Last night’s primary contests had some highs and lows. [Check out John Nichols’s dispatches on the web and in the magazine to get a better sense of what we can take away from September 12th.] But there’s one victory in Maryland I’d like to single out for celebration. Last night, Jamie Raskin–Democratic candidate for Maryland’s State Senate–won a resounding primary victory in a tough race against a longtime incumbent. He is now virtually assured of winning in November.
Jamie–who ran a smart and creative race, with national support–is a professor of Constitutional Law at American University and a valued contributor to The Nation.
I believe there are four issues in this election year: The Constitution–DEFEND IT; The War –END IT; National Health Care –PASS IT ; Corporate Power–CURB IT. If you believe, as I do, that this nation faces these (and other) critical issues, and that we must confront them with intelligence, sanity, decency–and passion….then all of us won with Jamie’s win.
Jamie Raskin is far more than a defender of the Constitution. He breathes life into it–through his scholarly writings, through his activism, his numerous pieces in The Nation… and now by taking this next step into the electoral arena.
Here’s a good example of Jamie Raskin living the constitution. In March, he was the only professor of constitutional law to agree to testify against Maryland Republicans’ proposed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, After his testimony, one Republican State Senator told Jamie that maintaining marriage discrimination was purely a matter of following “biblical principles.” Jamie responded, in words that should be engraved in every courtroom, state legislature and in our very own congress…and in words that in this era criss-crossed the internet, “Senator, when you took your oath of office, you put your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn’t put your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.” The response in the hearing room was so raucous and enthusiastic that the chairman of the committee pounded his gavel and said, “this is not a football game.”
Sadly, our politics today too often do resemble a football game–though some day, thanks to Jamie’s pioneering work–I know we will count votes more fairly, and proportion our districts differently, more fairly, and have public financing of elections challenging what Jamie called in The Nation “the incumbentocracy.”