By Larry S. Gibson

It is outrageous that Gov. Larry Hogan has not spoken out against the race-baiting commercials being run by the Republican Governor’s Association which are directed at Ben Jealous in Maryland and Stacey Abrams, the African American candidate for governor in Georgia.

In Maryland, we Democrats, who outnumber Republicans two to one, will determine whether Democrat Ben Jealous or Larry Hogan will be elected governor.  I occasionally hear a Democrat ask why it matters, since Hogan is likable and “not that bad.”

The issue isn’t whether we find Larry Hogan likeable. He seems pleasant, and Marylanders were understandably sympathetic and supportive during his health struggles. But the fact remains that Hogan believes in and supports the right-wing Republican philosophy and agenda that most Marylanders reject.

Larry S. Gibson

Hogan has been passive, and often supportive, as Donald Trump’s policies have damaged our state. And make no mistake: Trump has hurt Maryland. Trump’s immigration policies have harmed our agricultural and sea food processing industries (as well as our sense of decency).  His budgets have threatened aerospace programs at Goddard Space Flight Center, caused deep cuts to EPA programs that protect the Chesapeake Bay, reduced grants for redevelopment and low-income housing in Baltimore, compromised our health care and harmed our schools. Trump’s trade policies are hurting Maryland farmers and manufacturers.

Hogan’s Republican party has worked hard to pass trillion-dollar tax cuts for the wealthy, while cutting support for education, health, housing, environmental protection and other programs important to the people of Maryland.

Has Larry Hogan been challenging his party on these issues?  No. Has he been a strong advocate for this state, as its governor should be?  No.  Hogan has embraced his Republican Party, while occasionally offering a few words of mild objection from time to time.

Larry Hogan may seem mild, compared to the extremists of his party, but mildness is not enough.  Maryland needs a fighter.

That is why we need a Democratic governor.  Maryland needs a leader who will forcefully resist the harm that Trump and the Republicans are doing to our state. We need a governor who will build on our state’s innovative character and who will fight for the rights of all its people..

That’s why I support Democrat Ben Jealous for governor. After more than fifty years in politics, I know a leader when I see one. Ben Jealous is a leader in the best Democratic Party tradition.  He is not that “angry black man” extremist portrayed by the images in the ads by the Republican Governor’s Association.

But there is good news. Democrats in Maryland have the numerical power to reject the politics of Trump and his party, by electing a Democrat as governor. The best way to say “no” to Trumpism is to vote it out of office.

Larry S. Gibson is a University of Maryland law professor, internationally recognized political strategist and author of the book, Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice.