Ben Jealous Wins the Democratic Primary
By Robert Velazquez
Ben Jealous has won the primary battle but he has not yet won the war. The former CEO and President of the NAACP is deeply entrenched in the progressive ideals that made the Bernie Sanders campaign so successful. His opponent, Governor Larry Hogan, is enjoying a 75% approval rating with both democratic and republican support represented in that figure. Hogan released his own video “Introducing Ben Jealous” to the average Maryland voter. The video shows Jealous in the light of a “Tax Crazy” candidate hell bent on idealistic policy reform. Hogan may be right, but Jealous puts his knowledge and experience where his mouth is.
Jealous’ healthcare proposal, “State-based Medicare for All”, has been shown to fail in the state of Vermont. When pressed about this on an NPR interview, Jealous points out the fact that Maryland has almost 10 times the population than that of Vermont and a much stronger economy by comparison. He goes on to argue that state’s rights often lead the way to national policies and he seems eager to have Maryland pave the way.
Jealous goes even further to say that he is not only willing to take on health care but also taking on education reform, ending mass incarceration, a $15 minimum wage and ending the student debt crisis. If this sounds a bit like he is biting off more than he can chew, he urges voters to look to his accomplishments as NAACP president, where he was able to lead an effort to abolish the death penalty in Maryland; helping pass marriage equality, chairing the effort to pass the DREAM act and expanding voting rights.
Jealous does not seem to care for the idea that these are democrat issues. In his eyes, they are human issues that affect all Marylanders. He’s not running to the left or to the right but towards the people of Maryland.
With endorsements from former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kamala Harris (all potential presidential contenders for 2020) and even comedian Dave Chappelle; Jealous is shaking the foundation of the Maryland gubernatorial race.
Though they are not the same, the New York congressional primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shows promise of a progressive wave overtaking comfortable incumbents. Many political analysts have argued that she’s the right candidate for her district and not a sign of political tides changing. Alternatively, Connor Lamb, a democrat from of Pennsylvania’s 18th district won his race on a moderate democratic platform. Whatever his approach, the Jealous campaign has a potentially large impact on presidential campaign strategies in 2020.
The real question is whether a Jealous administration would be the right fit for the people of Maryland or will his moderate republican opponent prevail? If we are to take his words to heart, “I have the vision, the plans, the experience and unlike Hogan, the courage to risk my own political standing for progress.” The man means business and it’s going to be a hell of a race to watch.
Photo Credit to Gage Skidmore