Did Muse’s Campaign Exhaust his Political Capital?


C. Anthony Muse now returns his focus to his job as State Senator for District 26 at a critical time for him and his district. There’s the fight over a possible casino at Rosecroft Raceway, which lies in his district. However there’s also the question of where he now stands as a politician in the state.

Muse challenged incumbent U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin for his seat. A bold move that is to be commended no doubt. The audacity of running against a relatively popular senator takes guts. So in that vein, if you want to win, you have to run a bold campaign. That’s clearly what Muse’s goal was

However, Muse’s campaign may have crossed the line; a line that may have severely injured his political capital going forward.

From the beginning, Muse infused race into his campaign in the hopes that people

in Baltimore, where he grew up, and Prince George’s County, where he now calls home, would be galvanized by the possibility of a Black senator from Maryland.

That didn’t happen. Not from residents or politicians. His plan was in trouble before it even got off the ground. Bringing skin color into the race was doomed when President Obama, a much more popular African-American politician, endorsed his opponent.

It didn’t get any better for him as Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, another Black politician from a county where Black folks are the majority, not only endorsed Cardin, but spoke of how Cardin was there for him and the county from the moment he took office.

Just last week, Muse’s campaign released leaflets breaking down the race of current senators, in the process separating Jewish senators from White senators. Cardin happens to be Jewish.

Then came a spat with the Black clergy. When the Baltimore-based Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance endorsed Cardin, Muse’s supporters grew upset. A report in the Washington Post explained how people behind Muse’s campaign account tweeted a link to a blog written by Jamye Wooten, a Baltimore minister and activist, entitled “Baltimore Black Clergy Betray Community.”

“Let’s be clear,” Wooten writes. “You will not see any group of Jewish Rabbis holding a press conference or inviting African-American candidates to the synagogue for their endorsement when a Jewish candidate is their opponent.”

Muse, a minister and founder of Ark of Safety Christian Church is a well-respected member of the Black clergy. So I imagine that the endorsement was a major disappointment for his campaign. However, it’s quite possible that he’s undersold things Cardin has done for the Black clergy in Maryland.

It was Cardin, not any of the Black politicians representing Maryland in Congress, who garnered the help of the White House to hold a summit with the Collective Empowerment Group on job opportunities and economic development. I attended that forum and was impressed. I’m not saying that every member of the Black clergy in the state of Maryland should’ve thrown their support behind Cardin because of that one event, but don’t underestimate how heavily that might have weighed on Election Day.

Lastly, there’s the issue of same-sex marriage. As Gov. O’Malley threw his support behind the legislation, it began to pick up steam. Muse, is against the legislation.

He’s a minister; I understand why he’s against it and I don’t begrudge him for it. He used it to attack the governor, who he’d already accused of intimidating voters.

While other ministers supported the measure, Muse, perhaps in a move to galvanize Prince George’s residents who opposed a similar bill last year, openly questioned O’Malley on the issue and vowed to work to repeal it.

“I don’t understand why the Governor has seen fit to make gay marriage the priority of this legislative session [while] we have joblessness and foreclosure,” Muslim Link Paper reports that Muse said in a meeting with prominent Prince George’s Muslims.

Muse is still a powerful state senator who will probably have enough capital going forward to remain senator for his district for as long as he wants to. However, for a man that criticized the state’s party, the governor, congressmen, and the Black clergy, one wonders whether or not he has enough capital remaining to continue to serve the citizens of District 26 well.

Muse’s campaign, was bold and it was loud, but it was largely ineffective. Perhaps it’s time to go rebuild the bridges he may have burned.

 

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Did Muse's Campaign Exhaust his Political Capital?

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