Why Republicans Will Still have Trouble Winning in Maryland

The Maryland races for Governor and particularly for Senator are now all being boiled down to racial politics. The "Black Vote" we all talk so much about has become the major focus of both parties. However, which party has the best chance of reaching those voters with their message, and which party really benefits the most from a heavy Black turnout?

The answer in both cases is the Democrats. The Democratic GOTV operation in Maryland has been targeting Black voters for a very long time. The GOTV operations in PG county and Baltimore City are clockwork operations. They are well run, well funded, and staffed by people who are experienced in getting the Democratic vote out on election day. Ho much have we heard about the Republican GOTV effort as it applies to Black Democrats and independents? Not a whole lot. This isn't to say it isn't there, but can we really expect it to be at the same level as Democrats? I don't think we can, seeing as 2002 might have been the first time many of the Black voters crossed lines for Ehrlich/Steele.

A Steele victory rests on two things. He has to get as many "Steele Democrats" to the polls as possible (many of these folks will still be voting for O'Malley and the Democratic ticket) while making sure he doesn't push the Black Vote too high. It is rumored that if the Black vote tops 22%, Cardin and O'Malley are shoe-ins.

Now, tell me HOW Steele plans on getting out the "Steele Democrats" without getting out the Black Vote in general? It will be interesting to see his strategy here.

Basically, MD Republicans have a big task ahead of themselves, with very little time left. The endorsements in PG county for Steele may be a large part of a their GOTV strategy for Black voters. I don't think it will be enough to bring out those "select voters" who will be voting for Steele across party lines.

In the past two election cycles, the Black Vote has been consistently above 20%. I think it will be around 25% this time, and that will mean Democratic victory. I really do not see how Black turnout could go DOWN this cycle.

Now increased Black turnout could still lead to a Steele victory, but it would have to contradict every poll which only gives Steele only 10-15% of the Black vote. He needs about 25-30% of a high Black Turnout to win.

If Steele would have spent his whole campaign aggressively courting the Black vote, he would probably be ahead at this point. As it stands though, Steele does not have the Black support he needs for such a high turnout model, nor does he have enough time to garner it.


Lets see, this poll has the race tied. Tied, even when the model has 26% black turnout (makes sense) and 33% of Blacks voting for Steele (this is way off compared to every other poll on this race). Now, what does it say about Mr. Steele that even when things go his way in every way possible that I mentioned above, the race is still tied? It says Steele is not sitting as pretty as Republicans would have you believe. A solid GOTV operation by Democrats should give Cardin a good chance to win this thing.

How Many Voters will be Fooled by Steele's "Marshall Plan"

A good amount, if they actually get around to hearing about it. I won't link to this "plan" but it is available on his website.

From the Baltimore Sun:

In Annapolis, Mr. Steele announced a 10-point election promise that included pledges to improve health care among minorities, introduce legislation to stop disparities in criminal-sentencing guidelines for blacks and to support increased aid to African and Caribbean countries.

What immediately strikes me about the plan is how much it resembles the Covenant with Black America. From directly addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis to talking up ending the racial disparities in criminal sentencing, the plan hits many of the important points.

Do I think Mike Steele is interested in actually implementing these plans? I really don't know. I do know that a Republican Majority in the Senate will never even discuss these issues in a way that could bring viable solutions.

But without Ben Cardin specifically making these issues his own, Steele looks great to Black voters who feel the Democratic party has ignored the issues that are important to their community.

I suggested a while back, before Mfume lost to Cardin, that whoever won the primary would have to embrace these issues to beat Mike Steele. Too bad Steele beat Democrats to the punch.

I am sorry for all of these negative posts, but it really does appear that Rep. Cardin is out of touch. While I do believe that Rep. Cardin will be a better vote for ALL the people of Maryland, he has not made this case to one of the largest Democratic voting blocs.

Appearances are going to matter, and the Steele campaign is not just tossing a few crumbs to Black voters. They are intelligently and enthusiastically courting the Black vote in ways that we should expect the Democratic party to be using.

But hey, lets just call Barak back.

UPDATE: Even worse, Steele has an article linked on the CWBA page. Maryland Democrats are living in some sort of vacuum to not have courted the CWBA earlier, or heck, at least read about it a little bit.


"Ironic and Unfortunate"

Yes, Mr. Mfume, it certainly is.

"It is ironic and unfortunate that the Democratic ticket for the four major positions in 2006 looks like the Democratic statewide ticket for the four major positions in 1956," Mfume said in this week's Afro American, his first public comments in weeks.

See the quote in context in this article.

I can't really say anything other than, I told you so.

Repeatedly, in fact. I said over and over again, that neither of the primary Candidates were safe bets. People said Mfume would lose to Steele easily, which I disputed. They said Cardin would easily beat Mike Steele, that the Black vote would not desert Cardin. I said repeatedly that Maryland Democrats needed to focus on the Black vote, which means ELECTING Blacks to the statewide ticket.

Yeah, yeah, Anthony Brown. Brown is great and I hope to have him as Lt. Governor. However, Brown's candidacy is the not the band-aid some in the local party seem to think it is.

The wound is much too large and the Democratic party in Maryland has played into the GOP narrative from the second they decided to ignore Mfume's candidacy. Worse, they ignored Mfume in favor of a white, unenthusiastic, policy wonk.


Craziness of course, but stated often over at DailyKOS (is it me, or has that place become a logic vacuum as of late?), where supposed "progressives" argued against Mfume, the much more progressive candidate. But back to the Rove issue. If Rove was so meticulous in picking Mike Steele, don't you think the Maryland Democratic party could have been a bit more, ummm, thoughtful about their choice (and they did choose, Cardin outraised Mfume by BUCKETS of PAC cash).

If the Maryland Democratic party didn't like Mfume for whatever reason, couldn't they easily have found another Black Senate candidate they could endorse? Perhaps Rep. Cardin wasted all of his persuasive power on the Democratic Party bigwigs.

Either way, it is, as Mr. Mfume says, "Ironic and Unfortunate" that the Maryland Democratic Party missed a chance to win back the confidence of it's most loyal voting bloc. While I still feel that the Black vote will be overwhelmingly Democratic, ending with a Democratic sweep in Maryland, we would do well to remember that the Lt. Governor will not be the last Black Republican candidate to run statewide in Maryland. Realizing the stakes, I should hope Democrats act and vote accordingly the next time around.