Monday, May 15, 2017

Maryland Democrats’ Redistricting Reform

With its preposterously Gerrymandered Congressional Voting Districts, Maryland is an outstanding example of why States need Nonpartisan Redistricting Reform. But the Redistricting Bill that emerged this year in Annapolis makes clear that the Democrats who dominate both Houses of the General Assembly, remain loath to part with the Incumbent-Protection racket that enables them to choose their Voters and perpetuate their grip on power with scant regard for Good Governance.

The Bill, sponsored by Sen. Craig J. Zucker (D-Montgomery), is an Alphonse-and-Gaston arrangement, except that in this case there is not one Gaston but five. It would establish a Nonpartisan Commission to Draft the State’s Congressional Districts, so far so good, but only if five other Eastern Seaboard States agreed in lockstep to do the same. They are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina.

Why Mr. Zucker and the Democratic Leadership didn’t throw in some Rocky Mountain and New England States, plus Alabama and New Mexico for good measure. As long as Maryland has chosen to enact Legislation Governing other States’ conduct, why stop at just five?

Top Ten Gerrymandered State Congressional Districts Today:

1. North Carolina - 12th
2. Maryland - 3rd
3. Florida - 5th
5. North Carolina 1st
6. Texas - 33rd
7. North Carolina - 4th
8. Illinois - 4th
9. Texas - 35th
10. Louisiana - 2nd

Maryland, where Democrats control the Legislature, which explains their hostility to the idea of Unilateral Reform. If Republicans are crafting Gerrymandered Voting Maps to maximize their clout in Congress, their argument goes, why should Democrats be so pure, especially if it costs them a seat or two in Maryland?

For one thing, it’s the right thing to do. Drawing Voting Maps so as to minimize Electoral competition is Anti-Democratic. It’s also a disservice to Constituents in whose name Lawmakers work and whose effective representation is far less likely if they are divided into sprawling, ink-blot-shaped Districts, with Voters whose interests may be divergent.

A poll conducted in February 2017 by Goucher College found that 73% of Maryland Voters backed an Independent Redistricting Commission, without the proviso that it be established in conjunction with similar Commissions in a bunch of other States.

The Democratic Bill is a fig leaf designed to obscure its contempt for actual Redistricting Reform of the sort Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has proposed for the past two years. Mr. Hogan’s Bills, killed in Committee by Democrats, would establish a Commission to redraw the State’s wildly Gerrymandered lines, in order to fashion relatively compact Districts composed of more like-minded Constituents.

Mr. Hogan, usually reluctant to pick a Political fight in a State that tilts heavily Democratic, has vetoed the Democrats’ faux Reform Bill, setting up a possible Veto override. If Democrats do muster the Votes to override the Veto and enact their Bill, it will enshrine their own cynicism and ensure that no real Redistricting Reform takes place in Maryland.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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