Is the Republican Party Donald Trump’s — or Larry Hogan’s?

Aug 04, 2018 · 320 comments
Dochoch (Murphysboro, Illinois)
No, Gov. Hogan, "the people" DID NOT "overwhelmingly elected him as president;" the popular vote went to Mrs. Clinton "65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%), according to revised and certified final election results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia" (reported CNN). While you may be popular in Maryland, your words here reveal someone who is trying to have it two ways: pussy-footing with anything emanating from Trump's mouth while opposing any resistance to his efforts to dismantle much of what is precious about our country. Last I looked, Governor, Maryland is still very much a part of the United States, so whatever Trump has been doing, he has been doing it to you and your constituents, too. As Maryland has long been proud of its tradition of religious liberty, how does that square with your non-criticism of Trump's canoodling with religious extremists? Think non of that is happening in your state as well?
Memphrie et Moi (Twixt Gog and Magog)
I can never remember if it is Graydon Carter or Carter Graydon who is responsible for Donald Trump. In any case it is all Canada's fault. Mr Carter call Trump a short fingered vulgarian and that tells the real story. Mr Carter grew up in Canada at the same time as I did and I imagine was taught the same values and ethics as those in English speaking Canada. I never know how to speak to Americans about Protestant ethics and values and I wonder if Americans ever wonder of the conservative values William F. Buckley Jr's grandfather brought from Canada. High School taught me one thing about most desirable to least desirable governance. The best form of governance was deemed to be enlightened benevolent dictatorship and the worst form of governance was unenlightened , malevolent dictatorship. Democracy whether liberal, constitutional or some other degree of democratic was always too subject to change to be truly good or bad. If you read Chrystia Freeland's book sale of the century about democracy under Yeltsin 20 years ago you discover that it was GOP policy that won out over democracy two decades ago. La plus ca change
Helen (Maryland)
I'm a left leaning Independent from Maryland. Larry Hogan is the best governor we've had in decades. I predict his landslide victory in November. Ben Jealous is too far left for most Maryland voters who, while ate majority registered as Democrats, prefer moderates of either national party. Larry Hogan has my support and will get my vote this fall.
Memphrie et Moi (Twixt Gog and Magog)
I am a Jewish Montrealer Quebecer and Canadian The values and ethics of The Protestant Board of Education of Montreal were foreign to the son of Jewish Democratic Socialist (The emphasis on Democratic and a conservative modern Orthodox mother). We learned that the best form of government was benevolent enlightened dictatorship. I imagine for Americans of similar background and my age 70, benevolent enlightened dictatorship is not only undesirable it is unAmerican. The lack of understanding of educated middle-class Americans that the desire for benevolent dictators is common and can lead to malevolent and ignorant governance and the desire can lead to the birth of parties like to today's GOP where the Civil Rights Act of 1964 went from Buckley to Nixon to Reagan and now to Trump. How sad is it that the one thing the Buckley's took from Canada when they left is the desire for a benevolent dictator?
Galen Palmer (Baltimore, MD)
Let's not write Hogan's hagiography yet. Here in Baltimore we remember that he (like a low-rent Christie and ARC) killed the Red Line, the last possibility of East-West mass transit in this city, for a generation. We remember his dog whistle to rural and suburban voters when he carved the entire city of Baltimore out of his infrastructure planning map and dumped it in the Chesapeake Bay. We remember that prior to being governor he's mostly known as a land developer infamous for turning farmland into McMansions. I'm glad he survived his cancer but that doesn't change his score as a politician: standard, milquetoast, short-sighted Republican.
Doug Terry (Maryland, Washington DC metro)
Hogan is making some good moves for residents of Maryland without a lot of noise. He lowered tolls on highways where they are imposed (another form of taxes, by the way). When do governments ever walk back from "revenue streams"? He made the EZ Pass transponders free, which really makes sense because if you have to pay have one, you are paying a fee so you can pay your fees, which is the way businesses are ripping off Americans across the land. He put a stop to it. We are a small state and people here expect their government to be responsive. It is no big deal for Marylanders to talk to their governor and, in fact, one can get tired of seeing and meeting a governor or candidate during the campaigns. That reflects the fact that we are a small state with a lot of water, the Chesapeake Bay, in the middle. Hogan and his staff are responsive and available as people expect plus he's not taking a lot of actions just to make people mad, unlike Trump. He does not have the profile of a future president, other than running a sensible government tuned to solving problems rather than fighting about them. As a registered Democrat, I'd have to say he's the best governor for the state in a long, long time. Two political parties working together, when they can, provides a much better situation than what the Republicans live and breathe in DC, constant obstruction and a phony level of ignorant warfare.
JS (DC)
To put it plainly, much of MD's traditionally machine democrat-controlled government is corrupt and incompetent - in the vein of IL and NY. And that from me, a lifelong midwestern democrat. Hogan was elected to be above that, and to a large extent he has been. Even though I have seriously disagreed with him on a few things (a widening of the backed-up I-495 might wipe out part of my town), I may vote Republican for the first time in the next election for him, simply because he is focused on real solutions to problems of the average resident of the state. Until democrats start doing that again nationally, expect more losses.
Ross Payne (Winderemere, FL)
Mr. Bruni, do you read the comments on your columns?
Gary Ward (Durham, North Carolina)
Maryland is not an island. The leader of the Republican Party is an existential threat to Democracy. Everyone must take a stand before we lose our democracy.
Wherever Hugo (There, UR)
Mr. Bruni writes an interesting interview and analysis of Larry Hogan......the comments that follow this column are shameful. I cannot believe there are that many commenters that think the governors main responsibility is to exact revenge on Trump and make every living breath a resistance to Trump. Mr. Hogan remains somewhat popular in Maryland because he has accomplished positive results and shown an ability to cooperation with and influence the MD legislature to accomplish CHANGE.......something the Democrats always promise but NEVER, ever deliver. Democrat Party is constructed to preserve the Status Quo.....never change it....and NYT readers need to wake up to that fact.
Jacqueline (Montana)
What I take from this article is that when faced with an unsatisfactory candidate, democrats will either abstain or vote for the most rational candidate even if that candidate is from the opposite side; republicans, not so much.
The Observer (Mars)
Hogan's statements model the willful ignorance that is the standard procedure for Republican politicians who want to keep their comfortable jobs, health care benefits, pensions, etc. It's the same 'go along, get along' strategy they employed before the days of Newt Gingrich, when the take-no-prisoners partisan attitude came into vogue. Now they have control of Congress but an ugly president. Not a big problem for Hogan and his ilk; they'll just decline to get involved with the Trump controversy, mumble something about 'fairness to both sides', wait it out, and enjoy their big tax cuts.
Ronny (Dublin, CA)
I can't name one good Republican in Washington. They may exist but they are not in the party leadership. Remember what the (R) stands for: (R) for Regressive taxation (R) for Religious bigotry (R) for Racism (R) for being Russian stooges (R) for eliminating Reproductive Rights We need another (R) for Resistance, get out and vote this November to (R)esist the Republican extremism and protect our democracy.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Trump is a feeble thinker but he is deadly clever. He could not care less about the consequences of his actions beyond his immediate objectives because he just does not think about long term things nor does he care about history. But he eliminates all the constraints upon his options up to and including conning others into buying outright lies. He learned how to make himself the center of attention and to inspire his audience into the suspension of disbelief that enables people to lose themselves in entertainments. The Governor has thought through his alternatives and he has a citizenry that are not interested in being distracted by Trump’s show, so he has decided focus on his own priorities. Smart move, he’s doing what few elected officials in Washington should be doing but aren’t. The country would be better off if all the major news organizations included a debunking statement uncovering his dishonesties following every lead in stories about Trump and then move onto important stories based upon confirmed facts, and to leave the Trump Show for Fox News to broadcast.
NNI (Peekskill)
Maryland is very, very, lucky to have Larry Hogan as their Governor. Period. He represents the original Republican Party, the Grand Old Party. But I wish he had just said, " I am not a Trump Republican and hate everything Trump ". Yes, he deliberately stays away from Washington apathy and politicking. So he avoids the Washington circus but it is real Republicans like Gov. Larry Hogan and more Governors like him who speak up, loud and clear, denounce and moor the Republican Party away from the madness. Because they are representatives of the people who elected them and their aspirations. Collectively, the Governors can play a very vital role in bringing down this President. Because silence is just enabling this President and his corrupt coterie.
Steve (Downers Grove, IL)
Hogan seems to think that Maryland's Republicans are reflective of the nation as a whole. Has he not seen the polls showing 90% Republican support for Trump and even his most egregious policies? Does he think all these Trump rallies featuring the QAnon crowd are fake? This Republican Party (the voters) is driving Trump every bit as much as he is driving them. Hogan may be pragmatic enough to work with his Democratic legislature, but in my view, he is still a follower of the Fox News propaganda that paints Democrats as evil incarnate. In his mind, even being an Independent is too close to being Democratic - EWWW!
dyeus (.)
Clearly the Republican Party is the party of Trump. Gov. Hogan promotes the lie Trump won by an overwhelming majority and would never be open to change his mind on being only a tribal Republican. Trump boasting of sexual assault, tweets that his son met with Russia to get dirt on Clinton (this morning tweet), and so on. Yes, it is Trump’s party and Gov. Hogan is complicit.
Wilder (USA)
The only thing missing from your balancing board cartoon is the hammer and sickle from the MAGA hat.
SR (Bronx, NY)
I can't trust Hogan, no matter his ailments and struggles, as long as he wears such a proudly racist, pro-birth, pro-rich, pro-corporate, anti-people party-cult albatross around his neck. Our November Sane-ami depends on a united and crushing response to that divisive old boy's club. The "covfefe" GOP is "covfefe" with the help of its worst members, but it has long been "covfefe" thanks to its vile numbers-first people-last policies too—and (in true WWE fashion) the party-cult uses its few babyfaces like Hogan, Susan Collins, Flake-y, and John James to help its many heels gain a foothold. Leave that party-cult, Hogan, and caucus with the sane. Then we talk. Likewise for Rosenstein and Mueller, when your investigations end (or get ended) and if you decide to run.
Julia Sass Rubin (New Jersey)
Mr. Bruni, Why did you allow Larry Hogan to use your column to campaign against Ben Jealous by labeling him an extremist? Will you be giving Ben Jealous the same free air time as you provided to Larry Hogan, at the very least to respond to Hogan's charges?
Skeptical1 (new york ny)
Governor Hogan's responses to Frank Brunk's childish repetitive attempts to corner him into giving opinions on national situations beyond his brief were admirable. Oh I wish there were mkre like Hogan.
faivel1 (NY)
I wonder how much he pays black people he positions behind during his crazy rallies. There are some reports about a character calling himself "Michael the Black Man" has appeared in the crowd directly behind Donald Trump, impossible to miss and possibly planted. He holds signs that scream "BLACKS FOR TRUMP" and wears a T-shirt proclaiming with equal conviction that "TRUMP & Republicans Are Not Racist." He has called Barack Obama "The Beast" and Hillary Clinton a Ku Klux Klan member. Oprah, he says, is the devil. Just by googling this character you can tell how how questionable his past is.
James S Kennedy (PNW)
Our country is in decline and it goes beyond Traitor Trump. The major problem is unbounded greed. Bring back the draft for every 18 year old,no deferments, and teach our young people what it means to be an American.
Scott F (Right Here, On The Left)
Wait. He felt no obligation to speak out about Trump’s shamefully bigoted statements and policies about Muslims? It didn’t “rise to that level” for him? He doesn’t believe there is sufficient “evidence” that Trump is unfit to be President and ought to resign? The very same Trump who degraded the United States of America in Helsinki? The same guy who cuddles up to tyrannical killers like Kim Jong Un, Rodrigo Duterte, and Vladimir Putin? The Trump who encourages violence against our free press? (The Amendments within the Bill of Rights are in order of importance, and freedom of the press is the very first one.) This man is a coward and does not belong in public office as a leader.
Roy (Fort Worth)
This column contains the phrase “both sides” four or five times. You, Mr. Bruni, with this promotion of a false equivalence, are part of the problem.
Frank (Midwest)
In the early '90s, Bill Clinton called out Sister Souljah, and Hillary called out "predators" as did Jesse Jackson. It was the correct thing to do. Until rank and file Republicans give up blind loyalty and call out the white supremacists from Trump on down, they deserve no consideration for any public office.
David Neal (Los Angeles)
Hogan wants to have it both ways. Sorry, Governor. But with a tyrant wannabee in the White House, the time for splitting hairs is gone.
Ignorantia Asseraciones (MAssachusetts)
I lived in Annapolis in 1992, in an apartment on Maryland Ave., on the intersected other side of which was The Naval Academy. There was a chant-jogging of them almost in every and very early morning, with rhythmical singing apologies for waking up the neighbors in that way so early. How polite they are, I thought. **** There was the annual croquet match between Naval Acad. and St John College. On Saturdays, I darted myself on 50 to DC for the William Christenberry’s drawing class. Years have passed, since then, and I’ve been interested in American politics more than more. **** Though I’ve never imagined the happenings of today. The governor says of the pendulum, in indicating that the arc of its swing range should become less long. A rational settlement is implied. That will be good, if smooth and swift. **** The governor also points out that the activists on both parties are at the extreme ends of the arc (my paraphrase) whereas the rest of each party does not take the exactly same views as those of the activists; which is to me a very convincing observation. **** This is a good interview with insights, to be agreeable or challengeable, or maybe both.
KNVB:Raiders (Cook County)
"Is the Republican Party Donald Trump’s — or Larry Hogan’s?" That is an insultingly stupid question. The answer to it is painfully obvious.
JLErwin3 (Herndon, VA)
It's shameful, especially for those of us who finally grew disgusted with the whackobirds and left the party, but it's trump's cult now. Sorry, Larry Hogan.
Andrew G. Bjelland, Sr. (Salt Lake City, Utah)
I admire Governor Hogan for his optimism, for his belief that the Republican Party will become a more centrist party. I also admire John Boehner’s blunt honesty: “There is no Republican Party.” As long as the Trumpuglicans control what used to be the GOP primaries America will drift further into a neoliberal form of a fascist-plutocracy-kleptocracy. Whenever the “Star Spngled Banner” is played, patriotic Americans ought to get down on both knees and pray for deliverance from the “leadership” of our corrupt, utterly unfit, embarrassing, buffoonish, and authoritarian President—and for deliverance from the Trumpuglicans who are doing their best to elevate him as their Supreme Leader.
David Devonis (Davis City IA)
A Hogan/Teachout race in '20 would be interesting.....
Steve Bolger (New York City)
I don't care that Trump has charm when he's doing one-on-one con jobs. He's still a dangerous sociopathic rabble-rouser.
davebarnes (denver)
Republicans, collectively: Became the party of mean/spiteful Became the party of “ice” people Embraced The Dumpster® I will never vote for a GOPer again. It is not the party of Rockefeller, etc.
Molly Bloom (Anywhere but here)
When it comes to Trump, Hogan has his head in the sand. Does he own an ostrich jacket?
Patricia J Thomas (Ghana)
If Hogan had the moral backbone that he thinks he has, he would become an Independent, join the Green Party, start a new party. Those who stick with the GOP are dancing with the devil, and they are getting something out of the relationship, which they don't want to give up, for whatever reason. For shame.
winchestereast (usa)
Larry Hogan is calling Ben Jealous a socialist? Ben's an investor, a capitalist, a guy who understands business and has a healthy respect for the cost of social justice. Education. Infrastructure. Not 100% increase in taxes. Fake News. Good for Larry for being repelled by Trump's nativism and general sleaziness. But he's not very strongly opposed to the pro billionaire tax plan or the shout-outs to Russia pre election.
just Robert (North Carolina)
This article really points out the difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. Democrats will vote for a republican when they do a good job healing their constituency and work for their voters. Republicans circle the wagons and refuse to work with any democrat. This has been the way since Jimmy Carter and it has gotten worse over the decades. Considering this it is really the Republican Party that is at the root of separation and animus in our government. Governor Hogan as well meaning as he seems lives in a state of denial about his party if he believes they will ever return to centrism or work for compromise. Perhaps he someday will take Mr. Bruni's advice and declare himself an independent as he actually seems to be this by his actions.
PB (Northern UT)
Since it is more than clear that the Republican Party currently belongs to Donald Trump and not Larry Hogan, vote for Democrats in 2018. And vote for Democrats until the Republican Party comes to its senses and gets serious about actively doing something about climate change, reversing the detrimental rising inequality in our society, fixing our crumbling infrastructure, abolishing Citizens United, and embracing human decency and personal responsibility in both foreign and domestic relations.
William O. Beeman (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Hogan is whistling past the graveyard. It is only a matter of time before he is savaged by the alt-Right as a RINO. In this day and age he can't stay neutral on Trump with the bland remonstration that is indulged in by just about every Republican: "I wish he wouldn't tweet so much." Trump is doing serious damage to our nation, and Hogan must surely know that. If he really wants to retain his credentials as an independent Republican thinker, he must do better than talking about Trump's tweets and start talking about, and opposing Trump's actions. But we are used to Republicans who will not do what is right for the nation and for their state. Hogan is one of them.
JRM (Melbourne)
@William O. Beeman I must agree with you. Where are the patriots that put will put our Country, our Democracy, our Justice System first? The GOP alone has had the power to stop this craziness they started in 2016 at their National Convention. What is the matter with them? They could be praised for doing something, but they are cowards and scared of having to deal with Trump's scorn.
Pat Choate (Tucson, Arizona)
Certainly, the rehabilitation of the Repubican Party cannot come from Republican leaders in the Congress for they have so compromised their integrity that they cannot be trusted. Governors such as Hogan and Kasich of Ohio offer a platform from which the rebuilding can begin. But first, a cleansing must be made and it must involve dozens if not hundreds of current Republican officeholders. Nothing less will suffice.
vicki (Chesapeake City, MD)
Yes, I voted for Hogan and I think he has been a good governor. However I won't be voting for him this time. I think it is more important to send a message to the Republican party that their failure to stand up to Trump is going to cost votes in every election. Even though I have voted for many Republicans over the years I have sworn never again until they reclaim what their party once stood for.
Christy (WA)
There are two Republican Parties, one Trump's the other perhaps that of Hogan, Corker, Flake and Bret Stephens. But, unlike Bret, too many sensible Republicans who are disgusted by what Trump has done to their party voice their disgust in whispers instead of shouting it from the rooftops.
george eliot (annapolis, md)
People have a misconception about Maryland. Yes there are 7 counties that can be considered "blue"; however, the western counties and the counties on the eastern side of the Chesapeake are populated by right-wing Trumpers. Indeed, the "Eastern Shore" is still Klan Kountry, as it has been since the Civil War. What saves the Democrats are the counties that are rich, high paid government employees (lots of folks from CIA, NSA, FBI, who Trump continually disparages) and a highly educated population. I think it's clear at this point that the "red" counties are an ignorant uneducated mass, who would not vote for a black person if he were another Obama. If the black populations of Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, and Baltimore City, all of whom did not come out to vote for the last black Democratic nominee, show up, then Jealous may have a chance. Otherwise, Hogan will win in a landslide.
