It’s a safe bet that come Tuesday night, Maryland and its 10 electoral votes will be found to have gone to Hillary Clinton, the Democrat, in the 2016 presidential election. Despite electing a Republican governor two years ago, our state is still reliably blue.
So much so that Republicans in Cecil and Harford counties to Baltimore’s northeast have in the last several weeks been crossing the border into neighboring Pennsylvania to do battle on behalf of party standard-bearer Donald Trump in the must-win swing state. Statewide, Trump partisans have even been directing their money to efforts outside of Maryland, in essence effecting a strategic retreat from the Free State in favor of a right flanking maneuver in the Keystone State.
As you’ll read in this week’s JT, Democrats here, long loyal foot-soldiers farther up the I-95 corridor, have been answering the charge with convoys of Hillary Clinton canvassers from Maryland appearing — including a dozen Baltimore-based Jews United for Justice volunteers — in Lancaster County to the north and across the ring of voter-rich suburbs surrounding the Democratic stronghold of Pennsylvania.
“No one wants to sit in our safely ‘blue’ Maryland when Trump victories in our neighbor states could plunge us into a ‘Trumpian’ dystopia,” said Claire Landers, a member of JUFJ. “Their fear, I think, is literally driving them to do something that might make a difference in a scarily close race.”
It’s not just the foot soldiers who have been making the trek. Last week and into the weekend, high-profile Clinton surrogates from the Jewish community popped up in Pennsylvania, with Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin appearing in Philadelphia and Alan Gross, the Washington-based contractor who spent five years in a Cuban prison, appearing in Pittsburgh.
Such migrations of politically motivated diehards in the moments leading up to Election Day are a good thing. Democracy requires an engaged and energetic public, and if these armies of Republicans and Democrats are required to get Pennsylvanians to the polls, so be it. Where it should stop is Election Day itself.
According to USA Today, just more than half of Americans are concerned the election may be rigged, which reasonable people know is not possible. The sheer size of the conspiracy that would be required to improperly swing this election is impossibly large. But voter intimidation, on the other hand, is a real thing. It’s prohibited by federal law, and yet, in every election we hear cases of voters being prevented from entering polling places by either “concerned citizens” demanding identification or militant gang members making voters fearful for their safety.
Might voter intimidation also exist when busloads of people who are not poll watchers show up unannounced under the pretense of “monitoring” democracy in action.
This is the last week of campaigning. Come Tuesday, maybe we should let the election take its course … by casting a ballot and going home.