Missing the Point – Time to say goodbye to Andy Harris

One of the reasons voter turnouts are poor, particularly for primary elections, is that too many people believe that their votes don’t count and that they don’t make any real difference.  For the most part, they’re right.  Generally speaking, but not this time.

As fate would have it, the Republicans who have control over the House of Representatives are lost in space.  With few exceptions, they have chosen to be mindless groupies of a false idol, a wannabe King of America, rather than have the courage and integrity to do their jobs and what’s best for the people who elected them.  The good news is that Republican control over the House is razor-thin.  Out of 435 total members, a change of less than a handful of Republicans to Democrats would return control over the House to the Democrats.

“So what?”

Well, the result – of returning control of the House to the Democrats – would mean the passing of substantive immigration law that the Republicans first demanded and then abandoned because Donald told them to.  And the passing of the bipartisan aid package for Ukraine and Israel that came out of the Senate, standing up to Putin and preserving our status as leader of the free world.  You know, minor stuff like those two examples.  And by “minor,” I’m being sarcastic of course.  “Profoundly essential to our national well-being” is more like it.

Not incidentally, Speaker Mike Johnson, single-handedly, refuses to put meaningful legislation on the floor for a vote unless he’s sure Republican right-wingers get absolutely everything they want.  For Johnson, who effectively works for Donald Trump, compromise isn’t really “a thing.”  And yet he’s second in line of succession to the Presidency, first in line to be Vice President should something happen to Biden.

It’s no secret that I believe our country needs Democrats to regain control of the House and keep The White House away from Donald Trump and from his chaos, thoughtlessness, outright stupidity, insanity, and authoritarianism.  But then even if you agree, what difference does it make for the impact of your vote in a progressive, predominantly Democratic state like Maryland?  It’s a reasonable question for you to be asking yourself.

Okay, follow my logic with respect to the House…  Maryland has eight Representatives in the House – all of them men, by the way – representing eight Congressional districts.  Seven of the eight are Democrats whose districts are all west of the Chesapeake Bay.  Three of those seven incumbents are leaving the House…  David Trone in District 6 is running for the Senate to replace Ben Cardin.  John Sarbanes in District 3 is leaving the House to pursue other endeavors.  Dutch Ruppersberger who currently represents District 2 is retiring.  Not to worry.  Their replacements will be Democrats.


But look at District 1 which is the entire eastern shore of Maryland, plus Harford and Cecil Counties and parts of Baltimore County, all of it represented by eight-term Congressman Andy Harris.  Harris is an ardent Trump supporter.  He was part of Trump’s failed plan to have then Vice President Pence ignore his Constitutional Duty to deliver the official electoral votes to Congress, thereby confirming a Biden victory.  Andy does whatever Donald Trump tells him to do.  Maybe Andy actually believes Donald’s lies and nonsensible concept of authoritarian democracy or just thinks being a Trump groupie has its political advantages.  Either way, it doesn’t make any difference.

What matters is that Andy Harris works for Donald Trump and not…  and not for the people of his District or, more generally, America.  Even if you take Trump out of the formula, Harris has been a generally inconsequential Representative.  What he may turn out to be, however, is the difference between a rightwing Republican majority in the House and a moderate Democratic majority with a more traditional work ethic and potential for sensible bipartisan legislation.

Most recently, in the 2022 general election, Harris won with 54.4% of the vote, beating Democrat Heather Mizeur who received 43.1%.  It was Andy’s lowest margin of victory since 2010.  Despite his incumbency, concerns about Trump and overall Republican behavior in Congress are such that he can be beaten.

“How’s that?”

1. For one thing, by doing what we can to encourage turnout among traditional Republican, Democratic, and independent voters. Do not take for granted that Andy Harris’ re-election is a foregone conclusion.  He wants you to believe that because it then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Because why vote if it won’t impact the outcome?

Note the following table…


Notice that 55%, more than half, of District 1 voters are Democrats or independents – and that turnout was only 53%.  The fact is, District 1 is not as Republican as many people assume.

Note…  The data in the table above are for the 2022 general election.  Voter turnout for contested Presidential election years is usually higher.

2. Through contributions to Harris’ opponents in the primary – forcing him to burn financial resources he might otherwise be saving for the general election.

3. By supporting the candidacy of a qualified Petition Candidate – a Heather Mizeur-like opponent running as an independent, but who will caucus with the Democrats. …Maybe  Mizeur will be willing to run again?  If you know how to reach her, please see that she gets a copy of this column.

4. By contributing to Harris’ opponent campaigns even if you are based outside District 1. You don’t have to live in District 1 to work against the re-election of Andy Harris.

5. Most importantly, you beat Andy Harris – in the general if not in the primary election – by telling the truth about what’s at stake and about who, exactly, Andy is relative to Donald Trump. District 1 Republicans are not MAGA Trumpies per se.  Some, no doubt, will vote for Donald Trump and Andy Harris no matter what.  But most are reasonable, intelligent voters whose selfish interests overlap with the concerns of other Marylanders and Americans in general.

6. Most importantly, if you’re a District 1, Eastern Shore Republican or other voter, you need to hold Andy Harris responsible for the mess that has taken over our House of Representatives in Washington. Ask yourselves, “What kind of Republican am I?  What kind of American?  Do I believe, really believe in bi-partisan democracy or not?”

One thing’s for sure.  As it goes in business, so it goes in politics…  If you don’t ask, the answer is “No.”