Milque Toast (Beauport Gloucester)
@george eliot You are correct about western Maryland,it is about as blue as W. Virginia and Kentucky. Kinda the same people, fierce and independent, economically depressed, education repressed Appalachia, the meth labs drove out the moonshiners, as meth is easier to make with common farm chemicals.
John Grillo (Edgewater,MD)
@george eliotDemocratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous should certainly make Hogan’s unwillingness to directly confront the outrageous undemocratic excesses of the Fake President a part of his campaign. Whether you are running for”dog catcher”, Governor, or the Senate this election cycle, there is a moral imperative for every would be public office holder to take a resolute stand against this existential threat to our country. Anything less is political cowardice and unpatriotic! Are you in Russia’s camp or America’s Larry?
Lawrence (Washington D.C,)
The Democratic party in Maryland has put up some far lefties in gubenatorial and county executive races. They have left moderates in the dust. My party left me. State races will have many splitting tickets.
corvid (Bellingham, WA)
Mr. Hogan should get out more. The notion that noxious Republicans are only found in D.C. is absurd. Consider my home state, thankfully run by Democrats for the most part, which has some of the most scorched-earth Republicans to be found in any state capital. Mr. Hogan is essentially a unicorn.
MKKW (Baltimore )
Hogan is an opportunist, he gets along with who he has to get along with to stay in power. In a Trumpian world that is not a good fence to straddle.
WmC (Lowertown, MN)
A fascinating interview, revealing how easy it is for the few remaining responsible Republicans to delude themselves. No, Gov. Hogan, your party will never return to its senses. The pendulum has swung too far. It is now the Trumpublican Party. Its leader now openly colludes with a foreign power which openly seeks to dismantle democracy, the rule of law, freedom of the press and the liberal world order. The leader of your party now openly colludes with White Supremacists and conspiracy theorists. Your leader is a shameless, compulsive liar with no moral commitment to anything other than his own enrichment. He has openly colluded with money-launderers, kleptocrats and fraudsters. No, Gov. Hogan, “responsible Republican” is now oxymoronic. You have to choose one or the other. You may not believe me, but you should believe former Republicans like George Will, Steve Schmidt, Max Boot, Richard Painter, Joe Scarborough and Nicole Wallace. To these former Republicans, it is their own former party that poses the greatest existential threat to democracy worldwide. No exaggeration.
M (Seattle)
Maybe because Democrats have done such a poor job in Maryland. Baltimore, particularly. My home state, but I was glad to leave.
Vinny (NYC)
Just another way of showing that a Republican voter places party above else, while others let policy or perception makes the decisions. Having said that, I would not doubt for a second that GOP leaders will not throw their electorate under bus, at first command from KKK, Kochs, or Trump.
Howard (Washington Crossing)
A moderate and successful Republican! Trump and the Tea Party are the aberrations!
FJG (Sarasota, Fl.)
This guy Hogan is certainly an improvement n the run of the mill republicans who populate the congress, but each time Mr Bruni scratched him deeply enough, he bled Trump red--or at least pink. The reluctance of prominent republicans to make a clean break from Trump, is mind blowing. Forget conspiracy, sexual peccadilloes, Putin and elections. Aren't his pathological lies and unhinged attacks on the FBI, CIA, DOJ, the Press and others, enough to indict him as unfit for such a high office? Talk about denial--wow.
Edward (Upper West Side)
For a "moderate," Hogan seems to have a lot of contempt for Democrats.
PB (Northern UT)
How refreshing! Well, GOP what kind of people do you want to run for office? (a) A bunch of purist right-wing ideologues vetted and supported by the Koch boys and the NRA, demanding lower taxes, guns for kids and everyone else, an end to Social Security and the social safety net for those who depend on it, and weak or no government regulatory agencies. (b) Those politicians who know which side the butter is on, park their conscience and morality at the curb, do whatever the lobbyists tell them, and firmly believe that what big business wants, big business gets in a money-obsessed, zero-sum game. (c) More politicians like Trump and the tea partiers who trade on bigotry, hatred, and white nationalism, and who can really amass a raucous, angry, know-nothing cult that truly hates government, liberals, Democrats, moderate Republicans, all immigrants, journalists, and an unending list of enemies. (d) Religious Christian zealots, like Mike Pence, determined to turn our melting-pot nation into an all-white Christian theocracy that considers immigrants, women, people of color, gays, Muslims, etc., etc., etc. as second-class citizens who must obey their authoritarian white male, holier-than-thou superiors. (e) Politicians like Hogan, who focus on managing, compromising, and governing without all the purist ideology and vitriolic drama. The question is can the GOP get back to governing, or will it drown itself in a swamp of false beliefs, special interests, big $$, & anger?
Shaun Eli Breidbart (NY, NY)
He says he's a Republican yet he is against just about everything the party stands for and for just about everything they're against. How does he not see how ridiculous this is?
stan continople (brooklyn)
Maryland is an outlier in the sense that, as a "suburb" of DC, it possesses many high income individuals who epitomize the Democrat's dilemma: They are social liberals but fiscal conservatives, so they will embrace any policy that let's them feel good about themselves but doesn't cost them a dime in extra wages or taxes. A lot of little Bloombergs. As such, they are more representative of the Democrat's donor class than of Democrats in general. That's why Larry Hogan is their sort of guy, and I wouldn't draw any nationwide conclusions based on this self-absorbed cluster. Mr. Bruni seems to be on a quixotic centrist crusade lately; thank goodness he didn't shill for the Third Way in this piece, but there's always next week.
yves rochette (Quebec,Canada)
It seems to me that Gov Hogan is a Republican without a party; it is now Trump's party and he will have to quit or be kicked out!
Carin (NYC)
Please correct Hogan. Trump left the Democratic Party first in the late 80s, then was a Dem from 01 to 09. Not condemning overt racism is wrong.
Barry Moyer (Washington, DC)
This tour around Gov. Hogan's head is a little disorienting. Finding a rational, even-keeled, and likable republican, in public office, in the time of Trump, is like spotting an Ivory Billed Woodpecker or finding something that actually grows hair! But somewhere in this cozy distraction comes the notion that the great power and influence held by governors on national issues is, in Mr. Hogan, a drum unbeaten, a complex stew unstirred. Too Bad. But a good shepherd nonetheless.
Betsy Herring (Edmond, OK)
What a wishy washy guy just the kind we need less of in this country. He sees no connection with being a Governor and what is going on elsewhere. Reminds me of Fallon of Oklahoma who turned a deaf ear and blind eye to earthquakes in Oklahoma. See no evil, hear no evil. I am perfect.
Dra (Md)
Md is for Maryland, so... Hogan is a big nothingburger. What has he done exactly. I can’t tell. I’ll be voting against him just like last time. And for balance his opponent was .... who? A terrible candidate that’s who. And guess what Mr. Hogan, trump is a massive boat anchor for you and your party.
Doc (Atlanta)
Compared to other Republicans running for governor in other states, Hogan is a Rennaisance man. Take a moment to watch the campaign TV ads of Georgia's Republican nominee Brian Kemp. Holding a shotgun with a chainsaw in his pickup truck, he pledges to start rounding up "criminal illegals" and dump them back over the border. A throwback to Lester Maddox and George Wallace, Kemp won his party's approval to become governor by a landslide.
JMM (Ballston Lake, NY)
Obviously it is Maryland’s choice whether or not to re-elect Hogan. As a New Yorker we have had Republican governors who have been good. Rockefeller created a great public university system and even the hapless Pataki had a great environmental record buying land in the Adirondack Park for public use. So on one hand, I think we need to support what is left of the reasonable Republicans, but on the other hand, I think the GOP needs to die. The Republican party was going off the rails before Trump. We cannot lose sight of the Gingrich movement and Tea Party hypocrites. Not to mention McConnell and the Freedom Caucus. I see the Republican party as the party of the 1%, religious extremists, anti-science, foolish foreign policy, corruption and graft. It hates progress unless that progress is to funnel more wealth to the 1%. As for Hogan, I didn’t care for his consistent deflection and false equivalency to the left of the Democratic party nor his weak defense of Mueller. He was clearly afraid of a Tweet.
ASR (Columbia, MD)
Republican zealots can't seem to get it through their heads that moderate Republicans can win in deep blue Maryland. I think of Governor Ted McKeldin, Senator Mac Mathias, and other moderates. More recently, Robert Ehrlich won the governorship because he ran against a weak Democratic candidate. He served only one term because people discovered that in his policies he was a disciple of Newt Gingrich. I think Hogan is so popular in Maryland because he deviates from the Republican extremists across the nation, who scare Marylanders.
lou (red nj)
I read this article to get an idea of why Hogan is popular. Instead I got a bunch of trivial questions and evasive answers.
MB (W D.C.)
“The divisiveness really is not good for the country. But he’s not the only one to blame.” “I wouldn’t say I’m ashamed of the party. I’m sometimes embarrassed by some of the people in the party. I think that frankly the Democrats should be ashamed of some of the people in their party.” This obsequiousness is precisely why all GOP elected officials are clinging by their fingernails to their office. They refuse to call out the current FAKE president.
The Nattering Nabob (Hoosier Heartland)
Larry might think it is awful for someone who dislikes Trump to take out their frustrations on him but hey, that’s politics. How many Dems are now being slammed by the same false equivalency memes in GOP campaign ads? That’s the way it goes in these times.
apresicci (San Francisco)
I like what Governor Hogan says, and how he says it. I like the idea of this man representing a GOP renewal. Those of us who call ourselves Democrats are well aware of our party's flaws. We know things have to change. But, it's an old story for Republicans of all strips, using the equivalency excuse to justify why they continue to call themselves Republicans, or to depend their party. Today's Republicans are anti democracy. That should be enough for anyone who cares for this country to disown the GOP.
Nancy (Winchester)
I guess the relevant quote here is about the difference between a politician and a statesman. “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman thinks of the next generation.” To which of these categories do you think Hogan, or indeed any current republican, belongs?
AndyW (Chicago)
The GOP and its supporters overall need to be rendered completely powerless over the next two election cycles. Their elected (and supported) president is so toxic to dignity, logic and democracy itself, a mass purge is required in order to reset the national discourse and restore normalcy. If a few “good” GOP leaders get caught in the crossfire, so be it. If some elected democrats turn out to be mediocre at their jobs, we will all just need to clean that up in later years. The country is in an historical state of political crisis right now, requiring an “all hands on deck, take no prisoners” response.
Occupy Government (Oakland)
Sorry, but it hardly matters who the Republican is or what he or she stands for, as long as Donald Trump heads the party. We can't have a controlling political party that is petrified by its own leader. The Republicans in Congress are afraid to poke their heads above ground, lest someone ask them if they support their president. For government to function, we need a check on Trump. We need a congress to check the executive and we need this executive to check out.
Konrad Gelbke (Bozeman)
Independent minds like Hogan's are desperately needed in Congress, unfortunately they either do not exists or they are afraid to oppose Trump. As long as this is the case, the only hope for our country is to oppose all Republicans.
Vicki (Boca Raton, Fl)
Hogan says -- and apparently believes -- that Trump was a Democrat until just a few years ago. What a canard. If he really believes that, he has no business as a governor of any state. Trump always was and always will be whatever he thinks it takes to give him power and money.
Adam Stoler (Bronx NY)
What’s Hogan gonna say- there is a backlash tsunami coming , and btw, I think the Republican Party is going to disband after this path to oblivion? Of course not. The GOP is toast. There will likely be a new centrist party to emerge, pushing the racist tight into the fringes, where it belongs. No Republican is ever going to say these things . And no Republican is going to like the results Nov 6th. They all shoulda thought about THAT before tRump. He’s cooked your goose for a few shekels and fleeting moments of illusory power. Live with it Mr Hogan; you appear to be an anachronism. .
Midnight Scribe (Chinatown, New York City)
One thing that might have been overlooked in this philosophical exchange - which like much opinion writing inevitably devolves into some form of contextualization, rationalization, and accommodation to Trump and his non-policies and boorish behavior - is the permanent damage, the irreversible effects of the Trump administration's actions and behavior - the economic, cultural, social, societal impact. Governor Hogan, like many Republicans - moderate or otherwise - see Trump as a time-limited illness, sort of a national bad cold. But at a minimum, Trump is a standard bearer for the wave of populist, reactionary, xenophobic movements all over the world. You can deny that trend, or look the other way, but it's there...at least in the background. I saw a photo of a freckle-faced twelve year old kid dressed in an ill-fitting white shirt, a red tie twisted to one side around his neck, a red MAGA hat, with his wide-open pie-hole screaming out some Trump slogan, or chant, - "Lock somebody up!" - at a Trump rally. And I wondered if that was the future face of the Republican Party.
Doris2001 (Fairfax, VA)
The answer to Bruni's question is an easy one. Mr. Hogan has become an anomaly. He is almost a dinosaur, a Republican on his way to extinction of his kind. A look at the remaining Republican politicians shows people who have caved to the new Republican Party which no longer embraces traditional family values, fiscal responsibility, national security, or even free trade. He doesn't realize it but, without moving, Mr. Hogan has become a moderate Democrat.
Robert FL (Palmetto, FL.)
Didn't dare condemn trump's traitorous performance in Helsinki. "Disappointed in his performance", pretty weak tea from this "independent" Gov.
Innovator (Maryland)
I am confused that there were no questions about the SALT tax limit in this interview. There was puzzling silence from Hogan on this issue .. perhaps to keep the national Reps from hounding him or fearing some retribution from Trump. Basically, aside from cheaper Bay Bridge tolls, and some free parking, and the 70mph speed limit .. Hogan has not kept total taxes down ... so he's not an effective Republican. I would actually rather pay more state taxes than federal .. especially in Maryland where money goes to work in having decent roads (much better than our neighbors in NoVa or NJ or other nearby states) and keeping Baltimore from exploding .. State and local taxes, including real estate taxes are very high in Md. And then, to compound the specific injury to Md, the 10K deduction is per household, not per person. Real estate taxes exceeding 6K do not always put one in a McMansion. Md has one of the highest percentages of two-income families in the nation, so 10K per couple is much worse for many families and is just another penalty for women who work and happen to be married. So I think while AMT kept many two GS-15 families from deducting their full SALT taxes ... there are plenty of middle-class people who are going to get a dreadful surprise next April .. The only concession I heard from Hogan was that state taxes did not rise as federal deductions became undeductable .. big deal .. why would they need the money, we have a Rep governor to keep taxes down !!!
Jonathan Baker (New York City)
What is missing from the article is an explanation by Gov. Hogan why anyone should leave the Democratic party and join the Republican party. If Hogan doesn't have a persuasive sales pitch for that point why is he still a Republican? Whatever Hogan's father believed was admirable in the Republican party forty years ago (when Hogan was a teenager) is now only a distant mirage. Hogan does not represent the Republican party that is now openly white supremacist, anti-democracy, anti-labor, anti-Earth, anti-science, and aggressively waging class warfare on behalf of the 1%. Those are the core goals of the Republican party. That's it.
goofnoff (Glen Burnie, MD)
Hogan is a cookie cutter Chamber of Commerce Republican. If he doesn't raise taxes no one cares what else he does. He's far from the "anti Trump". I will say this for him. After being besieged by Marylanders he finally opposed ACA repeal although he is now trying to destroy it administratively. If Mr. Bruni wants to do a real story about Maryland politics he should dig into the classism and racism that is palpable here.
Nancy (Winchester)
We all know the old saying, Mr. Hogan - “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” And you have a lot more opportunity to be part of the solution than most of us.
Emma Jane (Joshua Tree)
Gov. Hogan sounds like a decent guy however his 'no stance' stance concerning Trump shows he is sorely lacking in the traits of a 'real' leader by his refusal to speak out loudly and forcefully about the eminent danger we are now facing in this precarious moment in our country's history with this very dangerous president who daily reveals he's out to upend all our democratic institutions and norms. It's time to stand up! Reminds me of too many republicans who willingly chose to ignore the fact we all face a mortal danger to this democracy.
RAH (Pocomoke City, MD)
Hmm, Hogan didn't come up to the bar in this interview. He complained about the interviewer's questions about Trump. Well, he has the floor to move the needle on the questions, not just complain about them. That is what I see in Republicans, this complaining, whining kind of attitude. Come on, Obama was never allowed to complain about anything or he would be seen as "uppity". I don't see leadership as"ok, let's keep going down the middle of the road", and ignore things we don't want to see.
Bernardo Izaguirre MD (San Juan , Puerto Rico )
It is terrible that there are not more people in the GOP like this man .
Princeton 2015 (Princeton, NJ)
Interesting exchange re Ben Jealous - who represents on a state scale what liberals are increasingly pushing for on a federal level as well ... no-holds barred socialism with much higher taxes and government spending. Just prior to that exchange, Bruni kept poking at Hogan re Trump ... and asking him whether Republicans would return to moderation. But on Jealous, Hogan turned the tables and basically asked Bruni (known to be very liberal) why Democrats are not deserting Jealous given his extremism - "“There’s this crazy guy that they nominated, so all you Democrats should no longer be Democrats because you don’t agree with him.” Obviously, Hogan was being a bit tongue in cheek. But it was very telling that Bruni cowardly dodged the question. Yes, Trump has moved the Republican party to the right - but mainly in tone rather than policy. His arguments on taxes, deregulation, abortion, guns, etc. are pretty standard Republican fare. Yes, he's moved to the xenophobic right on immigration. But on trade and entitlements, Trump is arguably closer to the Democrats. So it begs the question, why can't liberals like Bruni answer a simple question ? Why is it vital for Republicans to moderate - but Democrats can move so far left that they admit they are socialist ?
Richard Mclaughlin (Altoona PA)
Marylanders know there have to be two parties. They're rewarding the only Republican they can stomach. (Same for the Bay Staters as well).
Old blue (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Who are the Democrats that other Democrats should be ashamed of?
John Burke (NYC)
I feel sorry for Hogan -- and Baker. They are stranded in a party now run by a gang of right-wing crackpots. But he's kidding himself if he thinks Trumpism will end with Trump. Trump was merely shrewd enough to figure out that the Republican party's voters were most concerned with non-white immigration, "globalism" and "political correctness." The three winning issues are racism, nativism and mysogeny, with a dash of jingoism thrown in. Trump just reflected these "values" and GOP voters swarmed to him. Post-Trump, the guy who can duplicate Trump will lead the party. Hogan should face it: he was elected by Democratic voters
Robert (Out West)
There's something to be said for the notion of a leftist legislature and a conservative boss; see also Jerry Brown, who's done a great deal to keep the brakes on when the lege goes nuts. But of course, your boss DOES have to be, oh, adult, self-disciplined, knowledgeable, competent, able to cut deals. Obviously this leaves Trump out.
