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Senator Chris West  
After last week’s posting, I received a number of replies complaining that I had been too negative in my criticism of Mr. Cox.  I do regret that I may have offended some folks with my candor, but it seems to me that it is important to learn from your mistakes.  To put on blinders and ignore your mistakes is to risk repeating them.

So let me call for a show of hands: How many of my readers like to lose?  Please raise your hands higher because I can’t see them.  Okay, so not a lot of people just raised their hands.  None of us likes to lose.  In politics especially, losing is terrible.  All of those meetings, all of those lengthy arguments about policy and tactics, all of that money raised and spent, all of those campaign signs littering the landscape, all for nothing.  Because in politics a loss means it was all a big waste.  You have to sit around for four long years saddened by the fact that all of your time, organizing, money and effort produced nothing more than a big goose egg.

In Maryland this year, the Republican Party laid a big goose egg.  The Republican wipeout at the polls was the worst Party defeat in 36 years.  Mr. Cox ended up with just 32% of the vote, and he dragged the entire Republican ticket down to defeat with him.  We lost State Senate seats, House of Delegate seats, County Executive seats and down-ballot seats by the score.  The key takeaway for me was that we lost normally Republican suburbs.  If Maryland Republican candidates cannot win in the suburbs, the Party will be reduced to an organization that can only win in thinly populated rural areas and will be doomed to irrelevance in statewide politics.

Since the turn of the century, Republican candidates have won three out of six gubernatorial elections (Ehrlich in 2002, Hogan in 2014 and 2018).  So what happened this year?  Let’s focus on Donald Trump.

In 2016, Mr. Trump only won 36% of the vote in Maryland.  He lost the popular vote by over 700,000 votes.  (And please don’t argue that he only lost due to fraud – to lose by over 700,000 votes, the conspiracy would have had to have involved thousands of participants, all of whom kept their lips sealed and never spilled the beans.  If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge over the East River in New York City that I’d like to sell to you.)  Clearly Mr. Trump is deeply unpopular in Maryland.

Not to be deterred, two years later, in 2018, Maryland Republicans doubled down.  Only one Republican candidate became known for confronting and challenging Mr. Trump.  That was Governor Hogan.  He won his re-election comfortably.  But down-ballot, Republican candidates lost one race after another, and many of us barely squeaked through.  Not to be deterred, Republicans tripled down in 2020, when Mr. Trump led the Party’s ticket once again.  This time, he only received 32% of the vote in Maryland.  Another disaster for the Maryland Republican Party.  Not to be deterred, Maryland Republicans quadrupled down this year and nominated for Governor Mr. Cox, whose sole claim to fame was that he was “Trump endorsed”.  The voters rewarded him with the same percentage of the vote they gave to Mr. Trump two years ago - 32% of the vote. 

The common denominator of all of the GOP carnage in Maryland over the course of the past four election cycles has been Mr. Trump.  Clearly, an overwhelming percentage of Maryland voters detests Mr. Trump and bi-annually is taking it out on Republican candidates at the polls.

So let me once again ask, do you like to lose?  Last week, Mr. Trump announced that he is running for President yet again.  He expects Maryland Republicans to flock to the polls to vote to renominate him.  Do we want to follow him over the cliff a third time?  Albert Einstein is reputed to have said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Do you believe that if Mr. Trump is the Republican nominee for President in 2024, the results in Maryland will be any different than they were in 2016 or 2020?

To be quite blunt about it, if politics ultimately is about winning, not losing, Maryland Republicans would be crazy to keep placing their bets on Mr. Trump.  Betting on Mr. Trump in Maryland is a losing bet.

My next posting will focus on what the Maryland Republican Party should do re-invent itself and become a relevant political force in Maryland once again.

In the meantime, a happy Thanksgiving to all.


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Auth.: Friends of Chris West, Chris Scholtes, Treas.
Friends of Chris West · P. O. Box 144 · Riderwood, MD 21139 · USA