Reality TV Show Star turned President Donald Trump has managed to make himself the center of attention again. This time it's for his weekend tweetstorm on Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings. He chairs a House Oversight Committee that has been giving quite a bit of scrutiny to our immigration policies on the Mexican border. Trump called Cummings a "brutal bully" who should take care of the "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" in Baltimore, adding "no human being would want to live there." I have since read numerous news accounts that just automatically conclude Trump is a racist. Democratic presidential candidates have been quick to join this chorus. Readers of this blog know I consider our President unfit for any office. He may very well be a racist. But what he said about Baltimore is all-too-true. In fact, it can be said of most of our urban centers, including Trump's New York City. It's an inevitable result of one-party rule and the corruption that follows. The solution to this problem is opening up our primaries.
I've been to Baltimore a few times. I've run a marathon throughout the city streets and also participated in a bike tour. I have even sailed there a few times. The Inner Harbor is magnificent. The rest? Not so much. During the marathon and bike ride - about ten years ago - I passed by more than a few dead rats rotting in the middle of the road. In addition, it's plagued by a huge homeless problem.
Then there's crime.Here's an observation from The New York Post:
Among the largest 30 American cities, Baltimore has the highest crime rate, and is a close second to Detroit for the highest rate of violent crime. But for murders, Baltimore is second to no other city, with more than 50 homicides per 100,000 people. That puts Charm City in the ranks of Jamaica, Venezuela, and El Salvador in terms of lethality.But The New York Post is biased, you might say, and it is. How about what Trump calls the "failing" New York Times? It reached a similar conclusion in The Tragedy of Baltimore, and no one called that story racist.
Certainly, there are many reasons to like Baltimore, and it does have pockets of wealth and hard-working people. But like any urban center, it has become rotten from the inside, mostly as a result of corruption that has included several recent Mayors. It's what happens under one-party rule. We've seen the corruption in Philly, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg and Scranton.
In Philly, two City Council seats are for members of a minority party. According to Governing, those seats may be going to Democratic Socialists this year, a pattern that has started in other cities as well.
The solution to one-party rule,as well as the corruption that inevitably follows, is an open primary in which Independents can vote. Amazingly, the state senate has passed a bill providing for open primaries, and the matter now sits in the State Government Committee.
If Governor Tom Wolf were really interested in stopping corruption, he'd get behind this bill.
Don't hold your breath.