Maryland’s Democratic Party…and Race

By Charlene Mayo

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There are various ways the Democratic Party is making its case to the two million Democrats in Maryland, over half of them being black.

First, the Maryland Democratic Party and Anthony Brown, its candidate for governor, are playing the race card.

The party recently sent out a mailer with “It’s Been A Long Journey…” hovering over a picture of the famous civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other marchers holding signs saying, “WE DEMAND DECENT HOUSING NOW!” and “WE DEMAND… DECENT PAY!”  Inside, it depicts signs saying, “COLORED Waiting Room” and “MUST SHOW ID TO VOTE” and other racial pictures that would make a black person rehash all the negative things whites have done to blacks throughout history. The header of these pages reads, “They’ve placed roadblocks in our path at every turn”– insinuating that the Republicans are prejudiced and are trying to block the Democratic strategy. The Democrats say their policies are what will help blacks and other minority groups.

Larry S. Gibson, a law professor at the University of Maryland and an ardent party supporter, says this is unnecessary because the Republican agenda alone is enough to show blacks that they should keep Democrats in office.

“The Republicans are making our case for us,” Gibson, the author of Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice, said in an interview. As he sees it, Republicans care nothing for blacks because they want to take away rights and add roadblocks that would make life harder for blacks. The Democrats do not believe that Marylanders should have to show ID when going to vote, he said, while the Republicans do. Gibson said that is voter suppression, and the Democrats are against that.

“The Democrats want to preserve the right to vote, while the Republicans are trying to make it difficult for people to vote,” Gibson said.

Putting emphasis on the fact that black voters can make history by voting for the first black governor of Maryland is another tactic used by the Democrats to appeal to black voters. The center of the party’s brochure says: “Vote for Anthony Brown as Maryland’s first African-American Governor.”

During the last gubernatorial debate, Brown was asked if race mattered in the election. Not giving a clear yea or nay, he said that history can be made on November 4th if he is elected. Brown told voters that his father, who was a Jamaican immigrant, worked his way up in corporate America. Now, Brown says, he wants to make his father proud by winning the election and making history for the African-American community. Both the Republicans and the Democrats do and say things to appeal and win over different groups throughout Maryland. The Republicans try to appeal to the rural areas of Maryland, because the majority of Republicans reside in those areas and are white. The majority of Democrats in Maryland live in the urban areas of Maryland, whose population are made up of mostly African-American people. So the Democrats have to appeal to the people who support their group the most, and they are black people.

Although some people say the schemes used by the Democratic Party are unethical and negative, it hasn’t stopped them from using the race card. It is not clear whether that propaganda used by the Democrats is enough to pull them through and take the win.