Down With Tyranny: The California Democratic Convention Would Have Been Better Off Inviting Heather Mizeur To Speak

Many California Democrats experienced Martin O'Malley for the first time last week. He was a keynote speaker at the state's Democratic Party convention. He's trying to offer himself up as an alternative to Hillary Clinton. But the way he's governed Maryland belies the progressive image he tried so, so hard to portray when he's outside of Maryland. This weekend the machine boss may have fooled some credulous Democrartic Party delegates in Los Angeles, but no one was fooled back home. You may be aware that Blue America has endorsed an actual progressive, Heather Mizeur, seeking to succeed the termed-out O'Malley. The publicly-financed gubernatorial candidate, whose purely progressive stances run from marijuana legalization to a full “living” minimum wage of $16.70 an hour by 2022, is the only Democrat Blue America is currently backing for governor anywhere in the U.S.!

Two of O’Malley’s establishment guardians, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch, have been force-feeding a $400 million estate tax giveaway through the easily controlled legislature, where the Democrats hold a 35 to 12 seat majority in the Senate and a 98 to 43 majority in the House of Delegates, where Mizeur serves. O'Malley's two legislative lieutenants claim this will keep more millionaires from moving away during retirement, despite the fact that Maryland already has the most millionaires per capita in the nation. In reality, this is nothing more than election-year pandering to the state’s wealthiest three percent.

Right before the House easily passed the conservative legislation, Mizeur was the only legislator to stand up for the working and middle class, pointing out how the bill would take public funding from education and health care reform to pay for the handout. She then called on O’Malley to veto the legislation. But O’Malley was too busy running to the right of Hillary Clinton to give a straight answer. Same thing for his hand picked successor, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, who instead gave a vague talking point about the need for comprehensive tax reform.

But that’s not all. After years of waiting, O’Malley and Brown have finally taken up an increase in the minimum wage now that it will be fresh in voters’ minds. But after corporate interests were allied to rip out a provision to index the wage to inflation, it was Mizeur who stood up on the House floor to offer an amendment to put it back in place. How did the New Democrat-controlled House of Delegates-- much of which cosponsored the bill when it had the original indexing provision-- vote? They voted it down 124-8, claiming it would ruffle feathers in the Senate.

This is the stark difference that Maryland faces in its June gubernatorial election: protectors of the status quo versus a proud and principled progressive. Maryland could lead the way on the progress for which we have waited far too long. But Heather’s opponents are already putting up television ads with their corporate cash. For her to come out on top in June, she needs as many donors as possible-- no matter how small. Under the public finance system, she can accept contributions of up to $250 and each contribution will be matched by the state. Here's the place where you can help turn Maryland into a true progressive powerhouse.

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