Today, while driving home through

Today, while driving home through the Baltimore area, I caught some election commentary on WBAL, an all-news radio station. According to the WBAL news folks, citing exit polls, Republican Bob Ehrlich captured 50 percent of the Jewish vote in the Baltimore area, and between 35 and 40 percent statewide. Three possible reasons were offered for Ehrlich’s strong showing among Jews in the Baltimore area: his support of Israel, his support of school choice (this played well with the fairly substantial Orthodox community), and some local flap that I didn’t really understand. There was also speculation that Ehrlich prospered with voters generally as a result of Maryland’s equivalent of the Wellstone death rally, namely the Townsend debate rally. This occurred when Ehrlich debated Townsend at predominantly black Morgan State University in an event sponsored by the NAACP. It was their only debate, and I thought when he agreed to the debate that it was a mistake on Ehrlich’s part to debate on what likely would be hostile terrain. In fact, the audience was hostile to Ehrlich, passed oreo cookies around to ridicule his black running mate, and Townsend carried the crowd with a rousing defense of affirmative action. Although the big newspapers all said Townsend won the debate hands-down, it is now thought that the debate rally didn’t play very well with the television audience. It is pleasant to think that Democrats are losing not only on the merits but because they simply can’t behave themselves.

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