The candidates are not simply a study in political contrasts. They exist in different worlds. Mr Moore defined the ambitious heights as a liberal intention to tackle high crime, unaffordable housing, child poverty and racial wealth and opportunity gaps. Mr. Cox’s political views are rooted in hard-right resentment — against President Biden’s 2020 victory, which he falsely denies; to mandates for pandemic masks and vaccines, which have saved countless lives; to critical race theory, a chimera brandished to stir up racial anger; predictions about climate change, which he considers to be false.
The Post endorses Mr. Moore, a charismatic first-time candidate whose understanding of Maryland’s challenges far exceeds that of Mr. Cox.
It’s not a tight choice.
Mr. Moore, 43, ran a major philanthropic organization, Robin Hood, which distributes tens of millions of dollars each year to fight poverty in New York. As an officer and paratrooper in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, Mr Moore led troops in Afghanistan in his 20s and received rave reviews from his superiors, one of whom called him of “top 1% of officers”. [and] the best lieutenant I’ve met during Operation Enduring Freedom.
In this race, Mr. Moore offers the best bet for a frame in the mold of popular limited-time incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R). This may seem paradoxical given that they belong to rival parties and different ideological lines. Yet, by instinct and temperament, Mr. Moore, like Mr. Hogan, seems bent on stifling the incendiary tribal politics that has polarized the nation.
Mr Moore sought and won the endorsement of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police, the main police union, despite the unease on his party’s left flank with law enforcement. He raised the idea of cutting Maryland’s estate tax, an idea that, however wise on its merits – we have our doubts, given the $50 million annual impact on the coffers of the state – would appeal to lawmakers and voters far beyond Mr. Moore’s Democratic core. base.
Undeniably, Mr. Moore is a Liberal. But claims that he is a “socialist”, as Mr Cox claims, are a severe test of credulity, as a glance at his resume will attest. In addition to his work as a nonprofit CEO, Mr. Moore spent more than five years as an investment banker in New York, served in the White House during the administration of President George W. Bush and founded a fee-paying company to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their transition to college.
These are as likely the credentials of a Republican as they are a Democrat, and they rightly raise the expectation among Marylanders that as governor he aspires to appeal to a broad constituency.
The same cannot be said of Mr. Cox, a 48-year-old former high school teacher who practices law in Frederick. He called Vice President Mike Pence a “traitor” for failing to obstruct the certification of a legitimate election, and Mr Cox demonstrated his affinity with QAnon, the crackpot fable that hints at an international cabal run by Democratic pedophiles .
Mr. Moore is by far the more substantial of the two candidates. Its website features detailed analysis and prescriptions to protect veterans, older and disabled Americans, stimulate the economy, improve health care and education, reduce poverty and the racial wealth gap, and reform the criminal justice. He would fund savings accounts for every baby born into poor families and invest heavily to modernize Morgan State University in Baltimore, the state’s largest historically black institution of higher learning.
Our approval is not without reservations. We don’t agree with Mr. Moore on all counts, and he wasn’t our first choice in the crowded Democratic primary he narrowly won in July. On transportation, a major concern for traffic-weary commuters in suburban Washington, he pledges to ease traffic congestion but seems determined to satisfy the vested interests that reliably oppose major freeway proposals and of public transport. He had little to say about support for Metro, on which hundreds of thousands of residents of Montgomery and Prince George counties depend, after federal pandemic grants ran out next summer.
If he wins, as expected, Mr. Moore will also be held accountable when his campaign promises meet harsh fiscal and economic reality. He presented an ambitious plan to improve public schools and other social challenges, but it is unclear how the state could pay for it all. Some of his proposals seem self-evident, including a clean energy investment plan that could drive up electric bills by depriving Marylanders of cheap power from neighboring states.
Beyond his positions on the issues, Mr. Moore offers a compelling and inspiring personal story. A young boy who struggled after the death of his father, he spent part of his childhood in poverty in the Bronx and won a Rhodes scholarship after graduating from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In his late twenties, he wrote “The Other Wes Moore,” a memoir contrasting his own dizzying trajectory with that of another young man of the same name who grew up in Baltimore and was convicted of murdering a highly decorated police sergeant.
The book’s opening passages feature a “story of two boys living in Baltimore” and “on the same streets”. These lines, among others, have been the springboard for controversy – in particular, that Mr. Moore has dishonestly cultivated the impression that he was born or raised in Baltimore. In fact, he didn’t live in Baltimore until he was 20 when he was a college student. Still, he spent a lot of time there as a teenager during school vacations from a Pennsylvania military academy. He clearly identifies with the city, where he has lived for a decade.
Mr. Moore has the makings of an excellent governor. He is by far the best choice in the November elections.
The post’s point of view | About the Editorial Board
Editorials represent the opinions of The Washington Post as an institution, as determined by debate among members of the Editorial Board, based in the Opinions section and separate from the newsroom.
Members of the editorial board and areas of intervention: Karen Tumulty, Associate Editorial Page Editor; Ruth Marcus, Associate Editorial Page Editor; Jo-Ann Armao, Associate Editorial Page Editor (Education, DC Affairs); Jonathan Capehart (National Policy); Lee Hockstader (immigration; issues affecting Virginia and Maryland); David E. Hoffman (global public health); Charles Lane (foreign affairs, national security, international economy); Heather Long (economics); Molly Roberts (technology and society); and Stephen Stromberg (elections, White House, Congress, legal affairs, energy, environment, health).