Gov. Larry Hogan’s Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission has proposed a new map of congressional districts that are compact and contiguous, respecting county boundaries and communities. It is a model of what a nonpartisan redistricting process would produce.

And it has virtually no chance of being enacted by the Maryland General Assembly.

Hogan formally accepted the maps for new congressional and legislative districts drawn by the commission on Nov. 5 and signed documents calling for a special session of the General Assembly on Dec. 6 to redraw the congressional boundaries.

Hogan pledged to introduce the maps from the commission without any alteration. The state news website Maryland Matters said Hogan praised the work of the nine-member commission he created in January. Congressional maps must be redrawn after each decennial census to keep them roughly equal in population.

“The commission was given a clear and simple charge — insuring that the people of Maryland are able to choose their elected officials and not the other way around,” the governor said. “This is what real, non-partisan redistricting looks like.”

That’s true, but it is unlikely to make a difference when the maps meet the real world in Annapolis. The reason is that Democratic legislators control the process, and they are under tremendous pressure to insure that no Democratic seat in Congress is lost. Legislators have an advisory committee working on an alternative map.

Once upon a time, a few decades ago, Maryland’s congressional delegation had four Democrats and four Republicans. But as the state turned more Democratic, the number of Republicans slipped to two and then to one after the 2010 census.

About 55 percent of the registered voters in Maryland are Democrats and about 25 percent are Republicans. The rest are independents, not affiliated with a party. In an ideal world — that is, not this one — the GOP would at least have a chance of winning two, three or even four seats.

The goal of gerrymandering is to reduce that chance, to make it as low as feasible.

The same is true in Republican-controlled states, like Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where the GOP lawmakers are trying to hold onto as many seats as possible. Congressional delegations in both are heavily Republican, despite almost even voter registration.

Maryland Matters quoted Hogan as saying “every party is guilty” of gerrymandering. “Republicans do it when they have the power. Democrats do it. But it’s still wrong and it still needs to change.”

After the 2010 census, Maryland Democrats were widely denounced for gerrymandering the map to eliminate the Republican-held seat here is Frederick and Western Maryland. Democrats redrew the map to carve out two districts based in heavily Democratic Montgomery County, splitting Frederick County between them.

District 6, which had been represented by Republican Roscoe Bartlett from 1993 to 2013, became a Democratic seat, now held by Rep. David Trone, who is in his second term.

A challenge to that redistricting map, along with other gerrymandering cases from other states, was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. But the high court ruled the courts did not have a role in deciding partisan complaints.

Voters in a few states have approved nonpartisan redistricting plans, but leaders of both parties say the problem must be addressed at the national level. So far, there has been no agreement to do anything. A bill sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) has been blocked by Republicans in Congress.

While the Hogan commission did not release voter registration numbers for the proposed new districts, its map is widely believed to at least make the 6th District competitive and probably make it lean toward the GOP.

Expecting Democrats in the General Assembly to go along with that is expecting them not to behave as politicians, which is what they are.

(25) comments

gary4books

"Expecting Democrats in the General Assembly to go along with that is expecting them not to behave as politicians, which is what they are."

So they are. And that means if any change is to be National it can only be done by the Court. Supreme Court. Some may not like that, but nobody is going to be fair in this question if it is in their interest to cheat. Sniper has a case with that position.

stjohn42

[thumbup]

MrSniper

The landscape is littered with the political corpses of “nice guys”. Hillary Clinton, nice lady. John McCain, nice guy. Mitt Romney, nice guy. John Kerry, nice guy. Al Gore, Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, ect…you get it. Winning in politics means being ruthless. Doing everything within the law & then maybe some more if necessary. The gerrymander is gross, it’s also not going anywhere until it’s gone everywhere. If you can’t acknowledge that, then you’re a naive fool.

gary4books

I never want to read the excuse "we do it because they do it." Fair is fair and Democrats ought to set an example with fair and honest voting districts.

I supported and voted for Connie Morella and liked Roscoe Bartlett. If a person can get the votes, they should serve. There are no good reasons to mess with their districts.

Sam1934

[thumbup]

Dwasserba

“And it has virtually no chance of being enacted by the Maryland General Assembly.” Wasting your time and ours.

Piedmontgardener

Excellent editorial. I don't care who does it, gerrymandering is an odious practice that ends up hurting the citizens.

threecents

I hope we take the high road. Otherwise we are as bad as the Republicans.

sevenstones1000

We can’t afford to be the good guys and let Republicans win.

