On the morning after, many no doubt feel relief that campaign 2018 is over. Well, here is breaking news: campaign 2020 just began.
But, before getting caught up in what’s ahead – there is plenty of time for that – we should reflect on what happen locally.
There is nothing more local than questions of land use and a coalition that chose to challenge the Talbot County Council decision making on this and other issues made a difference. Starting late, changing messages along the way, this group of citizens upended the Council and no doubt will continue to shape the thinking around issues impacting us all.
Many Talbot County citizens also found common cause in seeking to elect a new Member of Congress from Maryland’s first Congressional District. While a majority of voters in Talbot County embraced an impressive newcomer to politics, Jesse Colvin, this proved not to be his year. Still, the strength of his support here in Talbot County and the importance of his message around jobs, the environment, health care and his leadership style will not be forgotten. How our incumbent Congressman prevails in the House of Representatives now controlled by Democrats will be interesting to observe.
Truthfully, it will be a very different world for many in Washington. First, when a new Speaker comes to office from the party that had been in the minority, the change is enormous. Every chairmanship changes. The staffing of every committee changes. And, in many cases, those denied a voice because they were in the minority are now in charge…and, they remember!
While there appears to be little chance for significant legislative accomplishments with Republicans narrowly controlling the Senate and Democrats narrowly controlling the House, there will be an open season on hearings and investigations to shape a message by House leadership that will do nothing short of confound the Trump Administration. Like it or not, the focus will be on creating messages for the 2020 elections.
For this reason and numerous others, look for many members of the Administration to conclude their public service. When staying means constant and intense Congressional scrutiny, greater challenges to moving an agenda forward and a hard-fought reelection – assuming President Trump elects to run again – the option of leaving now will look attractive to many.
It should also be said that Talbot County voters turned out to support Governor Hogan’s bid for a second term – indeed, he carried this county with 78% of the votes cast. His determination to reach across the aisle and represent all citizens brought him the kind of broad-based support that many a candidate now and in the future should pay attention to.
Finally, thanks go out to all who voted. As one who has engaged in the political arena, I can tell you that any elected official should commit to representing all of her or his constituents, but when running for election, it’s the voter who counts. Those of us who exercise the precious right to vote can and do make a difference and by turning out, voters in Talbot County, Maryland and the nation sent important messages about their concerns and aspirations for the future.
Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.