In Annapolis, progressive groups want to fight the Democratic establishment

In Annapolis, progressive groups want to fight the Democratic establishment

April 29, 2017: Josh Hicks and Ovetta Wiggins: The Star Democrat 

ANNAPOLIS (WPNS) — Maryland progressives are ready to declare war on some members of the Democratic establishment after the defeat of two controversial bills during the legislative session in Annapolis and a bitter battle over whether to revive cash bail for poor defendants.

Left-leaning advocacy groups say they are planning to hold centrist Democrats who disappointed them accountable, with some activists — and at least one lawmaker — talking about trying to unseat longtime incumbents.

Although Democrats won victories on many fronts this year, including paid sick leave, a fracking ban and limits on state funds for charter schools and voucher programs, they failed to pass major bills aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants and ensuring racially diverse business ownership in the state’s nascent medical marijuana industry.

Additionally, advocates and members of the powerful Legislative Black Caucus say they felt betrayed by top Democrats who pushed — unsuccessfully — to revive the state’s bail program after Maryland’s highest court instructed judges not to set bonds that are too high for poor defendants to pay.

Larry Stafford, executive director of Progressive Maryland, said those issues loom large ahead of the 2018 elections, when Democrats hope to unite in opposition to President Trump and defeat popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

“The leadership of the party has fallen out of touch with the rank and file, particularly the minorities and progressives who make up the base of the party,” Stafford said. “People are angry at Trump, but also at Democrats for not stepping up to the plate.”

Several lawmakers have voiced similar frustration, including Del. Cheryl D. Glenn, D-Baltimore, who chairs the Black Caucus, and Del. Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk, D-Prince George’s, an outspoken member of the Latino Caucus who has called for voters to oust a senior Democratic senator in next year’s primary.  Read More

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