Tell the Republicans to be good guys. See how far you get.

MD1756

[rolleyes]

gabrielshorn2013

^^^ The tribalism is strong in this one - Yoda

sevenstones1000

It has to be Gabriel. Otherwise Trump and Proud Boyz are the future of the US.

gabrielshorn2013

So, it's either/or, black/white, us/them? Binary thinking.

public-redux

Whilst I think I see shades of grey with the best of them, seven’s logic makes sense in a first-past-the-post electoral environment.

Sam1934

So much for "of the people, by the people, for the people." It's all about WINNING! Just ask Charlie Sheen.

Dwasserba

“Expecting Democrats in the General Assembly to go along with that is expecting them not to behave as politicians, which is what they are.”

Sam1934

Well we didn't last time; hence Raskin representing the northern part of the county. It is not an "us" or "them" thing; it's all of them.

jsklinelga

This what gerrymandering produces. Copied from Wikipedia

"As one of his first actions in Congress, Raskin and several other members of House of Representatives objected to the certification of the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump due to alleged ties with Russia, and Russia's interference in the 2016 election, as well as voter suppression efforts. Vice President Joe Biden ruled their objection out of order because it had to be sponsored by at least one member of each chamber, and it had no Senate sponsor.[35] In late June 2017, Raskin was the chief sponsor of legislation to establish a congressional "oversight" commission with the authority to declare a President "incapacitated" and removed from office under the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution.[36]"

Not only is Raskin a hypocrite and political hack he is borderline treasonous. As more unlawful concrete evidence emerges surrounding the Russian Collusion hoax one has to wonder if insiders like Raskin knew it was bogus and when did he know. This was worst than Watergate and now the charade continues with the Jan 6 commission. Hopefully after 2022 these folks will get their due. One thing for sure Raskin is not representative of Frederick County.

olefool

It may take a hundred years to clean up the stench that Trump put on this country. Why some don't or won't see or comprehend the terrible consequences that canard put us through is difficult for most people to understand. Take for example the word "hoax"... A most favorite word used by Trump to deflect anything he screws up, say for instance the pandemic, it was a "hoax" according to Trump, just as was the Mueller Investigation according to Trump and no one else, except his acolytes who also believe the "rigged election Lie"; another hoax dreamt up by Trump. Really folks, the only actual hoaxes are Trump and his minion's and their laughable comments here.

gabrielshorn2013

? https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/17/politics/joe-biden-campaign-ad-trump-coronavirus-hoax-fact-check/index.html

AOC

.

.

The current congressional districts in Maryland are terrible. One of the biggest supporters of the O’Malley map of 2011 was Jamie Raskin who was serving in the General Assembly at the time. A move that certainly worked to his advantage when throwing his hat in the ring for MD-08.

Interesting that Democrats claim they are the party of inclusion and diversity, yet when it comes to creating congressional districts, their goal is to disadvantage as many voters as possible who are not a member of the Democratic Party.

Fairly created compact districts are not unreasonable. It appears “redlining” is OK if it disadvantages the minority voter (those not registered as Democrats). In Maryland, the voter registration breakdown is 69% Democratic / 31% Republican.

Affirmative Action is needed for equal treatment and inclusion. Should gerrymandered districts remain, here is a novel idea:

Republican Votes cast have a value of 1.0 / Democrat votes cast have a value 0.31

This idea would be called “Political Handicapping.”

“Handicapping” is allowed in “Competition” for Horse racing, Golf, Chess, Go, Shogi, Gliding, Polo, Sailing, Tennis, Motorcycle speedway and Cycling.

Why not Politics!

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threecents

How much should an independent or third party vote get?

MrSniper

“Redlining is a discriminatory practice that puts services (financial and otherwise) out of reach for residents of certain areas based on race or ethnicity.“ You don’t get to redefine that word that describes that practice.

yogib

The FNP apparently has not been aware that while they moan about the possibiliity of gerrymandering in favor of the Democratic party , they have missed that we now have only one political party who still believes in a Democracy. When the Republicans wake up and begin to care about about our country, then by all means they deserve a fair shot. But for now the burden of a democracy falls on the shoulders of the Democrats, and an even larger group of Americans, the uncommitted. Wake up FNP and look around you. We have elected Republicans in Frederick who stil believe the 2020 election was a fraud (Yes Jenkins and you are one)

MD1756

[rolleyes]

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