Opinion: Trump a dilemma for Maryland Republicans

Opinion: Trump a dilemma for Maryland Republicans

Trump by DonkeyHotey with Flickr Creative Commons License

By Laslo Boyd

For MarylandReporter.com  

Trump by DonkeyHotey with Flickr Creative Commons License

Trump by DonkeyHotey with Flickr Creative Commons License


When Maryland’s Presidential Primary takes place next month, Donald Trump will be leading the field already narrowed to three with the departure of Marco Rubio.  Early on many people did not take his candidacy seriously and therefore did little to oppose him. Now, however, he is stirring anxiety and alarm among increasing numbers of the party faithful.

Some argue that Trump is not a true conservative.  Others are appalled at his demagogic language and the increasing violence accompanying his public events.

Fact checking does not seem to lessen the enthusiasm of his supporters. Calls by prominent Republican leaders to reject Trump have not slowed his momentum and may, in fact, have been counterproductive.

When asked recently whom he would be supporting among the Republican candidates, Governor Larry Hogan ducked the question.  Given his earlier enthusiastic backing for New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie, it’s hard for Hogan to claim that he doesn’t want to get involved in national politics.

At his press conference, he said he was “disgusted” at what is going on with both parties during this election.  That, of course, is also evasive since there was never a chance that he would be supporting Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, much less Martin O’Malley.

A lose/lose proposition

Hogan’s challenge is hardly unique.  What are moderate and conservative Republicans to do about Trump’s candidacy?   Right now, it looks like a lose/lose proposition.  Many analysts see a Republican electoral disaster looming if Trump is at the top of the ticket in the fall.  It’s not hard to imagine the party losing control of the Senate and having a significant chunk of its large House majority eroded.

The other side of the equation doesn’t look much better.  If the New York billionaire were to prevail in the General Election, the Republican Party as it has historically existed would be one of the losers.  And, of even greater significance, this country would be a very scary place.

Can Larry Hogan and other leaders of the Republican Party prevent a Trump nomination?  That’s not at all clear at this point. Those party leaders have been both timid and ineffectual in opposing Trump.

As many have argued, the failure of elected Republicans to follow through on promises made to their supporters during previous elections is one of the sources of Trump’s popularity.

A second factor, more disturbing, has been their tolerance, at times encouragement, of appeals to racial bias, demonizing of immigrants and calls for a return to a past that will never exist again.  Their complicity in the “birther” movement and the assertions that Barack Obama is really Muslim have contributed directly to the Trump movement.

Political courage needed

Do reasonable Republicans—I include Hogan in that category even though I disagree with some of his policies—have the political courage and judgment to stand up to Trump?  The first line of attack is to try to deny him the Republican nomination, although it might be already too late to succeed in that endeavor.

Moreover, that undertaking raises the risk that he might run as an independent if denied the party’s nomination.  A second possibility is that his supporters, a considerable plurality of voters in Republican primaries, will sit out the election.

The original error of the Republican establishment was to hope it could keep Trump’s supporters without keeping him.  That’s probably not going to happen.

Ultimately, the key to guaranteeing that Trump won’t become president is for Republicans who are uneasy with his candidacy to decide that it’s better to have one of the Democratic candidates as president than to run the risk of electing Trump.

That would require them to distance themselves from his fall campaign.  Indeed, that may be the only way Republicans like Hogan can reclaim the party from the insurgency that Trump is riding.

National Republicans are already splitting on what to do.  Both Ben Carson and Chris Christie have picked expedience over principle by endorsing Trump.  Hogan has the opportunity to step out from Christie’s considerable shadow and stake a claim as a thoughtful leader in the party.

To do that, however, he will need to publicly oppose Trump even if that means risking a barrage of invective from the reality show star. Staying quiet at a time like this is not a sign of leadership.  Trump appeals to the worst in people and has openly challenged some of the most important values of our constitutional system.

If Hogan remains silent, he will be making the same mistake that others in the party have made, wanting Trump’s supporters at any cost.  Between now and the April 26 Primary, Hogan has a wonderful opportunity to show that he has the political courage to do what is right rather than what is expedient.

About The Author

Len Lazarick


Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. WilliamBedloe

    Democrats are happy to tell Republicans what is wrong with their party. However, they are busy nominating someone who quite literally put our national security at risk for her own convenience, and more than likely broke the law. They are busy nominating someone who rails against Wall Street with one fist, and holds out an open hand accepting donations from them with the other. They are busy nominating someone who supported her husband, a known womanizer and liar, all while proclaiming Republicans as the sole aggressors in the war on women.

