Go Green, Bal­ti­more

Two civic ac­tivists say it’s time for the city to ditch the Democrats

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Marvin "Doc" Cheatham and Glenn L. Ross, Bal­ti­more The writ­ers are a Bal­ti­more City Green Party mem­ber and a Green Party can­di­date for del­e­gate in the 45th Dis­trict.

On the heels of Mary­land’s pri­mary elec­tion, we are as­sert­ing our in­de­pen­dence from seven decades of sin­gle-party rule in Bal­ti­more City. As long­time civil rights and com­mu­nity lead­ers in East and West Bal­ti­more, we are call­ing on our neigh­bors to ques­tion whether our city has been well served by the Demo­cratic Party’s mo­nop­oly on power.

There are three im­por­tant rea­sons why en­trenched one-party rule is bad for Bal­ti­more.

First, the lack of ac­tive cam­paigns up and down the bal­lot af­ter the pri­mary de­presses turnout in the gen­eral elec­tion. Low turnout is how we end up with statewide politi­cians un­re­spon­sive to Bal­ti­more’s needs. The best way for our city to re­ceive the same at­ten­tion and re­sources as pur­ple swing coun­ties is to su­per­charge Bal­ti­more turnout with ex­cit­ing down-bal­lot del­e­gate races in the gen­eral elec­tion.

Sec­ond, a pri­mary-only cam­paign means a smaller seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion chooses the win­ners. Thenum­bers don’t lie. In 2014, for ex­am­ple, 14,000 more vot­ers par­tic­i­pated in the gen­eral than in the pri­mary in Dis­trict 45 — 81 per­cent of them Democrats. A com­pet­i­tive gen­eral elec­tion is needed to en­gage in­de­pen­dent vot­ers and the thou­sands who leave the del­e­gate line blank for lack of op­tions, lack of in­ter­est or other rea­sons. Roughly 80 per­cent of votes cast in the 45th Dis­trict dur­ing the pri­mary last month were for some­one other than Del. Tal­madge Branch, while 86 per­cent of votes went to any­one but Del. Frank Con­away Jr. in the 40th Dis­trict. A can­di­date re­ceiv­ing 6,000 votes in a pri­mary should not be a shoo-in to rep­re­sent a dis­trict of 100,000 peo­ple. With su­per­ma­jori­ties call­ing for change, we must turn our at­ten­tion to the gen­eral elec­tion to en­sure the vot­ers are given the op­por­tu­nity to seize it.

Third, an elec­tion sea­son that dis­si­pates af­ter the pri­mary serves to pro­tect es­tab­lish­ment politi­cians. These politi­cians have been in power for years and have not served our com­mu­ni­ties well. Just look around you. Are you sat­is­fied with the state Bal­ti­more is in?

For these three rea­sons, we are re­spond­ing to our com­mu­ni­ties’ call for change and have de­cided to join the Bal­ti­more City Green Party and call on our friends and neigh­bors across Bal­ti­more to put the needs of our city and our democ­racy be­fore ha­bit­ual loy­alty to the Demo­cratic Party that has been given but not re­turned.

As­sert your in­de­pen­dence and re­mem­ber Novem­ber!

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