When I woke up this morning, I was eager to hear the good news that Maryland elected its first African American governor, Anthony Brown. Today, I thought that I would be blogging about another example of new possibilities in America for black people. Instead, I was shocked and stunned by stories like this one from the Baltimore Sun:
Republican Larry Hogan's campaign to "Change Maryland" scored a stunning upset Tuesday as he defeated Democrat Anthony G. Brown in the race for governor..Unfortunately, Maryland missed the opportunity to make history. Brown's crushing defeat was probably the result of Obama fatigue and Martin O'Malley fatigue. If more African Americans voted, perhaps, Brown would have won. Who knows? If you did not vote, shame on you.
Hogan, 58, ran on a promise to curb state spending and cut taxes. He will become Maryland's second Republican governor in half a century, and will face a Democratic-controlled legislature that may not be willing to help him.
Brown conceded defeat shortly after midnight.
Hogan spokesman Adam Dubitsky acknowledged Maryland remains a Democratic stronghold but said voters wanted change.
"It's not a realignment. It's not turning a blue state red," Dubitsky said. "It's people who are tired of the last eight years."
Hogan, an Annapolis businessman, ran a comparatively shoe-string campaign against Brown, who spent more than four times Hogan in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one.
Brown, a retired Army colonel and Harvard-educated attorney, campaigned as the candidate to continue Gov. Martin O'Malley's policies on education and the environment. It was a platform that some Democrats said invigorated them, and others said made them vote for a different direction.
Democrats held two other statewide offices, with Comptroller Peter Franchot winning a third term and state Sen. Brian Frosh of Montgomery County succeeding Douglas F. Gansler as attorney general.
Brown piled up strong majorities in Baltimore city and the Washington suburbs but could not overcome a dismal showing in rural Maryland and suburban Baltimore. The lieutenant governor narrowly won the early voting, but Hogan swamped him with an Election Day surge.
The governor's race offered voters a sharp contrast between Hogan's laser focus on economic issues and Brown's broad pledge to create "a better Maryland for all Marylanders."
As Hogan relentlessly hammered on the need to cut taxes, Brown eventually pledged not to raise them.
Critics said Brown failed to offer a clear vision to voters, instead working to portray Hogan as a "dangerous" Republican who would seek to overturn Maryland's abortion rights and gun control laws.
Hogan repeatedly denied that. The Republican portrayed Maryland as a state in economic crisis, with businesses and individuals moving elsewhere because of high taxes and burdensome regulations. He promised to roll back what he called O'Malley's "40 consecutive tax increases," but offered no specifics on how he would pay for that.
Brown, meanwhile, told voters he'd work to close the gap between Maryland's most and least prosperous. As the signature issue of his campaign, Brown said he would gradually offer free pre-kindergarten to all Maryland 4-year-olds. Skeptics questioned whether he had a realistic plan to pay for it.
To console us, some will assert that we should celebrate historic African American victories in Utah and South Carolina. As reported in the Grio,
Utah’s Mia Love and South Carolina’s Tim Scott certainly had a lot to celebrate last night as the results came in. The two black Republicans made U.S. history with their election victories.Their victories are victories for them and their families. Their victories are not our victories. Similar to the appointment of Justice Clarence Thomas, their election is antithetical to the interests of black people. Their positions are diametrically opposed to our interests. Just like dummies, they say and do exactly what their white conservative masters tell them to say and do. So, no. There is no cause for celebration. They do not represent new possibilities. They represent the continuing American tradition of tokenism. They are pawns used against their own people.
Last election season, Love was only narrowly defeated by the incumbent, Democratic Rep. Jim Mattheson, by less than 800 votes — total. Despite her loss, she was an instant hit with the Republican party — she even gave a speech at the Republican National Convention! This time around, Love won a seat at the House, making her the first black Republican woman in Congress but also the first ever Haitian-American ever in Congress.
Scott was already in the Senate when he ran this year, but he hadn’t been elected. Governor Nikki Haley appointed him after Senator Jim DeMint resigned in November 2012, so this year’s race against Democratic challenger Joyce Dickerson was about finishing out the rest of DeMint’s six-year term. Scott will have to run for re-election in 2016 to earn a full six-year term himself. But he has already made history nonetheless — his win marks the first time an African-American has been elected in the South to the Senate since Reconstruction. The win also makes him the first ever African-American to serve in both the House and Senate.