Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Disgrace of MD Democrats' Gerrymandering

This week, the Maryland state legislature will meet in a special session to vote on the proposed changes to our congressional districts.  The map that the Democrats have proposed is arguably the most politically convoluted map in the country.  It disregards the demography and natural geographical boundaries of the entire central part of the state.  This will ultimately be decided in court.

Professor Todd Eberly at FreeState blogger has a great analysis of the proposed redistricting plan.  Here is his conclusion:

The House of Representatives was meant to be the most democratic of all federal institutions. It was meant to be the body where the diverse interests of the people mingled and produced compromise. It was to be the place where the baneful influence of factions would be countered and moderated. Gerrymandering subverts all of that and subjugates the interests of the people to the interests of political parties.

Perhaps it was  naive to have expected more from Governor O'Malley, but it certainly was not wrong to have expected better. I will confess to being a pretty liberal person (I know, a liberal college professor - shocking). I support a truly progressive tax code, I want the death penalty to end, I want single-payer national health insurance, I support marriage equality, and think we need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship and in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. I know that all of these things will only happen if Democrats are the folks making the laws. But process matters, the ends can never be used to justify the means, and democracy demands that the diverse interests and beliefs of the people be represented. It is better to lose a fair fight, than to win a rigged game.

The proposed maps for Maryland, as well as the GOP proposed maps in states like Texas, are supreme acts of political cowardice. If Democrats and Republicans truly believed that their ideas, their vision for America, were more powerful there would be no need rig the system like this. Maps such as these, represent a clear acknowledgement by the parties that they do not believe they can win a fair fight in the battlefield of ideas.

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