Dave (Boston)
If I was asked who I believe represents the Republican Party today I would say the religious right which includes Pence, the political extremists who are represented by Trump, the wealthy who want an oligarchy to rule from behind the throne represented by David and Charles Koch, Peter Thiel, the Mercer family and the other billionaires whose only regard is for their economic class. In essence a group of people who want to concentrate power into the fewest hands. It is a group that wants a homogeneous society. They will accept certain differences for now. Gays in some instances, blacks and even Catholics and Jews. As long the pretense of diversity, and checkbooks of the tolerated groups, can be used to hide the agenda of white extremist Christian nationalists. What do Democrats represent? Maybe that is a problem. Democratic ideals have supported a tide that lifts everyone. But somehow that ideal no longer packs enough punch. Meanwhile modern Republicans have a punch that is cruel but exciting (except for when a supporter falls victim). I see liberals as lost, where too many hide behind instead of leading ideals, themselves demanding homogeneity which some call political correctness. Conservatives on the other hand were hijacked by mental sadists who enjoy causing divisiveness and winning by hurting others. For the rest just lazy apathy. Perhaps a new political philosophy is needed. One that claims & energizes for today the American ideals from the past to the present.
Alexander Harrison (Wilton Manors, Fla.)
It is apparent Gov. Hogan is a RINO, Republican in name only, and who needs more of them?Noticeably absent from the interview is the governor's stand on open borders, for or against, strict enforcement of our immigration laws and a country which puts the interests of its citizens before those of "indocumentados,"and one which supports ONLY legal immigration. Is the governor for or against deportation of illegal felons who constitute 22 percent of inmates in federal prisons?Is he for Kate's Law?Is he for or against the irresponsible handing out of HB-1 visas to non citizens who replace our "citadins" at lower wages. Is Hogan for the lottery system, since the terrorist who killed 8 pedestrians on a Manhattan street months ago came here thanks to the lottery system?(1 "wins" the lottery with a $100 bribe back in 1's country of origin, a corrupt system!)Why devote an article to a politician w/o clarifying his stand on issues, except to say he is anti Trump?If Alexander Harrison were to plumb the "arrieres pensees"of the author, I would say that Mr. Bruni praises Hogan primarily because of the governor's anti Trump views. There is always an undercurrent of "mechancete"in most of what Mr. Bruni writes, "mon avis!"
Demosthenes (Chicago)
While he seems like a decent man, Governor Hogan is a Republican. His party has gone insane. They deserve no votes until the madness is expunged. Sorry, Mr. Hogan, but until the GOP is drained of its racism, nativism, and all around ugliness, no sensible person should ever vote Republican. Vote straight Democratic this November and in 2020. Our country’s fate depends upon it.
James (Maryland)
"I certainly wouldn’t become a Democrat today." Really governor? I will take an Elizabeth Warren over a Jeff Sessions any day. You lost me there.
JustInsideBeltway (Capitalandia)
I almost always vote for Democrats but I will usually vote for a moderate over an extremist, regardless of party. Hogan has a very good chance of getting my vote.
Comp (MD)
Wow, as a Maryland resident I really like Hogan until I read this interview. The jury is IN on Trump--he doesn't have a few 'shortcomings', he's an authoritarian menace and a protofascist buffoon. Any politician, Republican centrist or not, who isn't willing to call a spade a spade on Trump has lost my vote.
Doug Terry (Maryland, Washington DC metro)
@Comp In a modest defense of Hogan, he can't slam Trump to the max because he would lose more Republican votes than he would gain in Democrats. I think he is trying to be respectful of the people who voted for Trump, even to result of those votes was to put an unqualified, unprepared egotist in the White House. I have relatives and friends who voted for Trump and I don't lecture them about what I believe are his dangers to the country. They have to come to that realization themselves and I really hope they do/
woodswoman (boston)
Thank you, Mr. Bruni, for pushing so hard to make Governor Hogan come out and say, for the record, where he stands on Trump. Right now, more than anything, this will tell us all we need to know about the character of our elected officials. Our governor, Mr. #1, Charlie Baker, is up for re-election in November. To date, he has acted against many of Trump's policies, has held him at arm's length, but Baker has never openly declared how he feels about the man, himself. Before I vote, I need to know that; I think everyone in this state should. You did a good job in prying it out of Hogan, any chance you could do the same with Baker? I expect the rest of the country would be interested in an interview of the "Most Popular" governor too; could give them some insights into what they should be expecting from their own. Frank, whether or not you take me up on this, I'm so grateful for what you do for the people of this country. You, and your brothers and sisters of the press are one of the greatest assets we possess; count on me to keep fighting for your right to inform us, for your right to hold those who govern us responsible. I shudder to think where we'd be right now, but for our free press. Trump would have probably have had his dictatorship in place, and we would never know the grounds upon which to depose him.
AlNewman (Connecticut)
I lived in Baltimore when Hogan was elected. He entered office as a right-wing zealot, but he realized soon enough that he’d be irrelevant if he didn’t work with the state’s Democratic legislature. And therein lies the lesson for progressives and other right-thinking people who want to take back this country from a brutish GOP: you have to control Congress because that is where the power lies. Impeachment aside, if Dems take Congress in November you’ll see a very chastened Donald Trump and GOP. The message will be sent to the Republican Party that extremism loses elections, and to get anything done Trump will need to go through Pelosi and Schumer, as well as the Democratically controlled committees to get anything done. We just might see a brand of moderate politics that many voters thirst for.
Avalanche (New Orleans)
Hogan is a Trump Republican for the reason that he agrees with Trump on many issues, is acquiescent on other issues and refuses to lead an opposition to fight Trump even where he has strong reservations.
Maggie Mae (Massachusetts)
"Mostly we talked about Trump..." writes Frank Bruni. Why? Why not asked Gov. Hogan, whose approach is being held up as a model for national politics, about his positions on specific issues. For example, we recently learned that Baltimore and three other cities have filed a lawsuit alleging that the Trump administration is attempting to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and failing in its Constitutional obligations to uphold the law. It would have been more interesting to hear Gov. Hogan's perspective on that suit than to hear that he finds the private Donald Trump to be different from the public persona.
dudley thompson (maryland)
Hogan has been successful be cause he cooperates and compromises with the other party. Hogan is correct that most Americans are centrists yet the fringes get all the publicity. Why? Because conflict sells and cooperation does not. This is where the press is culpable in fostering divisions. Bruni spent the lion's share of the interview talking about Trump. Why? Conflict sells and the fact that Hogan has cooperated with Democrats to get things done in my state was just not divisive enough for an article on our governor. It was bait and switch and justifiably, Hogan called the reporter out for his misdirection. I would never support Trump but the endless Trump bashing, as Hogan mentioned, is counterproductive. It is starting to reflect poorly on those that do the bashing.
Duncan Lennox (Canada)
@dudley Thompson " I would never support Trump but the endless Trump bashing, as Hogan mentioned, is counterproductive. It is starting to reflect poorly on those that do the bashing." I disagree. I say pour it on right up to election day. There may be a few people on the fence that will learn something about how Trump & his abettors have been ruining the country for their benefit. The real voter bonanza for the Dems however is to get a slice of the 1/3 of eligible voters who do not vote out to the polls in Nov. The pollsters say that the Dems need to win the national vote by 8% points (54 to 46) in order to obtain a ONE seat majority in the House. This is not democracy in action just as having the conman in the WH is not a democratic result.
Keith (Merced)
Democrats haven't lost their way, as Hogan believes. We're becoming acquainted with the traditional Democratic ideals of FDR, particularly his his contempt for colonial and corporate control of every nation including America. Bruni should have reminded Hogan FDR was elected president four times precisely for his believe in public service that includes work rather than welfare and social security that includes Medicare for every citizen and legal resident, positions that most Americans believe are vital for the health and prosperity of our nation.
Mike (New York)
So how many people in Maryland earn their money from the Federal Government, either directly employed by the government or through welfare programs or by supplying services to those people. Pretty much the entire eastern population of Maryland and Virginia are the foundation of the Washington Swamp that Trump ran against. Of course they support the status quo. If we were to cut the size of government, they and their children might find themselves in the same situation as poorer Americans in Appalachia.
Mark Smith (Baltimore, MD)
As a Maryland citizen and a Democrat, I can tell you Larry Hogan is very well liked. In fact, he is the highest rated governor in MD history. This is reiterated in the article. His predecessor Martin O'Malley was an absolute disaster, and is one of the reasons Hogan was elected. Marylanders took a shot at Hogan instead of another O'Malley with Brown. I was one of those people who voted for Hogan. I will again. Larry Hogan is more of a Democrat than a Republican. I would actually put his polices (especially the social ones) to the left. Gay marriage, abortion, criminal justice reform, etc are all to the left. MD's economy is booming right now. Larry Hogan has a lot to do with that. I can tell you if Ben Jealous goes out there and attacks Larry Hogan for being with Trump that would be a HUGE mistake. Larry Hogan is no where near Trump. Most people in MD know that, and is why his approval ratings are so high in a largely Democratic state. Although, most Democrats in MD outside of Baltimore city are very moderate. With Ben Jealous winning the Democratic primary (beating Baker) that sealed a Larry Hogan second term. The moderates are not going to vote for Ben Jealous (including me). He has no shot to win, and is currently 14 points behind Hogan, and 7 points behind with Democrats. I know many Democrats whom voted all blue all the time, and will for the first time vote for Hogan.
Latif (Atlanta)
Interesting, but as long as he remains a Republican and the Republican Party continues to shamelessly aid and abet Trump, my vote is to punish the party at the polls. That is what a wave does. It cannot be concerned about individual Republicans. Not in 2018.
Gordon Silverman (NYC)
An amazing coincidence. My wife and I were discussing this interview and extending our thoughts beyond the confines of the topics in the piece. I noted (to her) that it was my recollection that Abraham Lincoln- the sometimes “darling” that Republicans love to remind us was the “father” of their party - was the first to impose an income tax. (Income taxes are anathema to Republicans.). As we sometimes do, we “went to the video tape”. What came up on “history.com” was that ON THIS DAY in 1861 Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861 - Lincoln’s initiative. It imposed a 3% tax on all income above $800 (the “rich”?). It is considered the first tax on income. The father of their party was the first “tax and spend” Republican. Yes, I know, it was a tax to fight an insurgency. I wonder when the Republicans evolved into the party (of the Governor) that now taxes the poorest to give to the richest.
Brian (NY)
I am what you might call a "most of the time Democrat" who has lived in Maryland, married a Marylander and has a daughter, with family living there now. Maryland seems always to have either a great Governor or a horror (remember Spiro Agnew. I believe he was one of 3 or 4 Governors in a row who spent time in prison.) Hogan in in the Great Camp, like William Schaefer. If we could get him up here in New York I would vote, and campaign with gusto, for him against Cuomo.
Lkf (Nyc)
I believe that the havoc that Republicans at the National and State levels are wreaking on our government and our society needs to be called out. Too many long-fought-for rights are being trampled and threatened by the gang of Republican grifters and bible thumpers that have taken over our government. Larry Hogan seems like a decent fellow but you don't get to 'aw shucks' your way out of being honest about our national Republican infection just because you are a governor. It is all the more reason for him to vigorously defend his version of Republicanism against the national travesty that is playing out at the hands of his party. Confronting evil is a time-honored preoccupation of American patriots. The Republican Mr. Hogan would do far better to honestly confront the mess his party is making than to make excuses about how much nicer Mr. Trump allegedly is in person. He is lucky I don't live in Maryland. He wouldn't get my vote.
brian (commack)
Gov Hogan's difficulty being reelected will be similar to what Sen. Manchin (WVa) or Sen. Jones (AL) will experience when they run in red states. Our nation has turned to identity politics and all three will suffer. As Democratic commentators are unable to vote for Gov Hogan, I hope they accept that the feeling is mutual for Democratic candidates running in red states.
Mark Smith (Baltimore, MD)
@brian That is is just incorrect. Larry Hogan is going to win by double digits. The polls show that now. The idea that Marylanders Democrats (including) myself are going to vote out a great governor because he is Republican is asinine. Most democrats in MD are moderates, and just won't vote for Ben Jealous.
M (Cambridge)
How did Logan stand up after that interview? He twisted himself in so many ways he must have been one knotted mess. Logan gave the standard good-guy-Republican response to Trump: wish he wasn't Tweeting, time will solve this problem for us. As a Republican since Reagan, Logan seems to yearn for the Rotary Club and either can't see or can't believe that the party is now The Apprentice, or the Know Nothings. He even tries to generate a few false equivalence tropes against Democrats - socialism, they're not all nice you know - to make sure his bona fides remain intact. Why it's almost if he knows he can't alienate that small group of Republican voters who would turn on any elected official who doesn't carry Trump's water. Now try Baker, because all Logan demonstrated was that the Republican Party are a bunch of Trump zombies. They're dead and can't figure out why they're still walking or why it matters.
Tom (United States)
Hogan apparently understands the concept of bipartisan compromise. And he’s clearly not a divider. He’s not the President of the Dis-United States.
sdw (Cleveland)
Were Donald Trump a stable person with a normal willingness to learn, you might say that Governors Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker can teach Mr. Trump how a Republican in an executive position can work well with Democratic legislators. Donald Trump, of course, is abnormal, and you are wasting your time to think that the Hogan and Baker examples will influence or even interest Trump.
Tokyo Tea (NH, USA)
I found him admirable until this remark: "It was embarrassing. It was disappointing. But can you say the president needs to be removed from office because of his poor performance?" It wasn't "a performance." That reduces it to a superficiality when what everyone is worried about is what lies behind it. It isn't "disappointing" when a US president kowtows to the leader of a hostile foreign power who helped him get elected. It's alarming. It's disturbing. It's a cowardly display. It's morally wrong and a failure to do his duty. And it's a blinking red light for all of us. More cowardice and dodging of responsibility in the Republican party.
Robert (Out West)
Sigh. "Performance," here, means, "job performance." You know...like a performance review at work. They're not criticizing your Hamlet, okay?
CBH (Madison, WI)
Dream on. The "Party" belongs to Trump. This "Republican" is an outlier, not representative of the main stream of "Trumpists." Your beloved party might some day make a come back, but only if Trump is not an option.
Maxie (Gloversville, NY )
Governor Hogan is wrong. I am a registered voter and although I’m registered as a Democrat, I have voted for Republicans, Democrats and Independents, especially in local races. This year I will NOT vote for a single Republican - up here, this means I will be leaving some lines on my ballot blank. The Republican Party is morally bankrupt. It started before Trump and is probably the reason for Trump. It IS now the Party of Trump and the real reason the Governor May doesn’t want to talk about Washington or Trump is he knows many of his voters are Trumpsters, the MAGA hat wearing crowd. That’s the Republican Party today. I don’t know if it is fixable- many ardent Republicans think it is not and have left it. I hope this Republican Governor loses his election.
Alan Snipes (Chicago)
You say this like there really is a question of who's party it is. If you don't know the answer by now, you haven't been paying attention.
Adrienne (Midwest)
"I wouldn’t say I’m ashamed of the party. I’m sometimes embarrassed by some of the people in the party. I think that frankly the Democrats should be ashamed of some of the people in their party. I certainly wouldn’t become a Democrat today." If you're not ashamed about what's going on in the Republican party, then I don't really care what you think.
KJ (Tennessee)
Ryan Murphy noted that there is a larger proportion of psychopaths in Washington, D.C. than anywhere else in the United States. Seems obvious, when you look at the cut-throat dealings that have been going on there, and how much more blatant and greedy they have become since Big Psycho arrived. Being Republican is part of Larry Hogan's identity, but he seems to have a human streak that isn't common in the party. What a refreshing change it would be if more middle-of-the-road politicians with Hogan's attitude from both parties stepped up to the plate. People with a sense of purpose and duty that goes beyond themselves. Two philosophies can create discussion and balance in a civil situation. But will 'normal' individuals be exciting enough to garner more than local votes?
Tricia (California)
The extended emphasis on Trump and the Republican gets a little extreme. He is an unbalanced individual who has managed to get some cult followers. But Gingrich and the extreme right in the GOP is where this started. McConnell dismissing the US Constitution to block hearings for a Supreme Court nominee has continued it. We need to remember that an unwell traitor in the Oval Office would not be allowed if not for a complicit congress.
Vesuviano (Altadena, California)
As someone who grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and still pays attention to goings on in my old state, I am grateful for this interview. If I lived in Maryland still, however, I would not vote for Governor Hogan, though he seems like a nice man. What lost me was his false equivalency between the Republicans and the Democrats at the end of this piece. If at this point he is not ashamed of his party, then he is immoral. His party at this point might as well be called the American Fascist Party. I'm not pulling that out of my hat, by the way. There are 14 identifiers of fascism, and today's Republican Party to varying degrees practices all 14 of them. The Democrats have seriously lost their way, but nothing they've done can remotely compare to what today's Republicans are doing.
Susan (Paris)
Hogan says of Trump at the Helsinki news conference: “It was embarrassing. It was disappointing. But can you say the president needs to be removed from office because of his poor performance?” Mr. Hogan treats that disastrous press conference as if the problem was just one of “optics.” No, it was the President of the United States saying clearly and unequivocally that he accepted the word of Vladimir Putin over the evidence of our Intelligence agencies. I wouldn’t call that “embarrassing,” I’d call that treasonous and so should Mr. Hogan if he really believed in paying more than lip service to “country over party.”
jrd (ny)
Ah, another paean to "civility", "bipartisanship"and the kumbaya campfire songbook which centrist pundits love to tell us we long to hear (if never bothering to ask). Or, in plain language, TPP, entitlement cuts and status-quo neo-liberalism forever, and none of this silly democratic socialism talk. The ideal candidate in this world is a Republican running as a Democrat, which Bruni all but begs this governor to do. If only this columnist could find in his heart the same tolerance for actual liberals in the Democratic party -- centrists, in any other country, but never mind.
willw (CT)
Mr. Bruni says "fascinatingly", Massachusetts' very popular governor Baker is also Republican in a highly Democratic state when he compares Baker to Hogan in Maryland. It's fairly possible Connecticut will fall into a similar pattern when Mark Boughton (Danbury, CT) could be elected Governor. He is a Republican in a highly Democrat state.
rick (Lake County IL)
Hogan said it correctly: it's all about Trump, Trump, Trump and the questions of anyone's reactions to any of his current guttersnipe tweet. SOMEONE IN THE GOP WILL CHALLENGE THE TRUMP CLOWN IN 2019. And in the primary debates, I hope the reply to EVERY question will only be: repeating any of his tweets or false, ignorant statements since the 2015 campaign began. The end of the Trump presidency is going to be close at hand.
