With the new inauguration of Governor of Maryland, Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., post-election day woes and questions have become high profile. Low voter turnout in the recent election has resulted in an unhappy public response to the actions taken by Governor Hogan. Governor Hogan’s unfavorable strategies are reflective in slashing budgets and reversal of existing policies using a purposefully “political” approach to state affairs.
A relatively accurate argument could be made that Governor Hogan’s actions can be placed along with the number of other politicians that no longer fulfill their promises. The consistent bickering between the two prime political parties and lack of opposing parties due to lobbying and power politics makes major change is unlikely to come – and if a change in policy is effectively agreed upon, it will be limited to non-effective in scope as with the case of Obamacare.
Before I begin on the rant of the “failed dreams” left by US politicians, I would like to point out the following: the actions of Governor Hogan cannot be considered anything but expected. Although Hogan attacked the administration of former governor Martin O’Malley-Brown as one that “has crushed the middle class with record tax increases that we don’t need, don’t want, and simply cannot afford”, his campaign made it clear that Hogan was not one familiar with the actual needs of the middle class. If one chose to “meet Larry“, it becomes clear that the now current Governor of Maryland hinged his campaign on his experience in politics. Upon further reading, it seems that the only connection Larry Hogan has made with the common middle class Marylander is that he has a family and is “fed up with policies as usual” as described on his Change Maryland website. Governor Hogan did not make clear any key action plan towards change in favor of middle class interests. Instead, the success of his campaign relied on “relating” to Marylanders through a common frustration with the status quo of Maryland politics.
Recognizing that Governor Hogan’s campaign was hardly convincing, one may ask, how did Governor Hogan get elected? With posing this question, we must now center attention on the Maryland voter. According to the Maryland State Board of Elections reports, a total of 1,655,375 of 3,701,834 registered voters (44.72% ) voted in the 2014 Gubernatorial election, as opposed to the 50.38% of 3,468,287 registered voters in 2010 recorded to have voted in the polling place, not to mention provisional or absentee voters.
Low voter turnout in the 2014 Maryland Gubernatorial elections is representative of the lack of public involvement in US politics on a national level. Without voter involvement, the disheartening reality is that
polls no longer reflect the public view and politicians no longer support individual needs of the general middle class society. To make matters worse, in many cases, those who do vote select a candidate based off of propaganda and media, not based off of the knowledge of what that candidate will provide to them.
What messages does that leave for our society? – don’t ask questions, don’t expect change, don’t hold your politicians accountable, there is no worth in educating yourself on politics. US citizens have made it a habit to vote only if there is a pressing reason to do so (such as in the Obama election) and have adopted a culture of complacency with current politics. In a system in which politicians will not necessarily act in the interest of the general public, the trend of low voter turnout and public ignorance of one’s role in government must be eliminated. No change will come if it is left in the hands of people who have the power to vote for change and choose not to do so.