    The Republican Party may seem as if it is suffering right now, but I consider it pains of growth, a result of introspection. Democrats don’t believe in introspection. Their agenda is supreme, no matter the cost. If it means keeping the reins of power, they will elect the devil himself.

  2. EnoughIsEnough

    Got to love it when a far left wing journalist who served in Democratic administrations tells Republicans what to do in their primaries.

    Fellow Republicans if you are tired of business as usual, if you are tired of the Uniparty protecting itself and its place at the public trough, then join the great majority of Republican voters in the 2016 primary to date who has pulled the lever for Donald Trump.

    No more illegal immigrants, clamp down on radical Islam and no more stupid trade deals.

    Maryland Republicans for Trump!!

  3. EnoughIsEnough

    It is no surprise Trump has a double digit lead in the Maryland Republican Primary. You have to be blind to see the many problems illegals have created in this state. I and my entire family will be proudly casting our votes for Trump on April 26. And any establishment Republican politicians who distance them from Trump or otherwise attack him will never receive a vote from this Maryland Republican household again!
    TRUMP USA!!!

  4. Dale McNamee

    I have supported Ted Cruz from the beginning and will be voting for him in the primary…
    So,there is no dilemma for me at this point…

    Come the convention and if Trump is the nominee, I will be searching my conscience as to voting for him…

  5. Vidi

    I’m not sure that learning Gov Hogan’s views about Trump will make a huge difference to the residents of Maryland. We need jobs, economic development and opportunities for our young adults. All else is political bluster and noise.

  6. David M. Zwald

    If it is fair to criticize Governor Hogan about Trump, it is more than fair to question Mike Miller and Mike Busch about the outrageous policies of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Sanders would give away everything nailed down and Hillary will too, except she won’t say it. It is also fair for Miller and Busch to be asked how they feel about Obama and Clinton’s traitorous non-action in Behghazi that left 4 brave Americans dead AND then lied about it. It is also fair to ask Clinton about her lies about the emails and why did she compromise national security? I think the leftist media should insist on answers.

  7. John von Kerczek

    Hogan’s record speaks for itself. Firing up his base with dog whistle rhetoric, bullying opponents
    via Change Maryland, hopping on Trump’s anti-Muslim bandwagon after San Bernardino, and vindictively redirecting of state funds away from his political opponents and towards supporting jurisdictions. Don’t let the nice guy shtick fool you. He’s no moderate and he’ll fall in line with Trump just like the rest.

    • EnoughIsEnough

      Maryland has been turned into a hellhole with illegal immigrants. God bless Donald Trump for standing for this nonsense. And Muslim immigrants are a whole other story. They don’t assimilate and bring Mideval ideas about the roles of women. The still practice female genital mitilation. And more than one third of Muslims in this country believe the death penalty is appropriate for apostasy. Go see some of the hellholes in Michigan and Minnesota created by Muslims who won’t assimilate. This does not even begin to address the terror and radical issues.

      This Maryland Republican family will not stand with any Republican politician who turns their back on Donald Trump.


      • John von Kerczek

        How specifically has Maryland been turned into a hellhole and how (again, specifically) has that been attributable to illegal immigration? It’s funny how immigration wasn’t a problem when chickens needed processing, homes needed to be built, and office buildings cleaned, all as cheaply as possible.

        As far as female genital mutilation goes, that reflects more on the countries where it occurs than on the religious beliefs. You don’t have to look very far to see atrocious human rights crimes being committed in the name of any religion, including Christianity. And again, where was the outcry about such human rights abuses by Trump supporters before it became expedient to demonize Muslims?

        Finally, all this scapegoating is not a sign of strength but of cowardice. Trump is playing his followers like a fiddle as they wet their pants and cower at his legs. For God’s sake, get a grip and show a little dignity!

        • EnoughIsEnough

          For starters I have been rear ended two times in four years both times by illegal immigrants who had no drivers licenses or insurances. Both time my insurance had to pay.

          In my grandmothers neighborhood in Highlandtown the Latin gang activity is so bad she can’t sit on her porch anymore.

          How many more examples would you like. Illegal immigrants make Maryland a hellhole. Donald Trump will help make is great again!

  8. Sam D

    Hogan has shown that he doesn’t want to lead in his own state. I sincerely doubt he would take any action for the sake of his party on the national level.

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