Opinion: Democratic leaders flip-flop with the usual hypocrisy

Opinion: Democratic leaders flip-flop with the usual hypocrisy

The chamber of the Maryland House of Delegates. Governor's Office photo

The Democratic delegates on the HouseRules and Executive Nominations voted 18-6 Monday to send to the House the map drawn by the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Committee, which was given an ‘F’ rating for fairness by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.

Some of these delegates should re-read their 2018 campaign promises on redistricting on the 2018 MDLWV Voter’s Guide. Back then, some showed strong support for an independent commission to draw district lines. On Monday, they supported a map drawn by their partisan leaders.

Here are their answers to the Question on the Redistricting asked by the League of Women Voters of Maryland: “What changes, if any, do you support in the process for drawing congressional and legislative district lines in Maryland?”

Del. Anne Healey (D-Prince George’s County)

“I support an inclusive, transparent redistricting process that includes public participation. I also support the concept of an interstate compact that would assure that Maryland’s reforms would not happen in isolation but rather become a catalyst for nationwide reforms.”

Del. Marvin E. Holmes, Jr. (D-Prince George’s County)

No response.

Del. Vanessa E. Atterbeary D-Howard County)

“Gerrymandering has been largely supported and accomplished by the GOP, and that is reflected overall in the current national political climate. Maryland’s representation in the General Assembly is reflective of the political demographics in the state. I support an independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census.”

Del. Ben Barnes (D-Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties)

“I support redistricting overseen by an impartial, non-partisan committee.”

Del. Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery County)

“I support independent redistricting commissions to set congressional districts as long as all states participate. Gerrymandering in states like Pennsylvania, Texas, and Ohio has resulted in a permanent institutional GOP majority despite a majority of Americans voting for Democratic congressional candidates. I also support independent commissions for state redistricting.”

Del. Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City)

“That will depend on the demographics of whether the district has grown or loss population. In the last census, we lost population ad lost two delegates in the city. I would support seeing more of the 7th Congressional District back in Baltimore City.”

Del. Mark S. Chang (D-Anne Arundel County)

“I support a transparent redistricting process that consists of an independent commission with input from residents to set the congressional and legislative district boundaries in Maryland.”

Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City)

“I support the creation of an independent, non-partisan body for drawing congressional and legislative district lines in Maryland.”

Del. Brian M. Crosby (D-St. Mary’s County)

“An independent state panel should adopt the “efficiency gap” and conduct redistricting in every state using a four-prong test. 1. Data should draw the fairest boundary lines as a baseline. 2. Factor “communities of interest” so elected officials represent districts with similar communities. 3. Competitiveness should be factored, so districts are even. 4. A federal panel reviews the efficiency gap.”

Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s County Democrat)

No response

Del. Anne R. Kaiser (D-Montgomery County)

“I support a fair, equitable method of ensuring proper representation of congressional and legislative districts. Congressional and legislative districts should not be drawn in a partisan manner. Gerrymandering is an impairment to full representative democracy.”

Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery County)

“I believe that we should move towards non-partisan redistricting. My preference is for this to happen nationwide, but if Congress or the Supreme Court fails to act, I believe Maryland should implement non-partisan redistricting on its own.”

Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery County)

“When an entire legislative body can be drawn independently, we should do so. That’s why I support independent redistricting for state legislative districts. But when district lines are drawn piecemeal, as happens in Congress, I support nationwide independent redistricting. In the meantime, I’ve cosponsored bills to push Maryland into treaties with other states to adopt this reform regionally.”

Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City)

“Generally, I support some sort of reform in Maryland that draws congressional and legislative districts. However, the proposals put forward in recent years by Governor Hogan would not produce an impartial process. I support creating an independent redistricting commission so long as it is truly independent and transparent.”

Del. Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties)

“I have co-sponsored various bills to eliminate gerrymandering, most recently HB 1022. That bill would have limited gerrymandering congressional districts by requiring each district to consist of adjoining territory that is compact in form and of a substantially equal population. It also requires that due regard should be given to natural boundaries and the boundaries of political subdivisions.”

Del. Shane E. Pendergrass (D-Howard County)

“Independent redistricting commissions operating in all states, and starting at the same time, would help ensure fair districts (that don’t dilute minority communities’ votes) and a more responsive Congress. Gerrymandering, largely by the GOP, has created a Congress whose actions rarely reflect the will of voters (such as on gun-safety measures, health care, or taxes).”

Del. Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-Dorchester and Wicomico Counties)

“Simply, make certain the process and outcome is fair and reflective of the population in which Maryland congressional and legislative districts serve.”

Del. Dana Stein (D-Baltimore County)

“I would support the establishment of a non-partisan commission to draw congressional and legislative district lines.”

Del. Kriselda Valderrama (D-Prince George’s County)

“I believe that redistricting must be solved on the federal level and not by individual states. At this writing, the U.S. Supreme Court is currently addressing the gerrymandering issue and will likely provide more guidance into permissible actions by the state. The Court will also likely take up new cases in the coming term. Until they speak, it is premature for the State of Maryland to act.”

Maryland could lead the race toward the nation’s No. 1 most gerrymandering state in the 2020 census cycle.

There will be the People’s Maps Rally at Lawyers’s Mall at Bladen Street and
College Avenue in Annapolis Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 9-11 a.m.
Sponsored by the Maryland League of Women’s Voters (MDLWV) in partnership
with the People’s Maps Maryland organization, formerly known as Tame the
Gerrymander, their purpose is to show that they want maps for people, not
politicians!

About The Author

Howard Gorrell

howardgorrell@aol.com

Howard Gorrell was the first complainant challenging the constitutionality of the apportion of congressional districts of the State of Maryland for the 2010 decade, based primarily on alleged partisan gerrymandering and insufficient consideration of communities of interest. See Gorrell v. O’Malley, 2012 WL 226919 (D. Md. Jan. 19, 2012)

2 Comments

  1. Bill Samuel

    The Maryland Democratic Party is very corrupt. I was hoping some Democrats would have the integrity to stand up against gerrymandering, but it appears not. Not much integrity among politicians. Don’t think Republicans have more integrity. It’s just they were the ones being shafted, so they were against it.

  2. Ralph Watkins

    The comment about hypocrisy is not accurate for all of the Democratic legislators who responded – several of them made clear that they intended to do nothing until there was a national response.

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