used racial charges to defeat Republican candidates, such as Ellen Sauerbrey in 1998.
African Americans have also complained about being made to “wait their turn” by Democrats for far too long.
The first African American ever elected to statewide office was Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, chosen by Gov. Bob Ehrlich. Now, no ticket for governor and lieutenant governor in either party is made up of two white males.
Hogan’s running mate, Boyd Rutherford, is black.
How is a dude born to a Cuban father and Swedish mother, and raised in Jamaica, ‘African-American?’
On Brown in MD; what has this man done for
Maryland? What has he done for you and I? Besides help run business out of the
state, over spend and waste our
tax dollars. Then keep adding taxes on you and I. Do you like the RAIN tax? How can we be taxed on something we
can’t control? Just like paying Brown who is not controlled by We the People
because he does not represent US. Do
you like the progressive gas tax? If
Brown is elected the next tax could be a Mileage TAX for using the car you paid
for and have to fill with overly taxed gas! And he would like nothing better
take away our constitutional rights and freedoms. Brown cannot run on
his record, unless you like taxes and mismanagement. So instead he puts out negative adds and lies about his
would just continue the same O’Malley’s political Mafia tax and spend polices.
With out lessening to the citizens he is suppose to represent. Tell me WHAT has
he done that makes any of you think he would be a good governor? WHAT? I will
wait for you answers. but I won’t hold my breath. Breathing might be taxed next. As
he just stated in this debate Brown wants to run MD as he thinks it should be
run, NOT as WE think it should be run.
I watched this debate this morning. Browns statements are very telling here are
“He disagrees with Hogan on how the state should be run
and feels his way is better” His way not the peoples way but his way.
“SB281 did leave out the kind of things Hogan wanted to
see in the bill like a Fed. Back ground checks that most states use, not this
bull that it now imposes on us and a better link to Mentally violent
patents. But Brown had to vote for the
bill as a start” This is so he and enact even more Infringements on us if he is
elected all because his sister-in-law was killed. Sorry Anthony, So called
common sense laws are still infringements and shows your ignorance of the Oath
You have now taken twice. Brown says he
took assault weapons off the streets, I ask you how many assault weapons (Full
auto weapons) have you seen on the streets.
The only full auto weapons I’ve seen are in the hands of our now Para
military Police forces. And the bands
they put in affect depicted Semi automatic as assault weapons and only stop
law-abiding citizens from obtaining this self-defense and hunting weapon. Even the DHS called these weapons Self-defense
weapons when they bought, only god knows how many, in 2012 and 2013.
And if criminals want to use these weapons or even full
auto weapons on the streets this law will not stop them. Criminals do not follow the law.
Brown has ads stating the Hogan is out for touch with us,
and is saying that our state is doing well.???
Brown sees a $10,000,000 hike Md. Gov. spending as a
Browns sees him self as a champion for small business,
even throw he is driving them out of the state.???
Brown states he will not raise taxes, well first of all he
and O’Malley have said that before and secondly MANY of the taxes that have
been put in place will automatically get raised.
Brown is full of lies, especially those he has in his ads
O’ I almost forgot all the wasted money on the health care
site was not his fault. He was just in charge of it!!!???
Marylanders don’t be fooled again, If you really listen to
what Brown is saying you can hear the deceptions.