Primary Voters Give Montgomery County’s Democratic Party a Hard-Left Turn
By Mark Uncapher
By the narrowest of margins, Democrat primary voters in June selected long-term County Council member Marc Elrich as their party’s County Executive nominee over his nearest rival, David Blair. The victory is hardly a mandate. Elrich’s 37,000 votes represents barely 5% of Montgomery County’s 730,000 total registered voters.
Elrich, who spent nearly 20 years on the Takoma Park City Council, has long been closely identified with that community’s outsized influence on Montgomery County politics. Although Takoma Park makes up less than 2% of Montgomery County’s population, its strength as a Democratic primary voting block has had a disproportionate impact on selecting county-wide Democratic candidates.
During the primary, the one-time member of the radical Students for Democratic Society (SDS) came under considerable fire from his fellow Democrats over his socialist leanings. At one event, Elrich was asked point blank: “Do you regard yourself as a socialist?”
His response: “I can say I’m a democratic socialist, and the emphasis is on socialist. The things that they associated with socialism in the 20s and 30s? Social Security. A 40-hour work week. Health care. We’ve adopted a whole bunch of things that were once considered socialist.”
Hardly any Americans have contested the 40-hour week or Social Security for quite some time. Consequently, it is worth delving deeper into the current policies that are currently being advocated by Elrich and the American socialists with whom he associates.
The Democratic Socialists of America’s agenda is a useful starting point. Elrich is a member and has featured their endorsement of him in his County Executive campaign literature.
The DSA explicitly“ declares itself in solidarity with Palestinian civil society’s nonviolent struggle against apartheid, colonialism, military occupation and for equality, human rights, and self-determination” and supports the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) effort directed against Israel.
Elrich has his own history of identifying himself with anti-democratic leftist regimes. A decade ago he was forced to withdraw an invitation to the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez to meet with Montgomery County community leaders to “try to directly engage them with local social programs." The initiative met fierce opposition from County Executive Leggatt, as well as pro-human rights groups. (As it happened, CASA of Maryland did receive a $400,000 grant from a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company and its political arm CASA in Action endorsed Elrich this year.)
However, to be sure, most Montgomery County residents are generally more interested in how their officials will provide county services than they are in their foreign policy views.
Elrich’s cavalier approach to the fundamental economics associated with job creation alarms many people, especially in the business community. Asked about the long commutes many Marylanders endure, he responded: “I prefer to put jobs in Frederick.”
These flippant comments should be considered in the context of Elrich’s Democratic Socialist of American (DSA) expressed goal of “ending the rule by the two-party system and capitalism as a whole.” 
In fact, the DSA constitution proclaims its members are “socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power.” The organization generally aligns itself far more closely with a more radical Marxist view of socialism than that of European social democracies that have long accepted market capitalism as essential for prosperity.
Montgomery County’s governing philosophy of high tax and high service depends upon a robust private economy to pay the bills. However, current trends show that the county is already headed in the wrong direction. Between 2011 and 2016, the county added just 6 net new establishments. During that same period, the number of business establishments in the state of Maryland increased by nearly 6,300. In fact, Montgomery County was home to fewer jobs in 2016 than in 2006, despite the addition of 11,603 government positions.  More Here
Yet, rather than reverse course with the policies that set these trends in motion, as County Executive, Marc Elrich would have the county pursue an even more extreme agenda.