Nomi (Ct)
@rick I hope so. And i hope before we have not done any irreversible damage.
David (Binghamton, NY)
Based on this interview, I'm sorry that I don't live in Maryland so that I could vote for whoever is running against Hogan. His bland comments about Trump and the Republican Party merely serve to normalize the contagion and the affront to our democracy that Trump and the Republican Party represent. Hogan sounds like a typical politician who wants to have it both ways: he wants to distance himself from Trump just enough to appeal to the blue voters in his state but not so much that he risks alienating the red ones. But that's a luxury he cannot afford in a time of national crisis, such as this. Like it or not, silence gives consent. To refuse to denounce Trump's treason, his racism, xenophobia, bigotry, attacks on the press and daily lies is to give tacit consent to them. One is either part of the solution or part of the problem. Playing it safe and giving tacit consent to treason and corruption while trying to keep one's own hands clean is moral cowardice. Not only is it not part of the solution but it is precisely the problem with the Republican Party in the era of Trump.
Desert Rat (Palm Springs)
Very interesting interview. I've known of Governor Hogan for a while and have always thought highly of him on many things. However, this interview seems to reveal someone who is attempting to have it both ways. He claims to disavow the current leader of the Republican party but is not strong enough to take a real stand. And that is the problem. Party above integrity. And I detect a case of "Fear of Tweet". This is a major ailment of most GOP members and I find it very depressing. They don't have the guts to call out someone like Trump because they ultimately lack courage and conviction. It's also a bit alarming to read that the Governor believes things will get back to normal and be okay....someday. NOT if people like him remain cowering in the shadows.
herzliebster (Connecticut)
@Desert Rat "All that has to happen in order for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." I get that he is sticking to local government and local issues. But not to have the courage to either confront his party or leave it --
Jean (Cleary)
Thank you Frank Bruni for reminding me there are some thoughtful, centrist Governors that are Republican. And there are some Centrist Governors that are Democrats. Hopefully this bodes well for our future. That said, we are stuck with the pervasiveness of Trump and the RNC. The question is when will the madness end. Even though all Governors need to answer to the voters in their States this does not preclude them from speaking out firmly and loudly against Trump, the RNC and the Congress. They have a bully pulpit and should use it if they actually think that Trump and his cohorts are endangering this nation. After all, every time something bad happens in Washington, it affects the voters in every State. I do think the Maryland voters have a very good Governor and should give him another term. I know this would be heresy to the Democrats, but you need to give a person their due, irregardless of party. If there is one lesson to be learned from the fiasco of the 2016 election it is this: Party should never become more important than the State or the Country. This is where so many of the politicians have failed us. There are a lot of social issues that need to be solved if we are to survive as a country. This will take both caring Republicans and Democrats together. These social issues should not continue to be labeled as "leftists" issues. They are human issues. I would think that whether you are left, right or center your humanity is more important than ideology.
Anita (Mississippi)
Until recently I lived in Maryland and I thought Hogan to be a great governor. He does his job. I didn't agree with everything, but for the most part, he did his job. He does a great job of pointing out what's wrong with media coverage these days. This should have been an interview about Maryland, Hogan, and the Republican Party. Instead, it was an interview about Trump. Mr. Bruni, you like the other guys, should move on. All this harping about Trump is not doing your cause any good and in fact is causing harm as people tune out. Just for the record, I'm a registered Democrat.
MyOwnWoman (MO)
Hogan's unfair and inaccurate branding of his Democratic opponent as a radical socialist clearly demonstrates that he's using the traditional GOP play book, which demonstrates he's not the centrist he pretends to be. Although Hogan may not publicly identify with or fully agree with DT or the Trumpist Republicans this does not mean he is not affiliated with the current GOP controlled congress that has enabled Trump to forget entirely about the vast majority of the populace. In fact his moderate stance on Trump means he does not grasp the extreme harm Trump and his GOP buddies are consistently doing to the country. Every Republican politician needs to be voted out in a massive wave of blue this November in order to Make America America Again.
cfluder (Manchester, MI)
@MyOwnWoman, you are absolutely correct! We need to rid this country of the cancer that is the modern GOP. Their regressive policies that foster relentless and increasingly rapid redistribution of wealth and income into the hands of the .1% are reason enough to consign them to the dustbin of history. Then, of course, there's the reckless disregard for the environment; pandering to racists, homophobes, and religious busy-bodies who wish to deny women dominion over their own bodies and reproductive choices; and breathtaking levels of corruption in public office, to say nothing of trashing decades-long relationships with our allies and clownish interactions with foreign dictators---a very toxic brew indeed. Sorry, Gov. Hogan. By remaining in this party, you are complicit in this moral train wreck. Vote straight Dem in November!! The Dems certainly are not perfect, but we need to take this country back from what the GOP has become and now stands for.
Beth S (MA)
I live in Massachusetts and will not be voting for Baker. The Koch brothers and the Republican Party are very close to the needed majority to call for a Constitutional Congress. No matter what they state the agenda to be, once seated, they can propose anything. I fear a world under a right-wing SCOTUS. That has been the case before and, historically, can swing left. But when my rights can be taken away by legislation is when our country will change forever.
Polestar (Ireland)
As a former long-time Maryland resident, I find Mr. Bruni’s failure to do more homework on Maryland issues, distressing. Where, for example, does Mr. Hogan stand on making the state’s income tax more progressive? What of his 2014 campaign pledge to cut state spending by 2% each year of his administration without affecting state services? How does he feel about Maryland U.S. Rep. Andy Harris’s full-throated support for the Trump administration or Maryland’s decline in education performance during his administration? The historical record of moderate Republican waffling on key issues speaks for itself.
athenasowl (phoenix)
Larry Hogan is one of those Republicans that I can live with. I would not vote for him. I disagree with his politics, but I can live with him. His hand off attitude towards Washington, is especially troubling. Nominees to the Federal bench, the dismantling of environmental standards, and any number of other issues that are centered in Washington all affect Maryland and the rest of the states. Sticking his head in the sand is not the right approach.
Greg (Baltimore)
Larry Hogan is “Christie-Lite” - same policies without the bullying. His first action as governor was to cancel the Red Line, the light rail line much need to take people from the struggling east side of the city to jobs downtown and on the west side. The vast majority of the funding for the Red Line would’ve come from the federal government. Hogan has also done nothing to get money to hire more well trained police officers for Baltimore. He may be doing his best to LOOK reasonable, but many of us here are on to his game.
JMM (Ballston Lake, NY)
@Greg Interesting local information not discussed in the article, but what explains his high approval rating then?
Duffy (Rockville)
@Greg He learned to tone it down but he is still making war on Baltimore. It plays well with rural Maryland. I'm not voting for him
Kathy Lollock (Santa Rosa, CA)
Upon reading both this conversation between Frank Bruni and Governor Hogan and many fine comments by readers, there are several issues that are fairly regularly being brought up. The first is Hogan's allegiance to Trump. Admittedly, although impressed with his moderation and his well-intentioned efforts to govern all his constituents in Maryland, I came away disappointed in his reluctance to criticize his Party's president...and his weak defense of the very justified Mueller investigation. He just doesn't seem to get the amorality and utter dishonesty of Mr. Trump along with his ruthlessness and inflammatory words and actions. The other big question is what is the Republican Party of now. My guess is that its trajectory over the last few decades has reached its destination...not an acme but a nadir. But for every action there is a reaction, and we see this vividly in politics. We hear the extremes because the extremes are the loudest...particularly on the Right of the spectrum. However, Hogan just may be correct about all those folks in the middle. We will find out in November if there is a Silent Majority who finally say, "Enough!"
Snip (Canada)
@Kathy Lollock It seems pretty clear to this reader that Hogan is definitely not a fan of Trump in any way, shape or form. I don't live in Md. so I don't know anything about Hogan's policies but it is very refreshing to read a Republican governor's clear distaste for DJT.
Kathy Lollock (Santa Rosa, CA)
@Snip - You are right, he's not a fan. But he is also not distancing himself enough from Trump. His words are "there" and probably because he needs to hold onto his Democratic base. But words are cheap. I see you are from Canada. Please believe me when I say that this so-called president's egregiousness and ruthlessness, to wit, taking immigrant kids from their parents, losing them, and for some, having "caregivers" molest them, has crossed a line with all decent people in the US. A Republican governor in a Deep Blue State needs to call Trump on his inhumanity and do it forcefully. I know our past GOP governor Arnold S. would have...
Phillip Hunt (Nh)
Perhaps democrats in democratic states are more willing to give credit to republican governors doing a good job than republicans will give to a similarly competent democratic governors. Partisan bias is not fully bipartisan. Republicans, politicians at least and certainly a portion of the base, are against all things Democratic. Democrats and the Democratic party, as a party that emphasizes and practices inclusion, are much more disposed to compromise and finding solutions.
t glover (Maryland, Eastern Shore)
Governor Hogan has kept his promise to avoid the culture wars, his policies have benefitted clean water and environmental stewardship, rational policies on hand gun sales, and women’s rights. The Governor’s attempt to focus the interview on his tenure in office rather than Trump’s was on point. I’m a democrat and plan to vote for Governor Hogan consistent with the commitment to Country over Party.
KB (Brewster,NY)
Gov. Hogan sounds way too rational and responsible to be a "republican", though certainly refreshing. Kind of odd that in the state of Md., the Dems could not find a candidate to win the office of governor despite owning the legislative branch. That being said, Hogan's appeal reflects the possibility, (though small), that the Country has the potential to become united again someday. At this point, I'll take any flicker of hope out there. I still however maintain the feeling that politicians like Hogan are very few and far between in the republican party. There will be much more punishment in store for us, I suspect, before rationality takes back the political reigns in the Divided States.
Frank Roseavelt (New Jersey)
His comments in the interview regarding Ben Jealous, and his opposition to infrastructure improvements in Baltimore reveal him to be the typical de-regulation, tax cuts for the wealthy Republican. Maryland's Democratic legislature and Hogan's desire for a second term has tempered these instincts so far. We saw a similar show in NJ with Christie who became far more partisan and ideological in his second term. Additionally and more importantly, in this national emergency it is imperative that Democrats vote D for every possible office. Only if there is a national Democratic landslide across the board will responsible Republicans begin to abandon Trump.
Stephen (College Park, MD)
In 2014 I left the Governor's line blank as I couldn't imagine voting for either Brown or Hogan. Four years later, I'm baffled by Hogan's popularity and will be voting against him. I'm worried about the long-term implications of the car-oriented focus of his transportation policies (cancelling instead of approving the Red Line, shifting funding of the Purple Line to local governments, plans to widen highways), his inattention to the storm water management projects that were supposed be funded by fees (a "rain tax" no longer sounds so funny in Ellicott City), and his failure to acknowledge issues of race and racial justice (his crime plan is pretty traditional "law and order" and tellingly on his campaign site his "economic" proposals for Baltimore are in the Crime section and not the economic section). And he sent the Maryland National Guard to the border after Trump announced the child separation policy, only pulling them when it became controversial. So, he's been competent, small things have happened, and he's kept his head down on controversial national issues; maybe this is sufficient for most Marylanders.
John Grillo (Edgewater,MD)
Possessing a national reputation and not employing it to forcefully speak out against the democracy-threatening actions of the current Fake, and probably Treasonous, President is unacceptable and nothing short of political cowardice, like so many complicit Congressional Republicans. There is beyond enough evidence to take a patriotic, principled stand against the authoritarian in the White House. Civic duties do not stop at the borders of one’s own state. Voters will remember those officials who remained mute at the country’s time of peril.
Duffy (Rockville)
I live in Maryland and I will not vote for Larry Hogan. The Maryland legislature controls the state and keeps him from doing any of the damage that he would like to do. His main accomplishment is lowering the toll on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I will not vote for him because though he does show up for disasters like floods in Ellicott City promising to rebuild businesses he was conspicuously absent at last years Silver Spring apartment explosion. Why? 7 immigrants were killed including a 3 year old who slipped from his mother's grasp into the burning inferno. The fire made headlines, the gas explosion was seemingly the fault of a building owner's sloppiness. Lots of tv crews but no governor, just an early morning visit from Lt. Governor what's his name anyway. Its okay, the child's mother was from El Salvador. Larry can't be seen treating her like a human being. Larry showed up for the Annapolis Yacht Club fire. He even cried. So sad. But when brown people die Larry is absent. Nothing to say. He is a true Republican to the core. What does he think of Trump? I don't know, he doesn't talk to us in Maryland about that. He might lose his antebellum south MD eastern shore base if he did.
RB (MD)
I'm a Marylander (originally from NY), and think this column enabled Hogan to paint rosy rainbows on black marks on this record. He says he didn't speak out against the Muslim ban because it didn't affect people in Maryland? No, that's not accurate, I was one of his many constituents who called his office to implore him to take a stand on the Muslim ban due to its detrimental effects and was dismissed by his staff. More tellingly, Hogan was sued by the ACLU because he repeatedly removed constituent comments on his public Facebook page urging him to denounce the Muslim ban. The ACLU won and Hogan was told that he couldn't censor opinions counter to his own. So no, Hogan is not a Democrat in Republican clothing. Far from it. He's cut funding for education, and Maryland's status in the school rankings have declined. As a concerned parent and citizen, I have no intention of voting for him this fall.
Carol (Somewhere on the Sassafras)
@RB Thank you for bringing up the FB and education issues. His stance and actions on public transit also are disastrous and backward as well, committed as he is to more roads and more cars on those roads. I am also concerned that he will not be so moderate if he is reelected because his next term is his last as governor. Without a Democratic legislature with the power to override his vetoes, where would he have taken Maryland?
Gnirol (Tokyo, Japan)
Gov. Hogan makes a great deal of the fact that he is focused on local issues and doesn't want to comment on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, for example. Setting aside the fact that it is hard to imagine that the Court, with a Justice Kavanaugh sitting on it, is never going to make a decision that affects the citizens of Maryland locally in the next thirty years, I wonder if Times reporters could check back over the last four or five years during his last campaign and tenure in office, and find out if Gov. Hogan has been scrupulous in avoiding talking about matters that come under the purview of Congress, or whether he is selective in his adherence to that principle based on the effect it might have on his own political fortunes. We've all heard politicians of all stripes and at all levels refuse to answer questions that, for example, require them to speculate about what might happen, when they realize that speculating would put them on record on an issue they don't want to be called on later. They firmly insist that they don't answer speculative questions until a matter actually comes before them. Then, two minutes later in the same interview, they go right ahead and speculate on the consequences of some other action that reflects badly on the opposing party. Is Gov. Hogan actually focused only on local Maryland issues? If so, has that been proved to be beneficial to his state and its residents? I hope so.
CF (Massachusetts)
Hogan is just another one of these "Democrats are just as bad and maybe worse" Republicans. You mention several well-liked Republican governors in Democratic states, including my own Charlie Baker. I liked him well enough until he announced he was supporting Chris Christie as the Republican nominee for the presidency. Seriously? Governors surely know that they set the tone in their administration. Did Baker really buy into the ridiculous notion that Christie knew absolutely nothing about the GW Bridge lane closings? Then, Baker tells us all he'd rather not host Syrian refugees in Massachusetts. Again, seriously? American policies have caused such turmoil in the Middle East that people must flee, and Massachusetts should close its doors to them? Does Baker have no sense of humanity at all? In a rather short period I came to see Baker as just another Republican hack. A lot of people just stick with the devil they know, and that's what's happening here. Democrats are all: "well, he seems to get along with everybody and nothing bad is happening so that's good, why rock the boat?" I wouldn't call that "popularity." Charlie Baker is not a bad guy, but I'm paying attention to all the candidates and all the issues that impact my state. Maryland voters should be doing the same.
Jon (Cambridge, MA)
@CF I think that Baker reflects the will of the people of MA in regards to Syrian refugees. In a hypothetical world where this was constitutional, I’d have a hard time believing they’d be pro their settling if the question was posed on the ballot. That being said, I infer that Baker is only voicing his opinion on a European style open border in general; he just mentions the potential effects on MA in specific because that is the sole domain of his office. I must point out though, it is not up to the citizens of MA whether to accept refugees; that is the domain of the federal government. If the federal government decides that it wants to absorb refugees, then MA would have no basis by which to deny their right to settle therein (see the 14th amendment). Given Baker’s lack of a role in the federal government, one could question the appropriateness of his commenting on the issue to begin with, as this really is more the domain of a senator or a member of the house, but I don’t think his opinion is outside the mainstream, and this article seems to have spent much time advocating that state officials with no federal role should still speak out on federal policy even when it doesn’t directly affect their state, so.... American federalism seems alive and well, and people really do have different desires for their state vs. federally elected officials, so perhaps your call for adherence to left-wings ideals throughout is outside the mainstream.
ADN (New York City)
@Jon. “…your call for adherence to left-wing ideals.“ Huh? That’s just totally made up. Where was there any call for anything like that? I read that twice up there and there’s no such thing. Can Republicans go more than 30 seconds without screaming “left winger“ at anybody who doesn’t support the thugs and crooks running the country? How utterly pathetic.
Diana (Centennial)
A very impressive interview Frank. I am a left-leaning Democrat, and I really admired Governor Hogan's candor, and his truthfulness when answering your questions. He did not pull any punches nor sit on the fence. When most politicians are interviewed they usually give non-answers to questions. His responses were refreshing in their honesty. His allegiance to running the state of Maryland and largely staying out of politics at the national level is admirable. He serves as an example of a decent Republican and politician. He supports paid sick leave, a ban on fracking, backs reasonable gun control measures, and signed into law the most expansive birth control bill in the country in May 2016. He did not endorse Trump for president. Would that the Republican party had more centrists like Governor Hogan, our country would be far better off, and perhaps there would be a return to bi-partisan cooperation and sanity in Congress. I don't know if he has national aspirations, but even as an unknown, he would certainly have been a far better choice to run for President than any of the far right, totally unacceptable Republican candidates who vied to run for the presidency in 2016. Had he become president, I would not have felt absolutely crushed the way I did when Trump won. That feeling of being crushed, gets worse with each passing day. However, this article actually did buoy my spirits slightly, and made me think for a moment that maybe, just maybe there is some hope out there.
NM (NY)
Great that Mr. Hogan can focus more on his responsibilities to his state and less on partisanship. There have been other Republicans in recent memory who governed blue states as centrists, too, like George Pataki and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But remember that governors operate more independently of a national party than do other politicians. The larger political structure leaves governors as state leaders and less beholden to national leaders. Governors show a lot more leeway than do members of Congress, who really should have their feet held to the fire in terms of supporting Trump. And so between now and the midterms, we should not take our eyes off the prize: Congress. Republicans unwilling to hold Trump accountable for behavior clearly un-adult and worse don't deserve their seats. The House and Senate, under GOP control, are no more than an extension of the Trump administration. They are supposed to be a separate power. Anyone compelled to toe Trump's line should be voted against. Bring in the adults!
