Maryland’s Republican Party held it’s Spring convention in Annapolis May 13 to rally the troops around Donald J. Trump, (or “John Miller,” depending on which persona Trump is presenting at the moment I suspect), the GOP’s presumptive nominee for President of the United States.
Party leaders from around the state choose delegates at large for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, but the unquestioned leader of the state’s GOP, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was not present. Unlike several high profile and low profile Republicans around the country who now seem willing to embrace Trump — some with great zeal and others begrudgingly — Hogan doesn’t seem to want anything to do with the billionaire.
“I’m not a Trump fan,” Hogan told the Associated Press back in March. “I don’t think he should be the nominee. At this point in time, I have no idea who the candidates are going to be or who I’m going to vote for,” he added. And in reference to the GOP Convention in Cleveland, his party’s state representatives were preparing for last weekend, Hogan said, “I don’t even want to be involved…It’s a mess. I hate the whole thing. I don’t think we have the best candidates in either party that are being put up. I don’t like the things that are going on, and I’m sick of talking about it, because it’s not anything I have anything to do with.”
Well….so much for Hogan playing coy with a possible Trump endorsement.
Hogan is the most popular Maryland governor since the late 1990’s, according to a Washington Post poll published in April. And according to a Morning Consult survey tracking gubernatorial approval numbers from January through May, Hogan is the most popular Republican governor in the country and he is only edged out of the overall top spot by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Democrat, 72 percent to 71 percent. Hogan’s popularity and his rather emphatic anti-Trump stance could make it difficult for Maryland Republicans to fully coalesce around perhaps the most polarizing and unpopular presidential candidate in American history.
“Do we have a split party right now, absolutely,” said Eugene Craig, third vice chair of the Maryland GOP. I was talking to him during an interview on First Edition May 16. And like Gov. Hogan, Craig is not ready to embrace “Trumpism,” at least not yet.
“It’s not just a changing of tone, there’s going to have to be some level of atonement,” Craig said. “This was the person at the forefront of the birther movement.”
Craig further lamented the potential ominous title, “President Trump,” and all that entails; all the xenophobia, racism, sexism and as President Obama recently said during his commencement address at Rutgers University, “anti-intellectualism.” And Craig pondered what a Trump presidency could mean for him and other Republicans of color, who have worked to make their party more inclusive. It’s a rather apocalyptic vision.
“We have a very, very diverse country, we have a very, very diverse Party,” Craig said.
“I can speak on behalf of hundreds of young Black and Latino Republican activists who have spent the last five, 10, 15, 20 years within the Party, building the Party being active players in developing what we want to be a viable Republican Party…looking at a potential of seeing all that work and effort wiped out in a matter of months.”
Whether or not Trump ultimately takes the chair in The Oval Office, the GOP as we know it may have already been irreparably torn asunder in the wake of his ignorant crusade.
Sean Yoes is a senior contributor for the AFRO and host and executive producer of First Edition, which airs Monday through Friday, 5-7 p.m. on WEAA 88.9.