Typically in the ‘democratic process’ of elections, you have a couple, or a handful, of challengers for a political position, each offering different strengths, desires and platforms for their quest in seeking the votes of the constituency in which they plan to represent. However, despite the incumbents, challengers or personalities of the many different candidates we see each election season, most interest groups, organizations or otherwise have the same typical selection process in which they use to select their nominee for endorsement in that particular race.
Usually most groups either invite all the candidates to meet with either their full membership body or with the handful of leaders the body has elected to represent them during this process. Some have their top brass meeting with the candidates while others submit candidate questionnaires that ask specific questions related to the group’s interests in trying to get a sense of how that particular candidate would handle representing their constituency; ultimately selecting upon the greater of the many candidates based on their answers submitted.
However, yesterday Baltimore Mayoral candidates saw that process go awry as the usually somewhat respected group of ministers known as the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, or IMA for short, had absolutely no process in their selection of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Disregarding the hard work and support garnered by the other mayoral candidates such as Otis Rolley, Frank Conaway Sr., Jody Landers, Wilton Wilson and the very irate Senator Catherine Pugh; this group of ‘politically connected’ ministers pushed aside decades of tradition only to kowtow to the political pressures of the incumbent – in essence kissing the brass ring with little pride and absolutely no respect.
“I am profoundly disappointed that the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA) broke with a 50 year tradition of allowing all candidates for local, state and federal offices in Maryland the opportunity to be heard before making their endorsement,” said Mayoral candidate Catherine Pugh, who came to the endorsement press conference to challenge the ministers making this makeshift endorsement. “Of all the organizations we look to for guidance in the political process, I would have expected the IMA to ensure that they operated in decency and in order. Instead, the IMA succumbed to backroom deal making and questionable behavior.”
However, the question in today’s changing world of politics is first; how many voters, i.e. Baltimore residents, put too much stock in these groups’ endorsements? Also, the candidates really must question just how faithful the body of constituency being represented shall be to the obvious politically pursued head of the organizations or groups? Just like anything else, the leaders are constantly being patronized and bought off, in order for their ‘weight’ of endorsement to mean something to their following – yet as sure to be the case in this incident, many of the voting body will begin to see through the political B.S. and vote their direct interests when they step into the voting booths on Election Day.
Therefore, though the days of political clubs and endorsements once meant something beyond having to connect with the voters’ door-to-door, phone-to-phone and eyeball to eyeball; the current days of politics, since the advent of the internet and social media, along with a more politically savvy electorate – most candidates shall find themselves shut out if they base their elections on these worthless endorsements? Case in point, the current Baltimore Mayor has yet to debate the candidates in the race, and has yet to take the race serious enough to accept certain debates such as the one in late August with Fox45 and the ValueMyVote2011 campaign, while not even be seen in the communities at events or door knocking? Yet she has ran amuck trying to garner every political endorsement she possibly can, even from those who have absolutely no interest in Baltimore or its politics, such as County Executives from Howard, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties?
Therefore the question has to be why is the current Mayor running scared if she is secure in her work over the past 18-months, even forcing endorsements by people she cannot stand, such as City Council President Bernard ‘Jack’ Young – and other council colleagues she stripped of leadership as Council President like Helen Holton? If she was secure in her record she would be making that case at every possible debate, forum or community event, engaging the people who actually get you into the Mayor’s Office. However, maybe that slipped her mind, or she forgot, as she was not elected to her seat by the Baltimore electorate, rather handed the seat on a silver platter due to the City Charter and the conviction of the former Mayor, Sheila Ann Dixon?
“I’m disappointed with the recent announcement of the IMA’s endorsement,” said Mayoral candidate Jody Landers. “This is one of the most important elections in this city’s history. I’m very surprised that a decision was made last year at this time with no option to consider the experience and platforms of the current group of candidates.” This referencing the Pastor’s reasoning behind endorsing the Mayor without offering input from the other candidates. “Our board made this decision on July 1, 2010, after the Mayor took office and we saw she needed a helping hand in providing the adequate resources to the City, i.e. our parrishioners,” said a spokesperson for the IMA.
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