The idea that Larry Hogan’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate represents a threat to democracy may seem an outrageous charge against a popular, moderate Republican who governed our state well for two terms. It is also an odd statement coming from a former Republican who felt very much at home with the traditional conservative governance that Larry Hogan offered. I voted for him and admire him. He’s a solid citizen.

The problem arises as he moves from the Maryland stage to the national stage, as he leaves the role of chief executive and becomes a cog in the larger Republican political machine. He is campaigning as “Hogan for Maryland,” but if he is elected as a Republican senator from Maryland, he will join the Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate. His mere presence will move that caucus one seat closer to control. His common sense and commitment to good government, although a breath of fresh air in that dysfunctional group, would empower them nonetheless.

The national Republican Party of today, the party of Donald Trump, offers no program of sound policy or responsible governance. It offers only isolationism, gridlock and the promise of an ultra-conservative judiciary. A vote for Hogan will be a vote for all those things, no matter how he chooses to cast his own vote. If he were running as an unaffiliated independent or pledged not to caucus with the Republicans, he might stake out a reasonable middle ground in the Senate as he did in Maryland. As it is, a vote for Hogan will be a vote for the crazies in the national Republican Party. That is the unfortunate truth and the essential fact to consider in the voting booth on election day.

John Walsh, Catonsville

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