By AFRO Staff

It is a well worn refrain heard during almost every election cycle: `This is the most consequential election of our lifetime.’ But, this time we side with former President Barack Obama, who made the claim during a Democratic rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 22, when he said this election is, “more important than any in my lifetime.” Indeed, this is perhaps the most important midterm election in U.S. history, because it can serve as a desperately needed check on a president who seems to grow more erratic and potentially dangerous each day. Donald John Trump has already told more than 5,000 lies in under two years in office according to the Washington Post. And in recent days although it may seem implausible, the Trump lies have been coming even more fast and furious; from totally made up claims that there are “Middle Eastern” people in the midst of a caravan of mostly Hondurans fleeing persecution and violence en route to the United States, to Trump’s absurd claim that Democrats will “buy cars for illegal immigrants,” to the lie that billionaire George Soros is funding the Central American exodus to the United States.

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous. (AP Photo)

Record early voting turnout in states like Texas, Georgia and Florida, in which three of the most hotly contested races are for U.S. Senate (O’Rourke v. Cruz), governor (Abrams v. Kemp) and governor (Gillum v. DeSantis), respectively, may indicate enthusiasm is high amongst Republicans and Democrats. The message for this midterm could not be more simple, it transcends all policy debates; vote.

Ben Jealous For Governor

Ben Jealous began his career in journalism as a reporter for the legendary Black newspaper, the Jackson Advocate. He later became the Advocate’s managing editor, a newspaper located in Jackson, Miss., that had literally been firebombed dozens of times by White supremacists who wanted to quell its voice forever. Jealous moved on to become the director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), an organization that presides over about 200 Black newspapers around the country and promotes the advocacy mission of the Black Press.

In 2008, at age 35, Jealous became the youngest president of the NAACP (after a ferocious battle for that position) taking the chair formerly occupied by Kweisi Mfume. During his time at the NAACP, Jealous championed voter registration, among a myriad of other issues, which resulted in the registration of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The unifying theme that has run through several chapters in Jealous’ journey is fierce advocacy for disenfranchised communities. In Trump’s America, Brown babies are locked in cages, Black athletes are demonized for peacefully protesting police brutality, women who allege sexual abuse are cast aside and called liars and more than a million transgender Americans face the possibility that the term “transgender” could be defined out of existence.

If there has ever been a time when American governance needs leaders who will champion the cause of disenfranchised people, not just on the national level, but throughout every region of this nation, that time is now. Jealous is that kind of leader.

We acknowledge the popularity of Gov. Larry Hogan throughout the state, including huge swaths of the Black community. Hogan claims he has invested more money in Baltimore City than his Democratic predecessor Martin O’Malley. Hogan also says under his administration there has been more money invested in Baltimore City Public Schools than during O’Malley’s reign. But, Hogan’s detractors would argue blight and violence have seemingly thrived unabated in Baltimore and many of the city’s school children don’t have sufficient heat in the winter, no air conditioning in the summer and still can’t drink from lead contaminated water fountains. Hogan also seems willing to be content with kicking the can down the road regarding the still unresolved HBCU lawsuit against the State of Maryland.

Jealous has run far from a flawless campaign in attempting to articulate his progressive vision for Maryland; on the contrary his many gaffes (including the dropping of an F-bomb on the campaign trail) have been unsettling.

However, Jealous’ progressive policy prescriptions are needed across much of the state, not just in Baltimore City. There are many rural areas in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, where lack of affordable healthcare and the exploding opioid crisis are wreaking havoc throughout many Maryland communities, which are Hogan strongholds.

Maryland needs strong progressive leadership, along with the rest of the country in this time of national emergency with an increasingly lawless president occupying the White House.

The AFRO endorses Ben Jealous for governor of Maryland.