Gerrymandering Round II – The Insatiable Addiction to Power Politics

With the release of their gerrymandered federal and state legislative district maps, Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly, anxious for every opportunity to one-up Governor Hogan, are reveling in their return to their glory days under Martin O’Malley, the king of the gerrymander. 

Despite their promises during the last election to end the highly destructive politics of extreme gerrymandering, Democrats are now shamelessly reclaiming their title as the most gerrymandering legislature in the entire nation. 

In a state where Democrats already control the Senate by 32 to 15 and the House by 99 to 42, Democrats have once again unveiled, without a pretense of fairness, a map drawn to satisfy their insatiable craving for the eradication of opposing voices.

Recall that it was just over two weeks ago that Democrats in the Maryland Senate and House approved, on a party-line vote, a ridiculously gerrymandered federal Congressional map designed for the sole purpose of removing our lone Republican district (Andy Harris) in order to leave Maryland with a lineup of 8, lockstep Democrat Congressmen. 

Democrats pretended to excuse their hyper-partisanship with their promise that they would be fair to their fellow Marylanders just as soon as all other U.S. states stop gerrymandering their own federal districts. 

The blatant dishonesty of that position is now fully exposed by Democrats’ newly released state legislative map that goes well beyond even Martin O’Malley’s power-at-all-costs map from ten years ago. Drawn by the dominant party, even the Democrats cannot pretend to excuse this map by citing gerrymandering in other states.

Here are just some of the indicators of the extreme unfairness of the Democrats’ map:

1.  The 8 smallest districts are all Democrat districts with populations of less than 127,000. The largest districts are over 136,000 in population. This enormous size disparity allows Democrats to increase the number of highly progressive districts.

2.  To maintain Baltimore City’s full team of extremely progressive legislators, despite the city’s considerable population loss over the past decade, 9 of the 12 smallest Districts are in Baltimore City or include portions of Baltimore City.

3.  District 34, which I now represent, has been targeted to swing to Democrats a seat that has for decades been a Republican held district (Senators Cassilly, Jacobs, & Craig). Democrats have shamelessly pulled four Republican leaning precincts from Havre de Grace and Aberdeen and stuffed them into the adjoining District 35, leaving District 35 with almost 6,000 more citizens than District 34.

It is certain that Democrats will once again ram their gerrymandered monstrosity through the General Assembly soon after the 2022 legislative session begins on January 12th. Sadly, due to decades of gerrymandering, Governor Hogan and Republican legislators are powerless to stop Democrats’ maneuvering without judicial action. Our only hope for fair representation lies with Maryland’s highest court which has the power to stop this unconstitutional and destructive power grab.

Our State Constitution includes requirements for the legislative map that are specifically designed to minimize the harms of gerrymandering. Article III, Section 4 states: “Each legislative district shall consist of adjoining territory, be compact in form, and of substantially equal population. Due regard shall be given to natural boundaries and the boundaries of political subdivisions.” Democrats’ proposed map violates each of these requirements in the extreme. Districts are contorted in size and area for the sole purpose of expanding Democrat dominance and nullifying Republican votes.

Why is this fight so important? 

Single party dominance of the General Assembly, and any legislative body, is the most destructive force against common sense, bi-partisan legislation. It is the reason for the terrible anti-police bills that passed the General Assembly last year on party lines. Despite the fact that those bills have resulted in dramatic increases in violent crime in all major urban centers of Maryland, our progressive dominated legislature is unable to reverse course on its failed policies. 

Confronted with overwhelming evidence of their failed policy, Democrats stood fast and overrode Governor Hogan’s vetoes of those terrible bills because it’s always business as usual in a one-party state where political dominance is the primary objective and admitting failure is the only cardinal sin.

In case you missed it, here is the poem I sent out on social media last week in response to the Democrats’ attempts to sneak their new legislative redistricting map out amid the distraction of the Christmas holiday.

Maryland’s Week Before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the state,

Democrats were scheming to control, rule, and dominate.

Their plan was all hatched, their map drawn with care,

But the public they needed, to catch unaware.

The voters were busy, buying televisions and sleds,

Twas a good time to act, keep the facts from their heads.

Dems had promised fairness, decency, the sky,

But this map was all filled, with self-dealing, oh the lie.

Their leaders said send it out now & send it out quick,

While voters are distracted with thoughts of St Nick.

So what to our wondering eyes now appears,

But a map drawn by people with heads up their __.

The fight will be bitter, the fight will be raw,

To decide if we are ruled by politics, power, or the law.

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