Can't remember a year where we had so much at stake in the November elections. In addition to ballot measures in Maine, Washington, Minnesota and Maryland (North Carolina is in May), we have an excellent crop of openly LGBT candidates running for significant offices. The gem of course is Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin's race for the United States but also we have a good four to six important races for Congress. More will be required of the LGBT than any time in its history.
No one organization can handle all of it. Wisdom is knowing where you can be effective and where someone else can carry the banner more effectively. Freedom to Marry has accepted responsibility to be there in Washington, Maine, Minnesota and New Jersey. They also most likely will lay the groundwork in places like Illinois. Folks, that is a lot of work.
Other organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and The Task Force will also be putting major resources into these battles and others. In order to be effective, none of them can really handle every state in contention. The Victory Fund is already revved up to assist in the Baldwin race and other important races by open candidates.
As responsibilities are sorted out sometimes important targets fall through the cracks. This cannot happen in Maryland. Outside of North Carolina, which is next month, Maryland could be our toughest battle. Unlike Washington and Maine there is not a long history of working on referendums. Minnesota has a long and powerful legacy of organizational politics which also doesn't exist in Maryland. It would be understandably tempting to focus on the more accessible targets than one that is much tougher and shows less promise for victory.
That would be a mistake in the case of Maryland.
At this moment the polls show us running even and that historically that has not always been the best position for us. The polls also show that we currently are losing the African-American community. However, this is a Presidential election year and there will be a huge turnout of liberal voters, African-Americans and students. In 2008, President Obama took over 60% of the vote in Maryland.
Everything that happens in Maryland will be on Washington, DC television full time. Elected officials from around the country, decision-makers and media will get to witness first hand one of these awful campaigns of hate. Most of them have never seen it up close and personal. The LGBT community must have a major presence and show we support the governor and legislators who bravely voted for marriage equality. The risk of even the appearance of letting those brave individuals think they are a secondary target is significant.
With the President's help and assistance from the African-American leadership we have the opportunity to perhaps make major inroads with what has historically been our longtime allies in the African American Community. The citizens running the campaign to overturn marriage equality in Maryland are the President's enemies. A victory for us would be defeat for them. It is that simple.
Finally, we have the opportunity to deliver almost a 'knock-out punch' to our foes. If we can run strong in North Carolina and win in Maine, Minnesota, Washington and Maryland, our right wing opponents will be hard put to be taken seriously in the future. The politicians will see which way the wind is blowing and will either stay quiet or shift into full blown support. Let's go for that knock-out punch.
The LBGT community's organizations will be sorting through this in the next month or two. However, time is running short and we need to know how to support all of these efforts. Let's go for the golden ring!