Late start this morning. Late start being before 7:30am.
A loyal reader replied to one of my posts earlier this week with a current status update on John Willis. The former Secretary of State and Glendening sycophant is strategizing the Brian Frosh campaign. And now I know this after I chose to support Frosh! Yiminy!
I find people like John Willis a necessary, albeit irritating, part of the political process. John's probably the best stats person in the state and numbers people are needed. It's important, in strategizing an election, to see a path of victory. A formula of turnout and raw vote count that gets you to fifty percent plus one.
Problem is, for me, it's never been about the numbers.
For me, the message is the thing. Because the message is how you bring people to your cause. The message is how you separate yourself from your competitors. The message is how you state your case that your set of skills, talents and experiences can bring the most good to the citizens of your district. And for me, math without message is a much bigger political problem for a campaign then message without math.
And that brings me to the current situation in Howard County, which is suggested by the recent fundraising reports.
We have known for some time that the local Republicans have chosen to not run County Council candidates in the 3rd and 4th districts. And their candidates for Council 2 and State Delegate and Senate in 13 are barely getting any financial support. Hell, Bob Flanagan's fundraising totals for Delegate in 9B are even abysmal, although I think in that district there is a thought that the district naturally leans Republican so money doesn't much matter. I think that thought is incredibly wrong but we'll see.
But the prospect of noncompetitive, or even interesting, elections in Columbia point to a strategy. A strategy to suppress voter turnout. A strategy to go for the 50 percent plus 1, regardless of the message.
Who are the beneficiaries? Looks like the local GOP have put their eggs in the Kittleman basket, with the hope that if there's a Republican tide, that maybe Kevin Schmidt and Bob Flanagan get pulled along.
That's all nice, and it's a legitimate political strategy, to suppress turnout in one area in order to achieve a bigger goal. In fact, that's what John Willis and crew did to me in 1998. Fail to support a moderate, pragmatic candidate in a Republican district, in order to suppress Republican votes and in so doing, enhance the chances for a Democratic incumbent. In this case, the aforementioned Parris Glendening.
I am glad that Democratic political strategy in Howard County and Maryland have grown beyond such political Neanderthalism. Because if it hadn't, the Maryland GOP would be much stronger. And I can think of at least two current Democratic nominees who possibly wouldn't even be Democrats today.
As to Republican political strategy-- well, the evidence speaks to itself. How can you, as a party, state a legitimate claim to the mantle of government in Howard County when you don't even compete in every corner of it?
In the end, I believe that politics is about more than fifty percent plus one. It's about fidelity of message, about answering the questions Mr. and Mrs. Howard County have when they talk around their dinner tables, or on the kids' ballfields, every evening. And to even have the right to compete for those votes-- that's not something to trifle with. That's something that demands serious care.
Yesterday was National Ghostbusters Day! How fitting.
Let's be careful out there.