DC Diary: Muh ‘mocracy!

The fate of the Great Republic hangs in the balance on Tuesday, if the President of the United States is to be believed. But you wouldn’t know looking around Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. In fact, despite being only an hour outside DC, you’d be hard pressed to know there was a presidential election going on at all.

Trump and Hillary lawn signs litter much of the highway from Washington Dulles Airport into Maryland, but not in this corner of Calvert County. Save for a Trump sign outside a rather worn-looking bungalow (complemented by a pick-up truck with a gun rack), there’s only one election people are interested in around here: who’s going to be the next mayor of Chesapeake Beach.

Given in the UK we can’t even decide whether to elect mayors to our greatest provincial cities, it seemed quaintly odd to this old Redcoat that a redneck town of only 5,000 Marylanders should do so. But then, this is smalltown America, and I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they elected their bin-men around here. So, struggling to battle sleep after being awake a good 20 hours, I was treated on my first night in the US to the showdown between candidates Jeff Krahling and Pat ‘Irish’ Mahoney.

Mahoney, who I hear committed the cardinal faux-pas of inventing his own nickname, is an incumbent councillor and former Acting Mayor who is widely expected to win the mayoralty on Tuesday. Krahling, on the other hand, is a property developer who looks not entirely unlike Tony Soprano and has a habit of using the same vague and evasive responses to questioning as Donald Trump.

Not that the line of questioning was that taxing. While Trump and Hillary locked horns over everything from Syria to healthcare, the stately Dixie of the League of Women Voters read questions from the audience asking candidates whether the ban on rearing chickens in the town centre ought to be lifted, and whether residents on the south-west side should be forcibly dragged into the mid-20th century and abandon their septic tanks and well-water. I was just glad I’d managed to fit in a drink beforehand.

Next came questions for candidates to the council itself which, after the standard set by the mayoral debate, fell a little flat. As sleep deprivation began to creep up on me, I could only keep myself awake by trying to figure out who four-term councillor Stewart Cumbo reminded me of. Then it hit me. If you crossed actor Frank McRae (who played LAPD Lieutenant Dekker in Last Action Hero) with a terrapin, that’s what you’d get. Which was ironic, really, as Cumbo was a former Assistant Barrack Commander for Maryland State Police, and the University of Maryland’s mascot is a terrapin.

I really needed that sleep

This article originally appeared on Conservatives for Liberty.