End Gerrymandering?

I’ve written about this before. Maryland’s map drawing exercise in 2011 was as bad if not worse than any in the country. Ask John Sarbanes if you live on his CD3 and he most likely has to look it up. The district narrows at many points to a few blocks, weaving and bobbing its way around the state, stumbling from Towson to Burtonsville and over to Annapolis, taking in bits and pieces of communities as it goes.

All for one additional D seat in the US House. It was earmarked for Rob Garagiola in 2012, but as we know that went badly and John Delaney won the seat.

Democratic Party leaders say it was necessary to counteract GOP atrocities in other states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania. But they’re almost never quoted by name.

Democrats in Maryland have explained their reluctance to reform the system here by pointing to such states as North Carolina and Pennsylvania where Republicans have ensured lopsided House delegations of their party. Since Republicans control more states than Democrats, nationally the practice has solidified GOP control of the House. That has led to such ironies as O’Malley, now a Democratic presidential candidate, calling for an end to gerrymandering in an appearance on MSNBC this week.

Unspoken in the article is the risk that we run by not reforming now that Larry Hogan will control redistricting in 2020. Then we might be looking not at a 7-1 alignment but 5-3 or maybe even 4-4. 

Holding on stubbornly to the current arrangement is not just bad policy, it’s bad politics. The time to change the process and adopt some kind of bipartisan or independent redistricting is now.