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@NM: Pataki may have seemed like a centrist to you, but to me he seemed like a liar who broke every decent promise.
Michael Judge (Washington DC)
As a born and bred child of Maryland, and a devout Democrat, I want to say that I love Larry Hogan. He is a Republican in the mold of our fondly remembered Representative Connie Morella—no nonsense, no slave to ideology, a true public servant. He cares about our business people, like the crabbers, but also about the health of the great Chesapeake Bay that sustains their livelihood. He cares about industry, but also about the sanctity of our beaches and mountain parks. He never demonizes his opponents, but meets them in fair debate. He is no stranger to compromise. He is exemplary in every way, the opposite of You Know Who. And he let our kids have summer until after Labor Day! A great American.
liz (southern MD)
You had me until the until the school comment. I remain angry that Gov Hogan made that unilateral top-down decision. Some families get a late August trip to the beach at the expense of underprivileged children (who depend on school for 2 meals a day and are disproportionately affected by the summer slide). Seems like an unfair trade to me.
Samira Phillips (Baltimore, MD)
This was a very interesting interview. As a longtime Maryland/Baltimore City resident and Democrat, I agree that Hogan has been more moderate and definitely more palatable than our previous Republican governor. But I think the real reason he won was that the Democrats simply did not have a strong and highly visible candidate in Anthony Brown. Hogan ran the better campaign. Soon after he took office, Baltimore was rocked by the death of Freddie Gray and it looked briefly as though Hogan would step up to work with city leaders and offer real support. Instead, two months later he canceled funding for the Red Line, a public transportation project many years in the making that could have been a huge step forward in public transportation within the city limits of Baltimore as opposed to our previous light rail and subway projects built mainly for the convenience of suburban residents. After that June surprise, I feel that he is not to be trusted (and his actions regarding the allocation of resources for Baltimore City schools confirm that for me). I fear that should he win a second term and is free from having to worry about being re-elected we will see a less moderate Governor Hogan.
rich (hutchinson isl. fl)
America will either continue as a democratic republic, or it will have a king named Donald, who is above the law. It is mainly in the hands of the Republican Party and we will hold accountable those who fail to recognize that fact.
Max duPont (NYC)
Sorry Hogan, if you're not actively -and publicly - against Trump then you're with him.
Mark Smith (Baltimore, MD)
@Max duPont This comment is not what most Marylanders think. This is the message Ben Jealous will try and put out, and it will cost him. Most Democrats know Hogan is not Trump in fact he is more democratic than Republican. The state of Maryland will simply not vote in a socialist over a real moderate doing great things for MD. Just won't happen, and the polls say that.
Southern Man (Atlanta, GA)
I see many commenters here suggesting that anti-Trump Republicans vote Democrat in protest. Don't get your hopes up. Most of the "real Republicans" like me, and apparently like Larry Hogan, are not about to accept being bled to death by the Democrat "doctor" just to cure a Trumpian head cold. Why? Because we are not socialists, collectivists, or atheists. We believe in the rule of law, for which our CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC stands, rather than the whims of the democratic mob. We actually love the USA, and we respect the military that protects it. We don't think transgender bathrooms are the most pressing issue facing our country. We like to hunt, which means we like being able to own a gun. We believe that the climate change (yes, it is real) hysteria is a lot more RED than it is Green. While we admire and respect immigrants (especially legal ones), we do not feel that the USA should have open borders. And though we may not like Trump, we are not about to throw the Republican baby out with his bath water.
MaxD (NYC)
no one is more red than your man Trump. he, and therefore the gop, had been paid for and bought by the Russians. so much for having the reds, they own you now.
Andrew Zuckerman (Port Washington, NY)
@Southern Man Great comment. It tells the Democrats among us why it is futile to waste energy trying to persuade Republican reactionaries and religious fanatics to join Democrats in their efforts to fight Trump authoritarianism. Your claim to love the Constitutional Republic that is the United States is phony. You love America as long as it is controlled exclusively (and I do mean exclusively) by white Christian lovers of racist authoritarian rule.
woodswoman (boston)
@Southern Man Sir, I hope you will allow me to make one correction to your otherwise well outlined statement: Donald Trump is not some irritating "head cold" that will eventually clear up, he is a fatal cancer who, if not removed, will be the death of democracy in this country. We have just heard him say he will destroy anyone who "Dares to defy" him. Only a dictator speaks like that, only a despot destroys those who criticize or oppose him. Trump has aligned himself with Putin and Kim Jong Un for a reason, he sees himself becoming as they are: Masters Of All with unlimited power. The issues you focus on should be spoken of and considered by us, but if first your party does not stand up to this Dictator-in-Waiting, there will be no movement towards bipartisanship, no reconciliation, both of which we need so desperately right now. Your freedoms are at stake, just as much as ours,make no mistake about it.
DebbieR (Brookline, MA)
Two Republican Senators willing to caucus with the Democrats is all it would take to break up the Trump's Amen corner in congress. Two Republicans willing to acknowledge that McConnell crossed the line when he blocked the nomination of Merrick Garland, that he abdicated responsibility when he failed to hold Trump accountable for his lies, that he is an abettor to Trump's self dealing while in offices by refusing to demand that he display his tax returns, that he opposed the ACA despite his own constituents benefitting from it, and that the tax cuts he passed are going to make the deficit worse. Two Republican Senators willing to cross party lines to caucus with the Democrats. And what does Larry Hogan say? "I wouldn’t say I’m ashamed of the party. I’m sometimes embarrassed by some of the people in the party. I think that frankly the Democrats should be ashamed of some of the people in their party. I certainly wouldn’t become a Democrat today." Frank, wake up. The Republican party of today IS the party of Larry Hogan and remains in control thanks to people like Larry Hogan. These people ignore what Trump "says" and look at what he "does" and think it's preferable to what Democrats would do. And the Republican leadership reciprocates. Let the governors do/say whatever they want within their states, so long as they don't shift the balance of power in Washington.
awilson5280 (Denver, CO)
The closing line - "...I don't imagine he's going to be around forever." - misunderstands the state of today's Republican Party. Trump has run for president before. There's a reason why he got traction this time. There's a reason why his approval ratings among Republicans is in the high eighties. The reason is because Trump is the Republican base, and the Republican base identifies with Trump. At some point, the personality cult will crumble a bit and some of the diehards will see Trump as less than superhuman. Still, he would not be in office unless his rhetorical tone and his policy decisions matched what Republicans want. Governor Hogan sounds like a decent guy, but he has a blind spot here. The policies and personalities of the Republican Party are driven by the attitudes and beliefs of the party's base. These attitudes and beliefs have gone so far away from reality that it is going to take a lot of time and perhaps a significant national humbling for them to change.
Human (Maryland)
@awilson5280 Hogan is a decent guy. The Republican party in Maryland has had a tradition of being a more moderate place than the national Republican party. To be elected governor in Maryland, a Republican must run toward the center. It is just a reality. Trump's brand of rabble-rousing just doesn't work here. I can think of two possible reasons why Marylanders favor the center, even while they allow more vocal strands of the two parties to have their say. One: We are geographically very small, and tend to see the individuals running often in person. The political folks all know each other, eat at the same restaurants, and meet each other on the narrow 18th century sidewalks of Annapolis. Members of the parties would get nothing done if they did not work together. Two: We have 3 months from January to early April when the legislature meets. The governor proposes the budget, but the legislature can change it, so no matter who is governor, they will have more success by working with the legislature. It is a very intense time, where delegates and senators and the governor work very hard with little time off. The last two weeks in March and first week in April are a race to finish bills and vote before midnight on the last day, when the gavel falls. The rest of the year, the governor runs the state, checked by knowing his actions will affect his success in the next legislative session. The dance between the governor and the legislature is more important than party.
ChesBay (Maryland)
awilson5280--The tRump base loves tRump because he hates what they hate. It's all about hate. It has nothing to do with the respectability, leadership, security, prosperity, and common good, of the United States of America. I'd love to find an island, somewhere, that would accommodate all these people, with tRump as their dear leader.
Maggie Mae (Massachusetts)
A quick aside: It's not at all out of the ordinary for Massachusetts to have a Republican governor. We have them frequently. In the years I’ve lived here, we’ve had six in addition to Charlie Baker (and only three Democrats). If you know Massachusetts, you know there are conservative/business-friendly/libertarian strains across the Commonwealth. Our Republican governors reflect that fact. And all share a certain liberality, especially on social issues, that runs counter to the current Republican Party line (even Mr. Romney, when he was here).
Mark (Philly)
I mean, he's still a guy who cancelled a major transportation infrastructure project that would enable poor people in Baltimore to get more easily to where jobs are in the outlying areas and shifted that money to a transportation infrastructure project that will help reduce congestion for suburban and exurban commuters -- a hugely regressive move. He's still a guy who centered his campaign messaging on deceptive framing of smart taxes and fees and then worked to get rid of those smart taxes and investments in future sustainability (e.g., rainwater run-off). The bar is set SO LOW for any Republican with a modicum of decency.
David Izzo (Durham NC)
Hogan may be a popular politician (and he IS a politician) but he says he serves the people of Maryland and this is his excuse for not speaking out on national issues. Apparently, the president, congress and their agenda have no effect on the people of Maryland. Despite his popularity, I find Hogan to be another con man.
Nic (Harlem)
Why doesn't he and the Republican governor in Massachusetts switch parties? There have been many democrats that become Republican in very Red states.
Dorota (Holmdel)
"They want bipartisanship. Everybody wants that? Most people. There’s a small percentage on the left that doesn’t want it. There’s a small percentage on the right. Our polling shows that that’s about 15 percent on either end." Hogan's answer reminds one of Trump's infamous defense of white nationalists protesters in Charlottesville , "You also had some fine people on both sides." To say that 15 percent of Republicans want partisanship is in stark contrast to the the June Gallup poll that shows that Trump's approval rating among Republicans stood at 87 per cent. Centrists, my foot!
franko (Houston)
If Gov. Hogan is a Republican, why are his positions on clean air, clean water, health care, and the border essentially liberal Democratic positions?
DREU (BestCity)
There is another example of hoganism, Massachusetts. On the surface, the governor seems popular and a good governor. For some reason, liberal Massachusetts is enchanted by the no drama term of Baker. But when you actually stop and dig into detail: 1. The governor is always missing in action when something gets to hot for the GOP and he is confronted 2. Public transportation is exhausting. People are so used to bad trains they don’t notice this is part of his function and don’t challenge him 3. He has not had a real winter to be tested 4. If you drive through Massachusetts, roads are in terrible condition. The last time there was real road work (besides 95 that it is interstate and eternally under construction) was under Duval Patrick 5. Opioid crisis. We only hear statistics about people not dying as much from overdose (science has made possible to reverse overdose with a drug) but we never hear if people are actually doing less overdosing, if they are recovering at a higher rate. 6. Cost of living...no words...or just words 7. He had to be shamed when the children were separated from parents at the border. He was about to send national guard without hesitation but finally people felt so strong about it that he back pedaled. 8. In State Tuition...like private education cost. Unless kids go to Amherst, the other campuses are not equal in quality and opportunities. 9. Did i say, public transportation? Let me say it again. So i hope he doesn’t get a free ride in November.
I'm Just Sayin' (Washington DC)
Unfortunately, good republican or bad republican is not really an option at the present time. The only way to send a message to the GOP that they need to step-up and combat the madness emanating from the White House is to make "R" the scarlet letter of the 2018 election regardless of the office.
Kate S. (Reston, VA)
Frank, Actually I agree with Hogan--after a point in the interview, you were just baiting and badgering him to denounce Trump. -- It was a good interview on both sides -- you asked good questions and Hogan answered thoughtfully and carefully. As a Democrat in Massachusetts I have voted for Republican governnors when they were willing to work with both parties to get things done. So quit while you are ahead. You got meaningful responses from your subject. That's plenty to present to you readers.
Steven (New York)
A very weird and irritating interview. The governor begins by saying that he's a local guy, running the state, and that he therefore doesn't really need to think about or comment about what Trump is doing, Bruni spends the rest of the interview asking him about what Trump is doing, and the governor demurs. But there is a legitimate issue in here - how does the governor of a state conclude that national politics are just irrelevant to him? Is Maryland not part of the Union? He acts as though he is the Prime Minister of France (but, as we know, the positions of the United States affects Europe as well). This argument is disingenuous, to say the least, but Bruni never presses it. Then the governor spends a lot of time attacking the supposed extremism of the Democratic Party, dragging out the old erroneous standby that the problem with American politics is that both parties are unreasonable. It is simply not the case that Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama, for example, are just like Trump, but on the left, and that the answer lies exactly in the middle between them; this whole "pox on both your houses" idea is wrong. In America today, the Trump party is the problem, not the Democrats. Then the governor misrepresents the positions of his opponent. He sounds like a cynical politician to me. This is the future of the Republican Party?
Eric (Seattle)
The man certainly has a point. He doesn't want to be questioned about his positions on Donald Trump. But about how he wants to run his state. Is that fair for a Republican? I don't think so. What is going on in the WH is so terrifying that yes, every politician, especially a Republican, needs to identify themselves in relationship to it. The Republican party represents a lot of awful things these days. You don't need to talk about DT. Taxation. Health care. Environment. Climate change. and etc. Horrible policies. Why would you be in that party if you are a decent person? The governor really needs to explain.
PropagandandTreason (uk)
The November elections will re-set the political mistake that America made, with the help of the Russians in favor of Trump. The very political reality of this terrible mistake is screaming out for the elections to get back to the way that American democracy should function, without any external agents acting to prevent the democratic process from working for the American people. There are Republicans who disagree with Trump's racist agenda, but they are silent, and this silence is a form of collusion. Can't wait for the November elections, and have the checks and balances that the Founding Fathers wrote into the Constitution.
Walking Man (Glenmont , NY)
Gov. Hogan is hedging his bets. Keep your head down and be invisible seems to be his approach. And probably a smart move. THE only reason for a politician to stand behind Trump is if s(he) has national aspirations. If he were a Republican Senator from Maryland, he would have to get in lockstep with his party and not criticize Trump or stand to lose any legislative support for his state. Watch what happens to California as Trump will be willing to let it burn to the ground because Governor Brown opposes him. Just as Trump did in Puerto Rico. It's probably a smart move to just be governor for a couple of terms then return to the private sector. Why would anyone want to jump from the frying pan into the fire when the first order of business is to sell your soul to Trump and his followers? Because rational, moral people do look at themselves in the mirror every day. And they want to like what they see. And not just accept what the image has become in order to get elected.
Eric Cosh (Phoenix, Arizona)
Great interview! Is Maryland a microcosm of American politics? NOT even close. My only criticism of Gov Hogan is that he’s still sitting on the fence with regards to Trump. If after over 3,000 lies, siding with Putin over our own intelligence, destroying our image around the world, and clearly destroying The Republican Party, it’s not enough to just say, “I don’t like many of the things that he’s doing.” You are a leader in a blue state. Why? Because the people see someone, regardless of party, who’s working for them. It’s time for YOU to step up to the plate and call out not only Trump, but fellow so-called Obsequious Republicans who continue to support him. That’s what a true leader does! You may strike out, but you may also hit a Home Run.
David D (Decatur, GA)
Why does the GOP have to belong to Trump or Hogan? The truth is the rank and file membership of the new GOP doesn't belong to either. They belong to the legions of angry misfits of every generation who look at the lives of others with jealousy and greed. It doesn't matter if the rank and file don't want the hard jobs or want to make efforts to change themselves. They only want to live in their insular worlds where they can scapegoat their own failures on others.
Andrea Landry (Lynn, MA)
He definitely is the man for the job as far as Governor of Maryland but he sidestepped Trump issues, the main one being Trump's attack on our Constitution, our democracy, his racism, and the fact he hates Democrats and won't allow Congress to operate efficiently and in a bipartisan manner, as they should. Our own governor got elected as he is the best man for the job, and his party was a secondary issue for us.
sab (Maryland)
Hogan has been ok but I will never vote for a Republican again in my lifetime after watching the party’s complicity in Trump’s corruption and hate. Hogan is part of that no matter how he tries to dance around it and I don’t trust him to not pull off the mask in the second term. I fully expect Hogan to move hard to the right if he wins (he will win because Democrats love to mess up). He has national aspirations and with the current state of our national politics that’s who the party wants. Watch out MD!
ed connor (camp springs, md)
Democrats may have a 2 to 1 registration edge in Maryland, but they're not stupid. Hogan won four years ago because his opponent ran as Martin O'Malley's third term. And O'Malley raised taxes on "the rich" (households who earn over $150K). Most of them live in Montgomery County. They can move across the Potomac River to Fairfax County, where they will find the same schools, the same home values, the same commuting times...and taxes 33% lower. Ben Jealous, who is not a Marylander, wants to raise taxes on "the rich" to fund the full Democratic -Socialist agenda, on a statewide basis. He will meet the same fate as O'Malley's successor. People who earn a living and pay taxes, even in Maryland, don't want to become piggy banks for the D's chosen interest groups.
ChesBay (Maryland)
ed connor--The rich SHOULD be our piggy banks. That's kind of coarse, but the wealthy have been receiving so much more welfare, for decades, while the rest of us go wanting. The rich are not paying their fair share. It's time for an equitable tax code, where everyone pays according to their ability to pay. Continued extreme income inequality will be the the impetus for nationwide violence, and destruction. That will threaten our security, and any national unity, we might otherwise enjoy. It would be better if the rich just developed their sense of fairness, equality, and altruism, on their own. It will be more profitable, for them, in the end. No justice, no peace.
ChesBay (Maryland)
I don't care whose Republican party, it is, in Maryland. Hogan was elected only because Democrat, Anthony Brown, was such a miserable candidate. Now, we have highly experienced Ben Jealous, a superb candidate, and I believe he will be elected in this usually very blue state. It'll be a relief to have a Democrat at the helm, once again.
Julie R (Washington/Michigan)
A palatable republican governor in a blue state or a purple state like mine, Michigan, depends on the house. Many Dems, myself included, voted for Rick Snyder (R) for governor. He also claimed to be a moderate not interested in culture wars. But for 8 years, the hard right Republican majority walked all over Snyder, went around him when they could and got him to roll over when he shouldn't have. Snyder became a Trojan horse with the religious zealots and Tea Party hiding within. I'll never vote for a moderate Republican again.
