Get out the vote!

March 02, 1992

The Maryland primary tomorrow finds Republicans and well as Democrats embroiled in emotional, high-stakes battles for the presidential nomination of their parties.

Once considered a shoo-in, President Bush is now confronted by a challenge from right-wing TV commentator Pat Buchanan, whose ultra-conservative friends (at least some of them) would be content to see the GOP lose this year so they would have a straight shot at party control in 1996. Not for the first time, the GOP's future is at issue. Maryland Republicans owe it to themselves to register their opinions on this important issue by going to the polls tomorrow. November will be too late.

The direction of the Democratic Party is equally at issue. Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin wants to return the party to its New Deal roots. Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton wants to shift the party incrementally toward the middle, as does Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey. Former Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas proposes a dramatic reorientation of his party to make it more pro-business, on the theory that economic growth equals jobs. Then there is former California Gov. Jerry Brown, with his flat-tax ideas.

Without exception, these are stimulating contenders for the White House. They are also the only contenders. There is still a possibility of a late entry, perhaps by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, in the California and New Jersey primaries, but the political fraternity increasingly believes the choices on Maryland's ballot will be the only choices. So if Democratic voters have a preference, they should record it now or never.

Maryland's eight seats in the House of Representatives and one of its two seats in the Senate are also up for grabs. In the new 4th District, there is a free-for-all undominated by incumbents. Two redistricted incumbents are seeking their party's nod in the 1st District. All other districts have contests that cry out for voter participation.

With the eyes of the nation on Maryland, a pivotal state voting at a pivotal time with no particular links to any of the candidates, the usual one-third turnout will not be enough.

So when you hear the cry of "Get Out the Vote," that means you!

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