Gov. Larry Hogan was none too pleased when the Maryland legislature didn’t advance his congressional redistricting reform proposal. But that doesn’t mean he preferred the Democrats’ alternative.
Larry Hogan is looking to take politicians — including himself — out of the equation that dictates how Maryland’s political boundaries are drawn.
After some shamelessly partisan redistricting left us with a Congressional map so wonky that it was declared the nation’s greatest gerrymander a couple years back, it’s about time that we see some legislation that addresses the issue. And according to Marylander Reporter, three such bills have been introduced in the state Senate.
Each in its own way, the bills attempt wrest control of the process away from the governor and increase transparency and public involvement.
Maybe you’ve seen this political postcard around town — I find myself wading through piles of it all the time. It’s paid for by “Maryland First NOW-Vote Yes on 7, Inc.,” a group that has focused most of its efforts selling expanded gambling to Maryland voters but apparently supports affirming all major veto referendums on the ballot this year. It includes the most outlandish double-speak I’ve seen anywhere this entire election cycle.
Gov. O’Malley’s Congressional redistricting map, plainly gerrymandered to increase the number of Democratic delegates Maryland sends to the House of Representatives from six to seven (decreasing the number of Republicans from two to one), was approved by the Maryland House of Delegates and is off to the Senate this morning where it is expected to be approved without incident.
Despite the well-founded objections of Republicans, principled Democrats, and minority groups (who may also see their voting influence diluted by the swirly map) the plan passed 91 to 46, which means that except for two Democrats who voted “no,” it was a purely partisan vote.
According to an article in The Sun, the implicit argument in favor of O’Malley’s plan is that Republicans will be making similar moves in states where they control the process.
But the idea that Maryland needs to disempower its conservative voters (and minorities along the way) because other states are moving to disempower their liberal voters is absurd. Our governor and House of Delegates should understand that they are in office to serve their constituents (and for O’Malley that includes our state’s Republican voters), not to score points in some national partisan chess game.
See that psychedelic rainbow swirl? That’s Maryland’s proposed Congressional redistricting plan. Democrats currently lead Republicans in the state’s share of the House of Representatives 6 – 2. But the situation is just a little too close for comfort for the majority party. (“What if those two Republicans talk to each other? What if they talk about us?”) So just to be on the safe side, they’re trying to convert it to a 7 – 1 lead.
All states have to redraw their congressional districts to reflect populations changes recorded in the 2010 census. Maryland Democrats thought it could be a good opportunity to increase their (apparently delicate) peace of mind.
The official website for the redistricting plan emphasizes that the new map “keeps more than seventy percent of Marylanders in their current Congressional districts,” but seventy percent is deceptively low. Thirty percent is quite a chunk of the population to fool around with.
While we wait to see how this plays out, feel free to vibe out on the groovy colors.