Chris (Bethesda MD)
I've lived in Maryland nearly all my life, and I'm a registered Democrat who votes in every election. I will be voting for Governor Hogan on 6 November. While it would be tempting to punish him and his party, it wouldn't be pragmatic. Governor Hogan has led this state very well during his first term, and he's that incredible rarity of a leader who learns from the mistakes of history. Unlike Robert Ehrlich, our last Republican governor who ruled with an amazing arrogance, Hogan almost always seeks to work out a middle ground with the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Neither side gets everything they want, but both sides get something, which is how democracy is supposed to work. As far as Ben Jealous is concerned, after the 2016 presidential election I swore that I would NEVER elect anyone to an executive position who hadn't served in a legislative role. Jealous is all hat and no cattle. He energizes that 15% of the Democratic party who wants to usher in a new breath of socialism, but he never tells anyone how he's going to pay for all of his programs. His rhetoric has a suspicious whiff of "it's going to be the greatest health care system, the greatest infrastructure program, you're gonna get tired of winning". Sound familiar?
David Ohman (Denver)
Gov. Hogan should be the standard bearer for a new Republican Party if they have any chance of recovering any shred of dignity, of standing on the moral high ground. The long road of planning for, and taking, power at the expense of the American People looks more and more like a slippery slope of moral decay. They ARE the "swamp" creatures of D.C. It is a fact that Republicans occupy 33 governors mansions today. That is a lot of control for each of those states. Bruni mentions Hogan-like moderate Republican governors in and MA, FL and VT. Whereas, the other Republican governors act more like the spineless, power-mad members of the GOP-run Congress. They are not party leaders. They are party despots and they are dragging the country to the abyss. Perhaps those few moderate governors should go on the stump to support moderate GOP candidates running on the idea of actually doing the job of governin, Oh, WAIT! Try and FIND a moderate Republican seeking office at any level — local, state or federal. The extremist conservative groups such as The Federalist Society, The Heritage Foundation, Freedom Caucus, Tea Party, and of course, the leaders of extremism including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Grover Torquiest, have rid the former Party of Lincoln of nearly all moderates in the House and Senate. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins are the only remaining "moderates" but they usually cave to party pressure. But give Gov. Hogan his due. He is a rare moderate.
Ichabod Aikem (Cape Cod)
For Hogan to say that for one thing Trump is a different person one on one than the persona you see out there makes Hogan another Trump enabler. I wouldn’t vote for him or Charlie Baker because neither of them are criticizing Trump for his treasonous behavior with Putin. What aren’t they insisting that the elections in their states are made tamper proof from Russian hacking? Theirs should be the voice of reason to criticize Trump, yet they’re concerned with their own political futures. Unless they separate fromTrump’s calling the press the enemy of the people, unless they call out separating families at the borders, until they publicly support our intelligence services for the commendable work they do to maintain our security, they will just be Trump’s hacks. Step up and do the work of the people by protecting our country from brutish dictators.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Today’s Republican Party is one of complicity and obstruction. They have no desire to do their job and fix issues as those issues motivate the base to turn out. The only thing they do is give tax breaks to donors and socialize corporate costs and malfeasance to tax payers. Voting republican is bad for your health and your future and your sanity.
ASD32 (CA)
I am not a resident of Maryland but if I were, I would not vote for Hogan. Even though he’s anti-Trump lite, he’s still a Republican and Republicans need to be thrown out at every level of government. The party, such as it is, needs to be thoroughly rejected at the polls this November. If midterms are de facto referendums on a presidency, then all Republicans must reckon with the consequences of their obsequiousness to the con man who leads their party. Vote Jealous this November!
Ali (Marin County, CA)
@ASD32 You remind me of why I recently left California. California is in my mind the most intolerant state in this country - you either support a sanctuary state and de facto open borders or you're a xenophobic racist. There's no other explanation allowed and no debate to be had. California is not the land of diverse viewpoints and nuance when it comes to big-picture policy debates - you either hew to the most liberal interpretation possible, or you're a monster.
Jay Orchard (Miami Beach)
Suggesting that Governor Hogan resign from the Republican party because of Trump is no different than asking moderates to resign from the Democratic party because of Maxine Waters. Plus, the only realistic chance of the Republican party being snatched back from the clutches of Donald Trump is from the inside, not through the resignation of moderates like Governor Hogan.
FactionOfOne (Maryland)
I do admire Governor Hogan, but I cannot share his faith in the return of sanity to the GOP. The evangelical Christian theocratic hypocrisy, rejection of serious science, and service of extractive industries are permanent hallmarks. A reasonable person like Hogan seems an anachronism in GOP circles today.
Lynne (Usa)
First, is it right to say Jealous wants a 100% tax increase? Is that an accurate statement. Second, I’m from Massachusetts which I love dearly and I voted for Baker who I like a lot. I voted for Romney and I voted for Patrick. Baker and Romney said they wouldn’t raise taxes but both raised fees which was essentially the exact same things. But our citizens were ok with it. We tend to like the balance of Republican governors and Democratic legislatures. I’d say they’d all fall within the realm of Independents everyday off a calendar year. Baker doesn’t absolutely take hard stands on anything, maybe a handful of issues. He usually responds by starting a a task force for everything. And when push comes to shove, he has the Commonwealth’s back. I think Mr. Hogan appears to be in line with Charlie. But, I question the lack of speaking up against Trump. No offense, nobody cares anymore that he’s not a complete jerk behind closed doors. He’s setting up dangerous race and religious divides in this country. I’m sure many in the intelligence community reside in Maryland & they are being visciously attacked by this president. No GOP rep is standing up for them like they deserve. As far as Mueller, he’s uncovering crimes during this investigation. Is he supposed to ignore them? Police get called a on burglary & find a dead body. Beyond the original scope but a pretty big deal. Time for all GOP to speak up or your legacy won’t hold a candle to your predecessors who did regardless of risk.
Capite (Rural CT)
This was an extraordinarily poor interview. Too much Trump. Way to little examination of cross party governance and successful, at least from the electorate’s point of view, moderation of our current bipolar governing class. Let Trump be Trump. It is the only way to get rid of him. Focus instead on what brings us together, not what separates us.
Quincy Mass (NEPA)
When you’re down and troubled, you must remember the last sentence of this interview, and, if necessary, make it your mantra.
Dorota (Holmdel)
"Look, I’ve been a Republican since I was first registered to vote, since I was 18. I was right out of college when Reagan was running. I come from that kind of mold. Donald Trump was a Democrat until like three years ago, four years ago. He’s not a Republican." Frank, why not follow it up with a question whether McConnell, Ryan, Jordan, Meadows, Nunez, and their ilk are Republicans? And what is Hogan's opinion about the Republicans who denounced the Republican Party such as David Frum, Max Boot, Steve Schmidt, George Will, Peter Wehner, or Charlie Sykes?
Carl Zeitz (Lawrence, N.J.)
Hogan will defeat Jealous 60/40, demonstrating that the center has appeal and that when either party moves to its farther edges it will lose (yes, I think the Republicans are headed for a catastrophic election across the board this year except in this and a few other possible like instances and think equally the far left would lead the Democrats to a similar result in two years if it is not contained.) Bases do not elect in general elections. Middle independent do, making Hogan a cinch for reelection even in a royal blue year.
Bronwyn (Montpelier, VT)
Well, here's a rare bird. I wonder where Republicans like him hide out. The Republican Party is the Party of Trump today, and he represents something that appears to be very out of fashion in it, though a huge number of people would like to see something like a Centrist Party. So why not start one?
Barking Doggerel (America)
Other than lukewarm criticism of Trump, this guy is no profile in courage. For example, his refusal to comment on Brett Kavanaugh. So, Mr. Hogan, you're Governor of Maryland. And a Supreme Court nomination is not relevant? The probability that women in Maryland will lose abortion rights? The vulnerability of voting rights for all citizens in America, including Maryland? The safety of Maryland citizens when another Justice is a 2nd Amendment zealot? The likelihood that Kavanaugh would further erode the separation of church and state in ways that will affect Maryland citizens? Sorry, Mr. Hogan. This is an abdication of responsibility. The Supreme Court affects every American. That's the nature of the Court. Your constituents deserve to know where you stand on issues that will affect their lives more than nearly anything you might do as Governor.
Neither here nor there (Indiana)
Even as a liberal/progressive/whatever we call ourselves these days, this is a small bit of encouragement. Governance may come down to policy choices, but it begins with rhetoric and dialogue. That Mr. Hogan is candid and civil matters. He seems to base his views on something like a rational view of reality, and doesn't resort to the word salad of imprecations and fear mongering that too often passes for political discourse these days. If there are still leaders capable of this kind of sensibility, even if they are on what I view as the wrong side of just about every issue, there is at least some hope. But the threat posed by our primary system is real. We are a center-left country governed by a far-right minority. That imbalance will, if it hasn't already, lead to a crisis of legitimacy that there will be no easy solution to. It infects everything from local politics to presidential elections, and is driving both sides to further from the center as a matter of electoral strategy. It's why even Republicans who share Mr. Hogan's sensibilities so often acquiesce to the radicalization of their party. At least in red states and districts, they cannot survive primary challenges from the Trump/Tea Party/Evangelical wing of the party if they challenge Trump or the shrill orthodoxy driven by the "lock her up!" crowd. As long as we nominate our candidates in closed primaries, we are likely to see more radicalization in the future, not less.
David Breitkopf (238 Fort Washington Ave., NY., NY)
Mr. Bruni, while Hogan complained that you and every reporter only want to ask him about Trump these days, it would have been interesting to understand how in fact he is leading his state in a truly bipartisan way. What makes him persistently popular—a Republican in a blue state. What are his policies?
Larry Roth (Ravena, NY)
There's not really a great mystery here. The governors in question know they have to answer to the voters in those states - so they have to demonstrate competence in a way that serves the interests of all the people, red, blue, or indifferent. Voters will tolerate a lot if they think they are actually getting what they want and need from their elected officials, regardless of party affiliation. It's where you see states where officials can count on their party affiliation giving them a sure thing at the polls that you begin to see who they really work for. That's where governance too often descends into blatant partisanship. Party over country becomes the rule when it's the party that puts you in power. The problem for people like Hogan is that the national Republican Party has gone insane - and that tends to trickle down. Given that the efforts of him and the handful of others like him still give the party a pretense of legitimacy, it's only a question of how long that pretense can hold. If Hogan wants to make a difference, he has to reject Trump and all he stands for. That may be political suicide today - but it's the only choice for the long run.
Duane McPherson (Groveland, NY)
Another attempt by Frank Bruni to push Democrats toward the right. Mr. Bruni seems afraid that Democrats will campaign too much on jobs, health care, wages, labor rights, a clean environment, and reproductive freedom. So instead they should campaign for, what?, greater business freedom? Lower taxes for the wealthy? Larry Hogan may be a moderate Republican, but that's not a progressive attitude on the issues that matter to the 99%. The Republican party is the party of corporate interest, pure and simple, and has been for decades. Long before Mr. Hogan was born. If Ben Jealous wins in Maryland, he will have to work with the moderate Democrats in the state senate and house of representatives. Just as Larry Hogan does. I'm for Democrats who campaign for progress on the issues that matter to real, breathing people. Not the issues that matter to corporations.
Lawrence (Washington D.C,)
I live in Maryland. Should Hogan publicly slam Trump, as so many on those on this forum suggest, what would be the blowback for the citizens of Maryland? What acts of revenge would the Maryland suffer at the thumbs of his twittership? In exchange for sixty seconds of feel good what programs would he cut, bases move, and waters foul. I will go for decency and quiet competency every time. His quiet disapproval is also necessary to prevent challenges from the right in his own party.
Douglas McNeill (Chesapeake, VA)
Thank you, Mr. Bruni, for a profile of a politician who has not lost his mind in a race to the edge of his party. Perhaps his centrist position is because of his experience with cancer. With lymphoma and now skin cancer, he had a "come to Jesus" moment in which the importance of things became crystal clear. If I were asked to say what demonstrates human happiness above all things, I would not pick tax cuts for corporations or the rich nor a wall on our southern border. I would pick the laughter of a child. More than anything else, that sound says the child is not hungry, not tired, not scared, not unloved and not beaten down by anything or anyone. A governor or any politician who makes child laughter the center of his campaign and the measure of success of his political efforts is to be lauded independent of party affiliation.
tom (pittsburgh)
I have lived in Maryland but no longer do , But I have an affinity to the state. I vacation there every year. Maryland has an electorate that often splits its leadership between both parties. t's former LT Governor Michel Steele , a Republican, is a good man that once was the Republican Party Chairman. So it doesn't surprise me that Gov. Hogan is popular. But I noticed he quickly jumped on another good man Ben Jealous. Calling him a socialist and claiming he would raise taxes sounds like every other Republican running for office. I believe Marylanders will do the right thing rebuke the present Republican Party that is extreme and in danger of being Fascist. How's that for doing what Hogan did to Ben calling him a socialist. Both are not in the spirit of good campaigning.
D. DeMarco (Baltimore)
I'm hoping Maryland elects Ben Jealous (D) for Governor. Hogan himself seems decent, but the current Republican party is not. And Hogan sides with them. And other state Republicans, like Andy Harris, drink deep from Trump's cup. With a different president, maybe. But not now. The GOP has forgotten how to represent all Americans, if it ever even knew. I know I'm voting Democratic. No other choice this year.
Ricardo de la O (Montevideo)
Perhaps the perfect situation is a state that is not controlled by one party A governor who thinks independently and cares for his state and its people can compromise in so many ways. That there are Republicans who declare themselves loyal to a currently unpopular ideology seems impossible to Mr Bruni. His line of questioning bears this out. Governor Hogan points out that the press increasingly asks questions that center around Trump- what he does, what he says, why this or that. He’s more patient than I would be
William Trainor (Rock Hall,MD)
The lesson here is that everyone is conservative and everyone is liberal, it just depends on your definition. Being Democratic or Republican is about branding. Governor Hogan is centrist who gets along with the strongly Democratic legislature, which is good. He is doing a good job at administration, so the brand doesn't matter as much. His predecessor made a lot of voters angry because of fees and taxes, and then tried to run as president. Split government may work best. But the idea that everyone is conservative is one the Democrats need to learn. Not every Dem in MD wants to fund every issue, the voters are prudent and aware that there is not an unlimited budget. Guns are important to people in rural areas. Watermen don't like severe restrictions on harvesting. Many boaters disliked the increase in boat fees. And Hogan's opponent was African American, and Clinton was not liked by a lot of rural Dems. To some degree, the vote is about the man not the party, but the party uses apps and advisors and consultants to run polls and make messages, that like soap ads, are designed to manipulate opinions. Maryland is a fascinating contradiction. Democrats should not cede the term "Conservative" to the Republicans and should fight for the center, full stop.
Nicholas Balthazar (West Virginia)
I really don’t understand why Marylanders can’t see that when the chips are down, Hogan will support his party. His role in Redistributing is my biggest fear. If the legislature wasn’t controlled by dems Maryland would be in trouble.
Bridget Bohacz (Maryland)
I just had a houseful of politically active Maryland Democrats last weekend. We represent the pulse of Maryland. We work in EPA, DOJ, local government, local business and we vote. This 70% approval rating is a bit mystifying. Furthermore, a true leader who cares about the state of our country (no matter that you are just the governor of MD) would be mirroring what Republicans like Steve Schmidt are saying - so Hogan blew it here. 1. Trump is rolling back emissions standards, clean water, clean air, etc., FOR NO GOOD REASON except that President Obama strengthened most of these. Trump even wants to take away California's exemption to pass higher standards on all of the above. This greatly impacts us Marylanders. 2. Trump's dismantling of Obama Care has been the cause of higher healthcare premiums in the state of MD. And the increases just keep creeping up. The Republicans had no alternative with better care and lower rates as they promised for 8 years. When the time came for them to put up - all they can cobble together is the promise of cheaper plans with poorer coverage. Hogan has done nothing to help us Marylanders. These are just 2 ways that Trump is affecting us Marylanders and just 2 reasons Hogan should be concerned come November.
chickenlover (Massachusetts)
"Our polling shows that that’s about 15 percent on either end. But 70 percent of people are in the middle. Our nominating processes and the way the parties are structured and gerrymandering tends to spread things apart." I have no idea what or which poll he is referring to. Most polls show nearly 40% Americans in Trump's camp. By definition there cannot be more than 60% in the middle, even if you lump all the rest into that category. The middle - both political and economic - has been hollowed out. The middle class was the bulwark against the extreme fringes helping build our strong economy. That is, until it started to crumble. In regards the nominating process, clearly the process is structured to help the extreme fringes. On both the left and the right. It is scary that there is an extreme right segment in Trump's camp even now. And it was just as scary when the extreme left painted Hillary as the enemy of the people and campaigned for Jill Stein, and, as a result, helped elect Trump. Clearly there are many problems in our democratic systems - the nominating process and the electoral college are two that readily come to my mind. But I am also afraid that there is no incentive for either party to modify those. WE THE PEOPLE - the REASONABLE PEOPLE - have to come out in large numbers and vote for sanity and progress.
ANDY (Philadelphia)
@chickenlover As I understand it, when he says "our polls" I believe he is talking specifically about Maryland. Throughout the interview he makes it clear that Maryland is what he cares about. Of course I might be wrong, but think that was the context of that statement.
Will. (NYCNYC)
The Supreme Court is of enormous consequence to the people of Maryland. Mr. Hogan is absolutely responsible to weigh in on nominees. Make no mistake. Mr. Trump's court appointments at all levels have absolutely nothing about who will bake a cake for whom or other such things. They are about undermining unions and environmental standards. Period. End of story. The Governor of Maryland has a lot to say about that in my opinion.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Will. The "Federalist Society" scam elevates "sincerely held beliefs" over establishments of science.
David Ohman (Denver)
@Will. Well said. And let's not forget: Justice Neil Gorsuch as the son of the infamous Anne Gorsuch who was Reagan's first EPA director. She took was hired to dismantle the EPA by firing the scientists whom regulators counted on for real information, and replaced them with shills from the polluting industries. Thus, any new SCOTUS candidates chosen by The Federalist Society and nominated by Trump will NOT be a friend of the environment.
Paul Ferreira (New York, NY)
Hogan is absolutely correct in that extremists control the messaging of both parties. The majority of Americans are centrists and want responsible, accountable governing. Sure, as a democrat there are certain programs that I'd like to see instituted, but please don't give me pie-in-sky messages about about it. Show me a plan on how it's going to be paid for, on how it's going to be competently run, and on how it will help society in general.
Constance Warner (Silver Spring, MD)
As a Maryland voter, I have to say that Hogan is pretty good, for a Republican. But, like nearly all Republicans, he is tainted by Trump’s brand. Hogan can govern contrary to Trump’s policies within Maryland, but will Hogan actively oppose things that the Trump administration is doing nation-wide—changing the fuel economy standards, for example? More carbon dioxide in the air and the resultant rising sea levels will be a particular problem for Maryland, large parts of which are barely above sea level now. I would really like to see a little more critique and pushback to Trumpian policies by Hogan before I consider voting for him this November, and I think a lot of voters share my concerns. It’s not Hogan’s fault that Trump is president, but Hogan will catch some of the backlash. There used to be a fair number of moderate Republicans in this country, and there may be again; after Trump and all his cronies have departed the scene, maybe in a generation or two. Maybe some of us will still be alive to see it.
