Despite some hypocrisy, Larry Hogan sets aside partisan differences in favor of national unity

By Megan Loock

Elm Staff Writer

President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede to President-elect Joe Biden has been met with an outpouring of support from many members of the Grand Old Party, according to CNN.

“Mr. Trump is [acting] with the help of nearly all of the national Republican leaders, who continue to show loyalty to the president at the expense of the nation,” The New York Times said. “It is a pathetic display of cowardice to stand aside and watch as a sitting president salts American soil.”

The GOP’s collective gripe over Biden’s win shows their unwillingness to return to the bipartisan state of governing that has been lost over the last four years. 

However, hope for this return is not lost.

“Congratulations to President-elect Biden. Everyone should want our president to succeed because we need our country to succeed. We have great challenges ahead of us as a country. Now more than ever, we need to come together as Americans,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan tweeted on Nov. 7.

Hogan was elected in 2015 with a significant 4.7% lead against Democratic nominee Anthony Brown. In the 2018 election, Hogan’s votes for reelection more than doubled the amount he’d received in 2015, with a whopping 11.9% lead against his Democratic opponent Ben Jealous, according to The New York Times election archive.  

According to a poll conducted by Goucher College, 82% of Marylanders approve of the way that Hogan has handled the COVID-19 pandemic as of Oct. 13.

Additionally, Hogan’s job approval is at 78% with an 8% boost as a result of his pandemic leadership, according to Fox45 Newson May 26. 

While these statistics show hard evidence that Hogan’s people-over-politics method is valued by his constituents, his recent actions during the 2020 presidential election disappointed both Republicans and Democrats, according to The Washington Post.

Some Republicans were disappointed with Hogan’s congratulatory tweet to President-elect Biden, calling him a RINO on twitter, which is an acronym for “Republican in name only” — meaning that while Hogan may be a member of the Grand Old Party, he is “more liberal than a Republican should be,” according to Urban Dictionary’s definition of the word. 

As of Nov. 9, Hogan is one of only four GOP leaders to publicly congratulate the Democrat-elect, according to The Hill, showing his dedication to bipartisanship amid a heavily divided political landscape. 

On Jul. 16, Hogan wrote a piece for The Washington Post in which he criticized Trump for not providing governors the assistance they needed to fight COVID-19.  Hogan claimed he had “nowhere else to turn” and was forced to rely on his wife, Yumi Hogan, who was born and raised in South Korea, to arrange for the purchase of 500,000 test kits from her home country to make testing more accessible in Maryland. 

Despite Hogan responsibly choosing to express his disapproval of Trump, his voting record shows more hypocrisy than real leadership. 

On Oct. 16, Hogan’s office confirmed to CBS News that he cast a write-in vote for late former President Ronald Reagan.

“I know it’s simply symbolic. It’s not going to change the outcome in my state. But I thought it was important to just cast a vote that showed the kind of person I’d like to see in office,” Hogan said in The Washington Post.

His rationale defeated the point his tweet congratulating Biden perhaps intended to make — erasing his attempt to set an example and to bring Republicans and Democrats together. 

By calling his write-in vote “symbolic” because it was not “going to change the outcome in [his] state,” Hogan surrendered to passivity, offending both Republicans and Democrats alike.   

According to The Washington Post, Hogan also cast a write-in for the 2016 presidential election, claiming that he could not bring himself to vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton. Instead, he wrote-in his father, Larry Hogan Sr.

“As he has said for many months, the governor is extremely disappointed in the candidates from both major parties and decided to write in the name of the person who taught him what it meant to hold public office with integrity, his father,” Hogan’s spokesman Douglass V. Mayer said in a statement.

Hogan’s choice to not align with either party is understandable, especially when considering the rationale that write-ins help him maintain his positive policy relationship with constituents. However, this choice could have a negative impact on Maryland voters’ opinions of him as he continues to progress his career beyond state-centric politics.

“Being at the center of controversy is a stark role reversal for Hogan, who since taking office in 2015 has cultivated an image as a ‘different’ kind of Republican that is more pragmatic, less ideological and unaligned with Trump,” CNN’s Michael Warren said.  

Squandering his public image will not carry Hogan to Congress, and certainly not to the White House. Voters want potential new leaders to cast their vote for the objectively better candidate. 

“In the real world, there are only two people who have a chance to get elected this year. By casting a superfluous write-in vote, the governor has wasted his chance to have a voice, and arguably he has abdicated an important responsibility of citizenship. He has also sent the message that the two actual candidates represent equally bad outcomes. They certainly do not,” John Ralph wrote to the Capital Gazette.

Hogan’s refusal to vote for a different party than his own, or even his affiliated party, shows that he is bold in tongue but not in action. However, his recognition of the results of the election shows his commitment to moving the Republican party back to a place where it can unify with its Democratic neighbors, which is nonetheless refreshing after four years of political division. 

Featured Photo caption: Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan pictured at a press conference for criminal fraud. Photo Courtesy of Flickr.

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