Prince George’s Democratics Undercut Real Democracy with Slates
Anybody who has been reading my blog over the past year knows just how much I despise the Senatorial slates. In every district across Prince George’s County during the Democratic Primary last year, Senators chose to “anoint” their favored candidates down ballot. Our fine Senators put together “Official Ballots” mailed and passed out to voters, directing them to choose the Senators’ endorsed candidates for office. In many cases, little or no consideration was given regarding these candidates’ qualifications, platforms, experience, or record of service to the community.
The Official Ballots were proudly passed out by campaign volunteers out at the polls, who urged their fellow Democrats to choose their Senator’s “official” ballot of candidates when they went inside to vote. This tactic is often used in a General Election to help voters distinguish among Republican and Democratic candidates. However, in a Democratic stronghold such as Prince George’s County, where winning the Primary Election is tantamount to being elected to office, our Senators have decided that voters need to be told that there is an “official” ballot of candidates they need to vote for based on their Senator’s opinion, rather than asking constituents to do the research and determine their choice independently.
Why would Senators care so deeply about who wins races down ballot? Well, it’s simply a matter of control. Candidates who win are then not beholden to the voters, but to the Senators that helped them get elected. We end up with unqualified, inexperienced individuals who have no business representing us in Upper Marlboro or Annapolis. That’s part of the reason why we ended up with Delegate Tiffany Alston in office, who then (allegedly) made a very foolish decision to spend leftover campaign funds on her wedding. Some suspect Alston wasn’t really up to the responsibility of her elected office, but was solely elected based on her relationship to the Exum family (for those who don’t yet know, she married former District 7 Councilwoman Camille Exum’s Chief of Staff, and Camille’s dad, Nate Exum, supported Tiffany by putting her on his slate). In a field where there are many candidates looking to distinguish themselves from the field, it’s extremely helpful to be on a slate among other elected officials that voters may already trust and recognize. This often helps candidates like Tiffany get the extra lift they need to win.
This also hints at the real reason why District 8 Candidate Jerry Mathis was frustrated and attempted to put out his own “official” ballot. While I don’t justify how he did it (using an unregistered group who wasn’t authorized to print and distribute campaign materials), I certainly understand why he did it. I worked at two different District 9 polls on election day, and anyone who received literature from candidates who weren’t on the 27A Legislative Team’s Official Ballot were quickly scuttled aside by campaign volunteers from the 27A team, to let voters know that these other candidates were not on the “Official Ballot.” When Michael Jackson’s volunteers passed out an alternative “Official Ballot,” things got really ugly as campaign volunteers yelled out to potential voters that the Jackson “Official Ballot” was deceptive, or a flat-out lie. Is this really how Democrats want to influence democracy in the County?
In case you didn’t already know, here’s the formula you need to win office elected office in Prince George’s County,:
- Pucker up your own Senator to get their endorsement. That way you don’t have waste time raising money or spending your own money to run your campaign, because your Senator will help you and get their friends to write big checks to you.
- This Senator then helps you get key endorsements from SEIU, Teachers, and Public Safety unions.
- Send out 4-6 flyers with your smiling face, a picture of your family, key buzzwords, & list of endorsements
- Attend a few community picnics, shake hands, and appear concerned and engaged
- Get your face on the Official Ballot, mailed multiple times to all registered Democrats & distributed at polls
- Get elected, stay put, fly under the radar, and wait your turn to rise to the next higher office, as a professional politician
It seems that this is the way it has always been in Prince George’s County, but you as voters are empowered to change that in the future. You need to decide how important it is to elect honest, concerned, and caring representatives who are connected to you, instead of those who are just politically connected, union-backed, and bought and paid for by these groups. You also need to realize that it’s important to vote, period. When only 20% or less of you show up to the polls to vote, I’m not sure we’re deserving of representation at all, or maybe in the end, we really just end up getting what we deserve. You’ve already seen how that turns out.