By Michael R. Shannon
Maryland Democrats are hoping that allowing 44,000 ex–cons to vote in the next statewide election will accomplish what cancer failed to do: Get rid of Republican Governor Larry Hogan.
As far as they're concerned Hogan broke bad long before he was diagnosed with late stage 3 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in June of 2015. Since this is an aggressive form of cancer, the Skyler White strategy looked quite viable for a time and legislators prepared to wait for what they assumed would be the inevitable.
A sentiment Hogan didn't share. A combination of his iron will, prayer, doctors at Georgetown University Medical Center and 18 weeks of intensive chemotherapy has rendered Hogan 100 percent cancer free.
Even worse for the opposition, Hogan's public fight against the disease and his refusal to let chemo prevent him from keeping his campaign promises has made politically bulletproof in this uniformly Democrat–registered state.
A Goucher College survey that came out just last week shows his popularity is increasing despite of Democrat efforts to paint him as the Maryland Obama: Divisive, confrontational, arrogant and dismissive of the legislative branch. The only thing they haven't accused him of is playing golf.
Hogan's job approval has increased from 58 percent in October to 63 percent now.
It's no surprise Republicans love him — 86 percent approval rating — which is expected, but half of Democrats surveyed also approve of his performance in office.
So for the legislature it's now time for Plan V: Restore the Violator Vote.
Supporters of the plan like to talk about how these individuals have "paid their debt to society," only in this instance these 44,000 are still making payments in the form of probation or parole. This is like allowing a layaway customer to take possession of the Xbox before he's made the last payment.
Come to think of it, some of these future Democrat votes may be on probation or parole because they took the Xbox without making any payments.
Hogan originally vetoed the bill because he harbors quaint notions about the need for consequences to follow when someone breaks the law. He felt that no one put a gun to the criminal's head and made them take up a life of crime. On the contrary the people with the guns to their heads were the law–abiding. Forfeiting the right to vote until they paid their entire debt to society was only right and proper.
Democrats saw a block vote coming their way in November and disagreed. They were so committed to erasing this so–called injustice they overrode Hogan's veto. Still the inclusion of some rights and the exclusion of others by the Democrats almost forces one to conclude they are cynically exploiting this overwhelmingly minority voting block for purely political reasons.
If, as the Democrats say, these individuals are ready to assume their place in society as reformed men and women, why doesn't the legislature also restore their Second Amendment rights?
It's strange that a political party that has embraced a philosophy that avoids finality — except in the case of capital punishment for the unborn — would also have this fixation on permanently banning former felons from owning firearms. Don't prison rehabilitation programs work?
Is the Constitutional right to vote absolute, but the Constitutional right to bear arms conditional?
I think the real reason Democrats don't include the 2nd Amendment in right restoration is another instance of hypocritical self–interest. Democrat members of the legislature assume, with good reason, that former felons in the voting booth can only hurt Republicans.
While a rapist with a restored right to be in possession of a roscoe might not be concerned with asking one's political affiliation before he opens up.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at mandate.mmpr (at) gmail.com. He is also the author of Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!).