The GOP is not the only major party that wants to rig elections (although, at this point in history, they have a greater need to do so). Here in the free state of Maryland, the Democratically-dominated legislature has passed a new congressional district map drawn with the obvious intent to oust one of the last two Maryland Republicans in Congress. To water down Congressman Roscoe Bartlett’s rural western Maryland district, the lines were drawn reaching way down into more diverse Montgomery County. So the incumbent I’ll see on my ballot in November will not be Donna Edwards, but Tea Party caucus member Bartlett. If control of the House returns to the Democrats, many will point to this pickup in Maryland.
Here’s a good rundown from the Sun about how Democrats also like to get fresh with the republic:
It’s a seat Democrats need to win if they’re going to take back the majority,” said David Wasserman, who follows House races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. He rates the district as one of just five in the nation where Democrats have a chance to pick up a seat. “After all, they designed it for that purpose.”
The competition in the Sixth was a direct result of last year’s redistricting, in which Democratic lawmakers in Annapolis turned the former Republican stronghold into a swing district by redrawing its boundaries. Overnight, it became a district in which 57 percent of voters backed President Barack Obama in 2008, compared with 41 percent in the old district.
To accomplish that reversal, mapmakers cut short the district’s eastward sprawl into Carroll, Baltimore and Harford counties, instead pushing most of that rural — and Republican — territory into the 1st District, which is represented by GOP Rep. Andy Harris. The new 6th District now scoops up heavily Democratic neighborhoods in Western Montgomery County. It also includes Frederick.
Here are some thoughts from a recently gerrymandered voter. Do I hate partisan gerrymandering enough to vote for Bartlett out of spite? I appreciate that he is a strong supporter of alternative energy research and scientific research in general. However, that’s not enough to outweigh his stances on the other issues.
Bartlett’s Democratic opponent, John Delaney, also rubs me the wrong way for some reason. He’s a multi-millionaire banker who made his fortune in a very Wall Street way, as described in this Forbes article. Delaney donated the maximum to Tea Partier Andy Harris in 2010, and tried to hide his identity in a very hacky way on the form. He recently returned from a panderiffic vacation/tour of Israel. In the primary, Edwards endorsed him, but the progressive caucus co-chairs didn’t.
It looks to be a close and important race, and I’ll be curious whether I’ll see any shenanigans at my polling place. The silver lining: the redistricting law itself will be on the ballot. If the map is voted down, new lines will be drawn for 2014. So this year in District 6, people will be able to vote Bartlett out of Congress, then vote themselves out of the district too. It would be funny if only it wasn’t made possible by the sick mutation of the American democratic process, partisan gerrymandering.
Remember, no matter which side commits them, these attempts to manipulate the way we measure (elections) the consent of the governed amount to republic rape.