Democrats in Maryland just nominated a political novice who endorsed Bernie Sanders and championed the Black Lives Matter movement to run against Larry Hogan, the most popular governor in America. Ben Jealous, the former President of the NAACP, defeated the Democrat establishment candidate Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker on a Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders-endorsed platform.
Jealous did the traditional Democrat victory lap Wednesday with what should have been a comfy appearance on MSNBC. But, it didn’t go so well for Jealous or, by extension, for the Democratic Party in Maryland.
Hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle served up a no-brainer softball for Jealous to hit out of the park in her first question to Jealous: “Ben congratulations on a big win. Already in the last fourteen hours you’re seeing Republicans sort of jump on your win and a similar win we saw in New York and say ‘the Democratic Party is cracking. They’ve lost their message and they’re going so far to the left and losing the middle. They’re screwed and it’s a gift to Republicans. What do you say to that?”
After blithering on and on about “ending mass incarceration” and solving the so-called “student debt crisis,” Veshi had to step in and say “it’s a fairly specific question, how do you respond to Republicans” charge that Democrats “aren’t going to win because you’re avoiding the middle?”
Again, Jealous wouldn’t directly answer the question.
Ruhle stepped in and that’s when things got testy:
Ruhle: “But by driving over the establishment, does that mean the establishment needs to go away? What is your thought of Nancy Pelosi sitting at the helm of your party?”
Jealous: [Long, excruciatingly awkward pause] Again…
Ruhle: You’re not answering our questions, Ben.
No, he wasn’t. Because he can’t.
It would have been so easy, but Jealous is too beholden to the extreme ideology of the far-left of his party that he can’t even give lip service to moderates in the state of Maryland. He couldn’t even pretend to appeal to the middle.
Meanwhile, Republican Hogan enjoys a 75% approval rating in deep blue Maryland by focusing on policies that matter to voters and have helped Maryland regain its economic footing after eight disastrous years of Martin O’Malley.
After voting in the closed primary on Tuesday, many registered Democrats — even in blue strongholds such as the D.C. suburbs and Baltimore — said they either planned to vote for Hogan in the general election or are strongly considering doing so. Their comments illustrate the steep path facing Jealous, a Bernie Sanders-style liberal campaigning on a progressive platform of universal health care, debt-free college and a $15 minimum wage.
It appears Ben Jealous is not just too extreme for Maryland voters, he’s even too extreme for MSNBC.
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