SSS (Berkeley)
Governor Hogan's father, Congressman Lawrence Hogan Sr., lost the gubernatorial primary in Maryland after breaking with Nixon. Hogan Jr.'s unhappiness (with the constant drumbeat of questions from reporters about Trump's impact) would be laughable, were it not such an unhappy emblem of (whatever is left of) the moderates in the GOP at this point. I find it extremely ironic that he can't see how he is failing the legacy of his father's independence from the party apparatus. The fact is, Hogan's constituents are mostly Democrats, and standing up to the president on their behalf, even when it doesn't directly impact your state- like with immigration- is part of your job. Governor Brown, as a Democratic leader here in California, a very blue state, may be taking the lead against Trump, and his policies- but even our former GOP Governor, Schwarzenegger, has been unstinting in his criticism of the president. In fact, the list of former and soon-to-be-former GOP officeholders criticizing the president is substantial. And this is why that John Hopkins graduate is correct- it is morally wrong to vote for a Republican in 2018, because, whether in the Senate, House, or State Capital, they have shown that they are not capable of being a check on the president- they just cannot do it from within the GOP. They couldn't do it during the presidential primaries, and they can't do it now. Because this isn't Larry Hogan's party- it's Trump's. And it has to be done.
Geo (Vancouver)
I disagree. Not voting for a good candidate, who does the job they are elected to do well, is knee-jerk tribalism. It plays to divisive impulses. It is lazy. It is foolish. Vote for the best candidate. If you don’t you’ll be voting for the worst.
Carol Allen (Baltimore, MD)
As a voter in Maryland, in many ways Hogan has been a competent leader but not exactly perfect! He has been no friend to the citizens of Baltimore especially in ignoring public transportation. He canceled the Red Line subway which was a projected lifeline to move people east and west across the city to jobs. He has increased road construction in rural Maryland. The tax and spend mantra against Ben Jealous is hocus locus ranting by Republicans. When you add up the ultimate price for underfunding essential programs and projects like transportation, health care including mental health care, and education increased taxes is more like an investment in our society and quality of life.
William (Atlanta)
"I don’t see this continuing beyond this presidency." Trump is the most popular republican in America. You think his supporters are just going to return back to being "Normal"? The Republican party is now the Trump party and anti-immigration will the the main theme for republicans going forward regardless of whether people like Mr. Hogan like it or not.
Tears For USA (SF)
He is the most feared republican in America.
Lynne (Usa)
@William I couldn’t agree more. This Pollyanna “it’s all just a short bumpy ride” is disingenuous at best a and downright stupidity at worst. We are approaching race wars. We are slowly turning into a Theocracy. Our President sided with an an enemy who attacked us over his own intelligence agencies. What more gas to be done to denounce Trump, sometimes saying nothing is more dangerous than saying anything. You are born American or fight your way to it. Party politics are clubs you join. Defend your people.
mancuroc (rochester)
I have very rarely voted for a Republican for any office, but in the abstract I can see myself voting for a moderate Republican for governor of an otherwise Democratic state. He/she would not have the power to wreak havoc with judicial appointments, redistricting or other forms of voter suppression. When it comes to Congress, however, I would not dream of voting for even the most liberal Republicans. If they were that liberal, they would not be comfortable making of the numbers to contribute to a GOP majority. Senators Collins & Murkowski sometimes talk a good tune, but when push comes to shove they fall into line with the rest of them. Gov. Hogan, you imply falsely that Democrats have people to be just as ashamed of as do the Republicans. But even if that is indeed the case, there's still a major difference. Any shame-inducing Democrats are on the party's fringe; their Republican counterparts may once have been on its fringe, but now they own and run the party. Governor, you are part of the party's fringe.
Nancy (NY State)
Great interview! If there were more Hogans, the GOP might stand a chance at post-Trump survival.
Craig Reges (Carol Stream, IL)
I can’t help but agree. Both with the fact that this was a great interview and that I hope Hogan is right and the GOP regains it’s mind. I’m not overly confident that Trumpism has run its course but I so look forward when somebody else occupies the White House.
Adam Stoler (Bronx NY)
Don’t bet on it in either event.
SMK NC (Charlotte, NC)
Nancy, Not sure I agree that it was a “great” interview. While encouraged by Governor Hogan’s seemingly rational perspective and his distaste for much of Trump’s antics, he’s wrong that he shouldn’t or doesn’t have a place in the national conversation. Despite Tip Oneill’s maxim that “all politics are local,” governors are more visible representatives of the people and our fifty states than most individuals. While their primary obligations are to their state constituents, they are positioned to help present general process improvements about governance, in many ways more so than senators and representatives. I was disappointed that Hogan didn’t see, or didn’t want to step up to, the opportunity to try to moderate the approach to, and content of, today’s American discourse. If he doesn’t, who’s to counter the more extreme governors like Wisconsin’s Walker or Kansas’ Brownback or Maine’s LePage? If Republicans truly, or still, believe in less Federal power and more States power, then governors who are wielding such power successfully owe it to the nation to illustrate examples of how that power can and should be used. From other comments, some Maryland residents didn’t like his defunding of a public transportation program. Ok, no politician will be agreeable to all constituents all the time, but that doesn’t mean he’s a failure at being a good governor. Hogan and Baker and governors of all states and political affiliations are our “thin red line.”
damon walton (clarksville, tn)
Hogan is the rare breed of republican, moderate and inclusive with his legislative priorities in the state of Maryland. The current blueprint for GOP candidates is to embrace Trump even though they may find him distasteful. we need to find more politicians that can find the center and look past labels.
ManhattanWilliam (New York, NY)
Aside from the sickening reality that Trump IS in the White House, we mustn't forget that if he weren't be enabled by his GOP cronies in Congress, he wouldn't have been able to cause the damage that he's inflicted on this country to date. In fact, I believe that the days when one could be a Republican AND considered a reasonable and rational person are gone. My point is that whatever remained that was in any way "moderate" about the GOP is just a memory, but it's been like that for a long time. Just ask former senators Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chafee. The policies that the GOP officially subscribe to are so onerous that anyone who can call themselves a "Republican" today would be automatically disqualified from obtaining my vote, for what it's worth. Each registered Republican is a person who emboldens the current federal government. The Executive will be forever tainted because if this man can get elected, what does that say about the presidency? The Congress has never been less open and transparent to the electorate that they represent. The Judiciary? I have no words to describe the desecration of what was once the most venerable branch of government. So as to Larry Hogan? I don't know his specific policies BUT if he subscribes to the Republican Party then I can for sure that I think VERY LITTLE about his character, of which having a good one is the foundation that any good politician must have.
Aurelian (Outside The Beltway, MD)
I am from Maryland and I like Hogan. But I cannot vote for him or any Republicans in this year of Trump. If Governor Hogan is sincere, he would just leave the Republican party or at least suspend his membership. If not, I cannot support him and I have to urge other people of good conscience to vote for Mr. Jealous.
Pamela Tanton (Baltimore)
This piece has helped clarify my thoughts on Hogan. I will be voting for Ben Jealous in November. Hogan’s unwillingness to speak up about certain things, and saying why should he because it’s not his job as governor, is the clincher. What a cop out. And I really hate that he thinks Mueller has gone too far.
Kat (Maryland)
@Pamela Tanton agreed! We were going to vote Ben Jealous anyway! It was refreshing to read this in the NYTimes today. Yes saying that about Mueller is supporting Trump!
JustInsideBeltway (Capitalandia)
@Pamela Tanton I don't see what any of that has to do with running the state government. I'll be voting for the best person for that job.
JR Berkeley (Berkeley)
Sorry, Gov. Hogan, but your silence on national issues that most certainly do or will affect the people in your state is not right. You silence makes you complicit in the Trump/Republican agenda that is tearing this country apart socially and economically.
moondoggie (Southern California)
"Whether I like what’s going on, the people overwhelmingly elected him as president." That is not a rational statement.
Smotri (New York)
True. The electoral college elected Trump. The actual electorate voted for Clinton.
everyman (USA)
I currently live in Maryland and used to work for the State of Maryland before Hogan was governor, or in the running. I did not vote for Gov. Hogan, nor was I able to ask him questions about his plans for Maryland. He has done some good things for Maryland, and some I don't support. Unless he comes out as a Trump supporter, I see no reason to grill him about national issues. What really matters to me is what his plans are for Maryland. Frankly, I'm disappointed that The NYT would grill him about "Trumpian" issues.
W. Fulp (Ross-on-Wye UK)
@everyman The New York Times should ‘grill’ a politician about anything it wishes and certainly about the leader of his/her party.
Robert (Seattle)
I'm sorry. Mr. Hogan cannot or will not say that Mr. Trump is unfit. That is unacceptable. Like the Trump Republicans, Hogan is putting his party ahead of the wellbeing of the nation and its democracy. Yes, Hogan is civil and willing to compromise. All things considered, however, that is, in and of itself, not a stellar standard. Sane, skeptical, decent and thoughtful Americans of all political persuasions have already concluded that Trump is manifestly unfit.
two cents (Chicago)
@Robert It is interesting to me that Republicans 'out-of-office' or those not intending to seek re-election are the only ones willing to make unequivocal statements about what is obvious to just about everyone: Trump I beyond unfit for office. Trump is a stain on everything this democracy was designed to represent. Trump is sowing the seeds of anarchy.
Tom (Gawronski)
I am a big NYT fan and subscriber, and I also lean more blue than red,, but this interview will only give for to those who think the Times and people like me are obsessed with Trump. I wish I could have learned more about Larry Hogan from this interview instead of just how he positions himself as a republican leader in the world of Trump. As one who looks at the person more than the label, Governor Hogan seems to have figured some things out beyond how to think about Trump. I guess I'll have to look where for more depth.
W. Fulp (Ross-on-Wye UK)
@Tom The Baltimore Sun and Tha Washington Post follow Maryland politics. Go for it.
Rick Gage (Mt Dora)
Thank you Frank and Governor Hogan for your frank and hopeful arguments and thought provoking responses, all done in respectful, intelligent and full sentences. I don't want to blame Gov. Hogan for the actions of Trump but I hope he understands that, Republicans are the only ones who can change this horror show, and the type of Republican who claims no blame for staying in the party, is, partly, to blame.
Paulie (Earth)
This is the difference between republicans and democrats. A Democrat will vote republican if the candidate is acceptable to them. Most republicans blindly vote the party line with absolutely no thought.
Ned Ludd (The Apple)
I thought so too, but the same survey Bruno references about Baker and Hogan shows that the Democratic governor of Montana is popular — and Montana is a red state. So it actually works in the other direction, too.
paulie (earth)
@Ned LuddThe republican candidate must have been a real piece of work to not get elected.
JJS (Trumpistan)
The reason Larry Hogan was elected governor was because, like many midterms, the election was a reaction against Obama winning a second term. Add to that Hogan's Democratic opponent, Anthony Brown, was black. Many will disagree with this, but even in a progressive state like Maryland, a black governor and a black president was just too much for a lot of white folks to bare. I am also a white, Democratic resident of Maryland who did not vote for Hogan. And when push comes to shove, Hogan will do what Republicans in Congress have done and go along with Trump policies despite what they or Trump might say.
UPsky (MD)
I live in Maryland and I did not vote for Governor Hogan. I remember 2014 being a tough year for Democrats, but it is wrong to blame it on race. The Democratic candidate had an impressive resume, but failed to connect with many voters. His symbolic leadership of the state health exchange and all its problems did not help. I live in a county where Trump got just 26 percent if the vote, yet many of my neighbors were open to and did vote for Hogan. Most were democrats and Obama supporters, but they did take a chance on Hogan for these reasons. While I appreciate the Governor's moderation, I still take issue with many of his policies. Cuts to education, cuts to and cancellations of mass transit projects, dealings with DC metro that many in the state depend on have all been problematic. I am not likely to vote for him again, but will not stay up worrying if he is reelected.
Mau Van Duren (Chevy Chase, MD)
I am sick to death of double negatives. Someone please parse this for me: "[Bruni]: If Trump took concrete actions to stop Robert Mueller and his probe, how would you feel about it and what would you say about it? [Hogan]: I think that would be a step too far. No man is above the law, not even the president of the United States. Do I think maybe the investigation is going too far afield of its original intent? Yes. But I think we need to let the investigation be completed. [Bruni]" Do you feel secure that Trump won’t do that? [Hogan]: I don’t." Bruni's question is ambiguous: Is he really asking whether Hogan "feels secure" that Trump won't let the investigation be completed? I.e., that Hogan "feels secure" that Trump will derail Mueller's investigation? Given the context of what preceded, it sounds bizarre. So how are we to understand Hogan's response that "I don't"? Bruni's question is essentially a triple negative and Hogan's answer is, in that context, ambiguous.
Dave DiRoma (Baldwinsville NY)
I live in NY but I guess I would identify as a “Hogan Republican”. He makes a good point that Trump isn’t really a Republican in the classic sense, he’s an opportunist who latched on to the extreme right wing of the GOP out of convenience, not ideology. Hogan sounds like a guy who governs to get things done - a rare commodity in this day and age.
Raindog63 (Greenville, SC)
Men like Governor Hogan are a product of their time. He came of age politically when Reagan was president, so he'll always be, in his heart, a Republican. While this is understandable, it also ignores the reality that the Republican party that Mr. Hogan grew up with no longer exists, and, more to the point, is probably gone forever. So the good governor can continue to deny the reality of where his party has gone even as he represents, within his state, the remnants of an essentially dead party. I'm sure the last Whigs held similar opinions about where their party was headed. Unfortunately for them, and for Governor Hogan, in the long run, he is in an untenable position, and will have to, at some point, join the Trumpists, or disown the GOP as a legitimate political entity.
Rich Casagrande (Slingerlands, NY)
So, according to Hogan, "[t]he people overwhelmingly elected (Trump)." Gah. The "people" voted for Clinton. Trump won the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote. Trump has no mandate from the "people." We can never forget this, and we can never let any politician try to suggest otherwise. Losing the popular vote doesn't mean Trump is any less president. Even though the Electoral College is outdated, undemocratic, and has failed in its intended purpose--preventing the election of an unfit demagogue--Trump is president. But Republicans who say that the "people" elected Trump must always be corrected. It matters because Trump does not represent the will of the American people. The American people are far better and deserve far better than Trump. Hopefully we will make that clear in November.
True Believer (Capitola, CA)
@Rich Casagrande yes. this statement really stood out as coming from a person who does not have integrity.
vibise (Maryland)
I live in Maryland. I did not vote for Hogan. I will not vote for Hogan in the future as long as he is a member of the Republican party. While Hogan has been an OK governor, I cannot see how anyone can remain a member of the GOP while Trump and his cultists are running the show. Hogan has not stood up to Trump's extremism, and therefore his professed moderation is not believable.
barb48mc (MD)
@vibise, I totally agree! Hogan has said that Baltimore is the economic engine of Maryland. His policies don't actually show it with his immediate Chris Christi-like abandonment of the 10-year Red-Line transportation initiative within Baltimore and the State Center development in West Baltimore. Also, he used the Red Line money to further expand highway expenditures in the state. There's talk about a THIRD Chesapeake Bay bridge. I refuse to trust any Republican with our voting process based on the tactics of the other Republican-led states.
Robert Stewart (Chantilly, Virginia)
Have to believe that Governor Hogan was very much influenced by his father, Maryland Congressman Lawrence J. Hogan, Sr., one of the Republican patriots that helped save America during the Nixon Watergate crisis. Of course, the days of Republican patriots that put the country over political party are long gone, unfortunately.
Kathy Lollock (Santa Rosa, CA)
Well, this was certainly an informative interview, and thank you. To be perfectly honest I can understand why Mr. Hogan's popularity is polling so high in a very Blue state. As he was answering Frank's questions, I was drawn back to my own personal experiences in the 70's and 80's. Many of our neighbors became life-long friends, and many of them were Republicans. They were moderate, the word "extreme" was never mentioned yet alone thought of. Socially, in many ways and particularly in women's reproductive rights, they were more open-minded and accepting than I who was raised Catholic. But here's the crux. This conversation between Mr. Bruni and Larry Hogan alerted me to several facts re politics. The first is look how much can be done with compromises and negotiations. The second is that more of our political leaders need to think of the needs and the challenges of every one of their constituents regardless of skin-pigmentation, race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Personal political ideology (as well as religion) and self-promoting agendas have no place in governance. If there is one criticism, however, it is that Hogan seemed a little too resistant in criticizing his Party's inept president. Along with that, he needed to be a less wishy-washy about Mueller's investigation. If the trajectory continues re Trump's possible connection with Russia, this governor may need to sing a different tune before November 2018 if he wants to be reelected.
Josh (CA)
It isn't strange that the highest rated governors are all in democratic strongholds because Democrats are the only people that will vote (or endorse) someone outside their party. When you consider that every Republican will be against every Democrat politician, then the results become obvious.
MyOwnWoman (MO)
@Josh Your contention about Democrats may be accurate, but I believe a party of independent thinkers who refuse to vote in lockstep fashion rather than as mindless, unquestioning automatons bodes well for any democracy.
brian (commack)
Gov. Hogan was elected with the support of independents. The majority of Democrats voted for the losing Democratic candidate. You need to lose the elitist touch that Democratic voters are superior to others.
Will. (NYCNYC)
@Josh Democrats tend to think about their votes. Republicans are just cult members these days.
John lebaron (ma)
Yes maybe there's an American majority "crying out for moderation and a lack of divisiveness," as Governor Hogan suggests, but the powerful forces opposing civility go much further and further back than Donald Trump's presidential escapade. The entire GOP has been sowing, planting and reaping the fruits of national discord for several decades. Trump is the product of such nationwide bile; he is hardly the cause. The cause dates back at least to the noxious Nixon presidency.
Richard Grayson (Brooklyn)
@John lebaron All Republicans must be defeated. Every last one of them. Only then will they learn any kind of lesson.
cherrylog754 (Atlanta,GA)
Maryland like Massachusetts and California, all deep blue States have elected both Republican and Democratic Governor's. Massachusetts over time has elected 31 Republicans and 19 Democrats to that position. I think it's safe to say, those states elect the person that they feel best serves their interests, not what political party they belong to.
James Ricciardi (Panama, Panama)
With all this talk of impeachment everywhere, for and against, I am reminded of what a Republican President, Gerald R. Ford, said of "high crimes and misdemeanors." He said they are whatever a majority of the House says they are. So let's not let people off the hook who say they haven't seen enough evidence. As Trump's own lawyer, Giuliani, has said over and over again impeachment is not a crime, it is a political act. And while it is unusual, it is not rare. Two presidents have been impeached and Nixon would have been had he not resigned. That is about 7%, decidely not rare by any common sense or mathematical understanding of the word.
