August 27, 2018


What on Earth is Obama doing? (Ryan Cooper, August 27, 2018, The Week)

What's been most striking about this political re-entry is its profound worthlessness.

Exhibit A is the list of people he snubbed in his endorsements. He did not endorse Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York's 14th Congressional District, nor Democratic senators facing tough elections battles like Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), or Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). To be fair, his blessing might not be of that much use for those senators, and Ocasio-Cortez is safe in a deep-blue district.

But that is not true of Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP who is in a tight race for the Maryland governorship and whom Obama pointedly didn't endorse.

Down by 16 points in the latest poll this month, Jealous could badly use Obama's help. His Republican opponent, Larry Hogan, is popular. Jealous is betting on winning by stoking lefty enthusiasm with progressive policy and populist rhetoric about economic and social justice. As a result, he is facing near-mutiny from wealthy Maryland liberals, a great many of whom are in favor of social justice if and only if it does not deduct one single cent from their personal pocketbooks.

There's an argument to be made that this was a political miscalculation, and it's possible that Jealous could lose on that basis. But that argument was hashed out in the Maryland primary, and Jealous was the victor. The way the Democratic Party is advertised to work is that internal decisions about the party's political orientation will be decided in the primaries, and then all party factions will unite behind whoever wins.

What's more, Obama is enormously popular among wealthy liberals, and among the African-American voters of Maryland (which has the fourth-highest percentage of black residents of all states, just slightly behind Georgia). If anyone could swoop in and get Maryland Democrats to focus on the greater goal of ousting the Republican enemy, it is him. 

When you think Larry Hogan is the enemy, you aren't likely to get the UR.

Marylanders are more liberal than Gov. Hogan. But they like him anyway. (Robert McCartney, Emily Guskin, Rachel Chason, 6/6/18, Washington Post)

As Hogan prepares to run for reelection in November, the poll results highlight his success in retaining widespread support in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2 to 1.

Seventy-one percent approve of Hogan's overall job performance, tying his previous record and nine points higher than for any other Maryland governor since the late 1990s. He is unopposed in the June 26 primary and leads potential Democratic challengers by margins of between 10 and 24 percentage points.

"The support for Hogan really suggests that people are paying attention to what's happening on the ground and not just reverting to their partisan identification, at least at this point," said Michael J. Hanmer, research director of the University of Maryland's Center for American Politics and Citizenship, which conducted the poll with The Post.
The survey also finds that Hogan's efforts to keep his distance from President Trump have not hurt his standing with his Republican base. In fact, the governor's 97 percent approval rating among Maryland GOP voters far exceeds Trump's 75 percent mark for that group.

Hogan's strongest area of overall support is his handling of the economy, which Marylanders approve by a margin of nearly 3 to 1. The state gained more than 100,000 non-farm jobs during his first three years in office, aided by a robust national economy.

Posted by at August 27, 2018 4:10 PM