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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/29/18

Ben Jealous Is Ready to Make Maryland America's Laboratory of Democracy

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From The Nation

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The former NAACP head's big win in a key gubernatorial primary sets him up as a Democrat who can run and win with a bold progressive vision.


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Ben Jealous entered the race for governor of Maryland with a remarkable re'sume -- Rhodes scholar, investigative journalist, past president of the Rosenberg Foundation, founding director of Amnesty International's US Domestic Human Rights Program, youngest-ever national president of the NAACP, high-profile surrogate for the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. But what truly distinguished Jealous as a first-time candidate -- and made him a big winner in Tuesday's Democratic primary -- was his sharp focus on framing a progressive agenda for Maryland and the nation.

Recognizing that one state can serve as what then-US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis referred to in 1932 as a "laboratory of democracy," Jealous proposed to do in Maryland what is not being done in Donald Trump's Washington -- but what could be done in other states.

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"It is time for us to dream again. It is time for us to get back to making big dreams real again," said Jealous in a campaign where he emphasized the unique role that a state with progressive leadership can play to solve real problems within its borders and to inspire other states to act.

"We have a rare opportunity right now and hidden inside of it, an obligation," he declared. "We must bring people together across all lines, and make all forms of difference less important: whether it be race, class, region or religion."

Those coalitions, Jealous says, can "create a [single-payer Medicare for All] healthcare system that ensures residents are protected, regardless of what President Trump does in Washington," "end student debt and make it possible for every Marylander to attend community college, public university, or learn a trade for free," "institut[e] new policies statewide that more aggressively address police misconduct and prevent the killing of unarmed civilians," "[make] Maryland a welcoming state to refugees," and "[set] a deadline for 100% clean and renewable energy and provide 21st-century jobs for the Maryland economy."

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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