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
Something to be said for how compelling to regular Americans a moderate Republican can be. A message perhaps to the Party itself, and a disquieting harbinger of things to come to Democrats, if Republicans finally get the most valuable message a Trump presidency has to offer: elect moderates and ye shall be saved. But that photo of Hogan sure says a lot: you can look so MUCH like a Republican (actually, a bit Uncle Festerish) and still win in blue states if you really ARE a moderate Republican and not merely an evangelical bible-thumper. Illinois learned that lesson, too. Now, Frank made quite a do about Christie Whitman (former NJ governor, former EPA head under Dubya … for a while), who penned a recent op-ed here, as if she has EVER been the role model for Republican politicians. Christie was (and is) a died-in-the-wool Rockefeller Republican, really about as close to a Democrat as someone can be and still just barely miss it, dedicated to activist use (and not merely reluctantly accepting) of the deep administrative state as the preeminent guiding hand in our society. Even moderate Republicans who really ARE Republicans cringe a bit when compared to her. I agree with Hogan that America is looking for moderation. But I find it interesting that the most successful avatars of what the people really want are … Republicans. Y’all should find that interesting, too.
Richard Luettgen (New Jersey)
@Thomas Zaslavsky Not my blinders. My name isn't Frank Bruni, who penned this column.
Vesuviano (Altadena, California)
@Richard Luettgen If you look at how Barack Obama actually governed, as opposed to what he said when he campaigned, Obama was a moderate Republican as well, no matter what he called himself.
Raindog63 (Greenville, SC)
@Richard Luettgen Richard, you seem to have missed the point. While Democrats (who've elected Republicans in Maryland, Vermont and Mass.) want moderate politicians, the same can not be said of much of the South. The reality is that in most Red states, the candidate with an R before his or her name is the candidate whom most people will vote for, no matter how extreme their positions on the issues. Therefore, the true "moderates" in the country are Democrats in blue states that care more about good governance than about party affiliation.
NM (NY)
This op-ed is focused on a Republican governor in a blue state; it is important to consider that the reverse exists in other places, too. Montana and Louisiana, for example, have Democratic governors. What's instructive is that voters aren't inflexible partisans. People respond to candidates that address the issues most immediate to them and who deliver once in office. So as we approach the midterms, Democrats should focus less on any national agenda and allow competitors for office to campaign in a way that is authentic for a given constituency. Democrats have so many bread and butter issues on which they can speak to voters. Let's give them the room they need to succeed.
Swimcduck (Vancouver, Washington)
No Republican governor, independent-minded or centrist, is going to publicly support the removal of a Republican President before incontrovertible proof a crime is made public. As pragmatic as Governor Hogan is about remaining in the job to make Maryland a better State, I believe he has shown his hand by going on the record and state that he thinks the Special Counsel Robert Mueller has gone too far in investigating the 2016 election. Translation: the Special Counsel is investigating Trump's personal involvement or knowledge in the Russian interference and perhaps matters that create other criminal liability and Hogan doesn't like it that Trump and his Republican Party may be involved in a meaningful way. Mueller is following the evidence where it leads. Where his warrant takes him off the track of Russian interference, he is able to make referrals either to Congress, the Justice Department, or a US Attorney. His Congressman father would understand this--the Governor either does not or he is afraid for his GOP of what Mueller is uncovering.
two cents (Chicago)
@Swimcduck Well said. I'm tiring of the meme, too often repeated in the media, that Mueller is casting too broad a net. What? Prosecuting Trump's campaign manager who very clearly dodged paying taxes on millions in income earned shilling for a Putin puppet who ran for office in Ukraine? Many indictments and many guilty pleas by people associated with the Trump campaign? A dozen or so indictments of people associated with the Russian military establishment? Hoe is this a fishing expedition? How is this a warlock hunt? ( Witches are female Mr. President.)
Ernesto Gomez (CA)
It became clear to me, watching the 1992 Republican convention, that the Republican Party is against immigrants. Nothing that they have done since then has convinced me that the party has changed (although there have been honorable exceptions - the Bushes, for all their other faults, were not anti-immigrants, but even the presidency did not give them the leverage to move their party) I am an immigrant and a naturalized citizen. The Republican anti-immigrant position makes them MY enemies, and the enemies of my family and friends. Even though I may sympathize with an individual Republicans like Mr. Hogan, he is of the party of my enemies, and a vote for him strengthens my enemies. I can not support him or any of his party.
Lawrence (Washington D.C,)
@Ernesto Gomez Governor Hogan's position on immigrants is pretty clear. He is married to a woman born in Korea. He walked his Korean American daughter down the isle. He is Governor of what is perhaps the most diverse state. How is your position on republicans any different from those who say "all Hispanics are..''?
Tor Krogius (Northampton, MA)
@Lawrence A person chooses to be a Republican. Generalizations about the actions and attitudes of the national Republican party are nothing like racism or bigotry. To judge a person by their choice of party affiliation is nothing like judging a person by their race.
ChristineMcM (Massachusetts)
"'Our polling shows that that’s about 15 percent on either end. But 70 percent of people are in the middle.'" I'm not a governor, but I disagree with this one that America has only small percentages on far right and the far left, and this huge ballooning middle. From my perch as poster, I see more pro-Trump Republicans than not-- very few hiding behind the safe neutrality of Hogan. To my mind, not speaking out, whether you're a GOP governor, senator or member of Congress, makes you somewhat complicit. To say nothing, hiding your head under the mantle of "I'm only a governor" is a cop-out. Would Hogan do the same if he disagreed with the behavior or policies of a Democratic president? If a Democratic president were under investigation, would he keep saying, "I want to see the evidence?" It's not enough to say the only thing that would make him disavow the president is if he fired Robert Mueller. Moreover, if he's as big a proponent of civility and compromise in state government, why can't he even occasionally call out Trump for his attacks on the press or his incitements to violence at his rallies? Freedom of the press is a linchpin of democracy for God's sake. Charlie Baker has been far more outspoken than Hogan on Trump's poor handling of healthcare, Helsinki, and other issues. Why can't Hogan follow his lead?
Raindog63 (Greenville, SC)
@ChristineMcM I agree that it is quite ridiculous to claim that 70% of Americans are "in the middle" when around 85% of Republicans approve of Donald Trump's performance. The centrist voter is a declining percentage of the electorate in both parties. Those who believe otherwise never got out of the mid-'90's. Those days are gone. If the majority of the population of America favored centrists, there is no way Donald Trump would be our president right now.
Nick Malanga (Dubai)
@ChristineMcM I agree entirely, but my understanding was that his polling of 15/70/15 was for people wanting cooperation and bipartisanship. In that the "small percentages" were the 15% on each end that do not want bipartisanship.
Theodora30 (Charlotte, NC)
@ChristineMcM I agree that the idea that only 15% of Americans are far right is ludicrous. The entire Republican Party is far to the right. Poll after poll shows that the mainstream policies of the Republican Party - dismantling the ACA, banning abortion, etc. are not what the majority of Americans support. That is why for decades the Republican have had to resort to dishonest propaganda and smears against opponents to get elected (Swift-boaters Birthers, Benghazi, Uranium One, cost free tax cuts, WMD etc.). They know that they cannot win by being honest about their goals. The media has been working overtime on this new faux balance storyline that Democrats have shifted as far left as Republicans have shifted right. Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic primaries by a whopping 3 million votes. During this year’s primaries a lot of the candidates his organization supported lost to more moderate ones - a fact the media has downplayed so they can claim that those relatively few who have won (Occasio Cortez for example) represent the majority of Dems. (This is not a criticism of her.) A handful of Dems call for abolishing ICE and the entire has changed its stance on immigration, etc. The fact that Republican governorscan have high approval ratings in a solid blue, east coast states is proof that Democrats are not dominated by the far left.
DebbieR (Brookline, MA)
It is a mistake to believe that people like Hogan are going to be part of the solution. How can they be when they refuse to acknowledge their ties to the leadership in Washington? It's not just Donald Trump that has been waging a war on science and the environment and healthcare reform. Trump basically adopted those positions because they give him currency within Republican circles. As Hogan pointed out, Trump was a Democrat for many years, and the fact is, when he was, he didn't espouse these horrible positions. People like Hogan and Baker didn't endorse Trump, didn't vote for Trump, but did they campaign for Clinton, the way Mike Bloomberg did? Did they say, "party shouldn't matter", she is clearly the better candidate (by far)? In national politics, political affiliation matters. The majority party has power that the minority party doesn't, and within the party, the majority leader and speaker of the house has more power still. Republicans need to be removed from power in congress, and when people like Hogan and Baker send voters the message that party affiliation doesn't matter, that carries through at the national level where it matters very much. Governor Hogan can't save the Chesapeak bay by himself. HIs most important act should be to acknowledge that it is shameful to be a REpublican these days.
silver vibes (Virginia)
Larry Hogan may be winning a battle against cancer, the medical scourge, but is losing the disease that has gripped his party since 2016. Hogan can afford to dance through the raindrops in Maryland because the president’s vengeful hordes cannot punish him. Such a rabid base would never think of voting for Ben Jealous to spite Hogan. The Maryland governor is one of the very few Republican officials who is not retiring who can afford to stand up to the president without paying a political price for his brazenness. However, Hogan will not condemn the president for his performance in office. Hogan claims to have no opinion about what goes on in Washington or who may be nominated to the Supreme Court. That's a strange comment for any politician to make. He claims to represent the people of Maryland but he has a wary eye on his own party faithful and seems to want to avoid offending them. Hogan, for all his pious platitudes, is no profile in courage. He’ll not rock the Republican boat.
Legal Alien (Lopez Island)
@silver vibes "Hogan claims to have no opinion about what goes on in Washington or who may be nominated to the Supreme Court. That's a strange comment for any politician to make." It is a strange comment for anybody of conscience to make.
Ivy (CA)
I spend years back home in Northern Virginia, and it was confusing to have Rep. Gov. in MD and a Dem. Gov. in VA. I think Gov. Hogan is excellent, as this interview clearly demonstrates. He knows the responsibilities of a Governor, he listens to and respects his constituents, he is pragmatic and thoughtful and willing to work well with others. Even as a Democrat I would have voted for him same as people of MD have done. Happy that his health has rebounded and he still refuses to be pigeon holed!
Janet Michael (Silver Spring Maryland)
I am from Maryland and although I did not vote for Larry Hogan, he has been a quiet centrist in contrast to the fire and fury happening only 35 miles away in Washington.He does act as though he only wants to govern Maryland and has no aspirations for recognition or higher office.He seems to have worked hard and not made issues the centerpiece of his administration.Maryland is very blue nationally but has occasionally had a republican governor.If they govern by fame and ambition they only last one term.
JT FLORIDA (Venice, FL)
No question that the GOP is now completely in the hands of Trump. He leads the party through fear and it works, at least until we have an election in 2018 to reverse the trend. The mid-terms are always a referendum on the president, even more so this year. Democrats must show up on November 4 to make progress and then deliver a crushing defeat to Trumpism in 2020.
Richard Grayson (Brooklyn)
@JT FLORIDA And part of that crushing defeat is to see that even men like Larry Hogan lose. I hope he does. That may teach him he didn't do enough to stop Trump. A lot of his anti-Democratic talk in this interview is disgustingly divisive. He comes off as a total phony to me. Get Jealous!
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
A fantastic interview, Frank. He sounds like a hardworking and honorable person. My only quibble: Why continue to claim to be a Republican??? Personal history, especially his Father ? That’s my best guess. Until more people declare themselves to be independent and state that they will NOT VOTE for any GOP candidates as long as Trump occupies the Oval Office, we are ALL in purgatory. Take a stand for the USA, folks. It comes down to this : Party OR Country. CHOOSE.
ChesBay (Maryland)
Phyliss Dalmatian--Hogan has been okay, certainly NOT a tRumpist. BUT, he should have quit the Republican party, some time ago. That is the biggest strike against him. Ben Jealous will be elected, in November. Looking forward to that!
Southern Man (Atlanta, GA)
@Phyliss Dalmatian You are dreaming, Phyliss D. While there are many Republicans who despise Trump, most despise the Democrats, and virtually all of the candidates they offer, even more. Such was the case with Hillary. We may have the "cold" of Trump, but we understand that it is a temporary thing, so we are not about accept the "cure" of being bled to death by the Democrat "doctor."
Cathy (Hopewell junction ny)
@Phyliss Dalmatian - maybe he is trying to drive the Repulbicans back into real Republican territory and trying to punt the lunatic fringe from his party. Sure, he is tilting at windmills, but how else do we jettison the lunatic fringe? The whole idea that you cannot shift your party - you have to choose to leave or choose to be co-opted - is how we got to this point. Maybe Hogan believes we don't have to live in a zero-sum universe.
R. Law (Texas)
Insightful Frank, showing Hogan either deludes himself about the GOP's future, or is dissembling - the Pandora's Box that Rightists have been toying with for divisive wedge issue purposes since Nixon's Southern Strategy has been blown to smithereens, and Faux Noise Machina, et al profit too much to ever put the demons back in the Box. James Comey (GOP'er) is correct that everyone must vote Democratic in 2018 to try and rein in what's being taken apart in D.C. - the GOP'er agenda of tax cuts, judges, and gnawing termite minion Cabinet Secretaries' is further implemented each day, with Pres. Very Stable Genius throwing out Tweet-storms to try and distract from Brett Kavanaugh's shortcomings while pretending all is wonderful economically, ignoring that we're in flush economic times and should be investing in infrastructure, etc., instead of borrowing money to hand out tax cuts to Vulture Billionaire$ and GOP'er donor maintenance. It's absurd to spend 105% of government's income in such times, in order to cut taxes on (un)afflicted Billionaire$ and fund stock buybacks for corporations. Your letter from the recent Johns Hopkins grad, asking "in the context of this presidency, I’m wondering whether it’s moral to vote for a Republican at all ?" identifies the GOP being the problem - and the question answers itself. Anyone who can see things clearly enough to ask the question, must follow James Comey's entreaty.
R. Law (Texas)
Addendum - Actually, to fund the Trump Tower Tax Cut, the government spends 125% of what it gets in revenue.
Southern Man (Atlanta, GA)
@R. Law Here's the problem R, I am not a socialist, collectivist, or atheist. I do actually love the USA, and I respect its military. I like to hunt, which means I like being able to own a gun. While I admire and respect immigrants (especially legal ones), I do not feel that the USA should have open borders. So, while I may not like Trump, I am not throwing the Republican baby out with his bath water.
Jim Hugenschmidt (Asheville NC)
@R. Law Excellent reply. Trump, the Freedom Caucus, the "faithful base", the GOP herd of sheep, are beyond "No Comment" for anybody, much more so for anyone active in politics. Our nation, our institutions, our place in the world, the planet itself, all are in issue. Anyone saying that his State is unaffected is being disingenuous.
Rima Regas (Southern California)
The Republican party is squarely in Trump's corner. While a few public figures have expressed opposition on television to this or that policy proposal, on occasion, with the exception of John McCain, they've all fallen in line and voted in favor. They're all afraid of opposing Trump and then incurring the wrath of his Twittering finger. After all, all of the things Trump and his administration have done are things the pre-Trump GOP has wanted to implement. The GOP of the last 40 years has been in favor of the dismantlement of government and a return to the Jim Crow era. Who forgets the "shrinking government so it can be suffocated in a bathtub" idea that Grover Norquist is famous for? Racist wartime policies? That's precisely what Trump, his daughter, son in law, and all of the officials Mike Pence put in place for Trump have been doing from day 1. Today's GOP is working with Trump to reverse the flow of money and strip America of all of its bounties and hand their pecuniary worth to the 9%. We are now an oligarchy. So, the question for Larry Hogan to ask himself is the same one George Will answered for himself. Is there a Republican party for him to remain in? There is no doubt that the GOP is Trump's. -- Things Trump Did While You Weren’t Looking [Updated 8/2/18] | Greed & Malfeasance Never Sleep https://www.rimaregas.com/2018/01/07/blog42s-running-list-of-what-trump-...
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@Rima Regas: McCain almost invariably falls in line after some vocal gestures. Name two times he didn't? In particular, he voted for the GOP's principle goal, the December tax deform (sic) bill.
Rima Regas (Southern California)
@Thomas Zaslavsky He foiled the repeal of Obamacare. Everything else was posturing. So much for being a maverick. That can't even be said of the other poseurs, Lindsay Graham, Marco Rubio and that fake libertarian, Rand Paul. The latter has decloaked and is now obviously an ardent Trumpist. https://www.rimaregas.com/2018/07/15/the-elevation-of-idiotic-republican...
Richard Grayson (Brooklyn)
@Rima Regas Hogan's no hero.
Matthew Carnicelli (Brooklyn, NY)
Frank, the problem with Larry Hogan's take on being a Republican is that he's not only not in alignment with the Trump wing of the party, he's also not in alignment with the McConnell wing - the wing that set out to destroy the Obama Presidency from Day 1. The McConnell wing is not interested in cooperating with Democrats - just as Chuck Grassley was not willing to vote for any health care bill coming out of the Senate Finance Committee, despite insisting on having input on policy at every step of the way of that process. So my take would be that Hogan is truly a man without a national party.
Mark Solomon (Roswell Georgia)
Hogan said he was the first governor to withdraw troops from the border. Did I read this right?
Memi von Gaza (Canada)
I like Larry Hogan. I like politicians who speak and work for the people they represent. If the Democrats run candidates like them, they will prevail. Trump won on a wave of protest against establishment inertia in both parties. That he isn't up to the task of holding the highest office in the land is clear to all but his own base who will never desert him for all the wrong reasons. Nevertheless, the reasons he got as far as he did, are all still there. Anyone with an ounce of integrity and energy who will work towards addressing those reasons has a great chance of winning the people over. Forget about Trump. Forget about ideology. Focus on the people you want to represent. The rest will follow.
stu freeman (brooklyn)
Gov. Hogan may not be a hero but he does come across as a mensch (he's also in favor of women's reproductive rights, though personally opposed to abortion). I'm further to the left myself but not so far out there as to be supportive of Ben Jealous. Which is to say that if I were ever to vote for a Republican, Mr. Hogan would likely be the one. He's correct, though, in asserting that a guy like him could hardly be expected to win a nationwide Republican primary. At this point, neither Lincoln nor Reagan could possibly pass muster in a party whose members are not only accepting of bigots, bullies and fools but who seem to actually prefer them.
Southern Man (Atlanta, GA)
@stu freeman Nor could JFK pass muster with today's Democrat party. But Marx probably could.
Southern Man (Atlanta, GA)
@stu freeman Nor could JFK "pass muster" with today's Democrat party. But Marx probably could.
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