Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Maryland Redistricting

Maryland already possesses some of the most bizarrely gerrymandered congressional lines in the country. Some of that is due to the Chesapeake Bay making any line look fuzzy, but not all of it -- the bizarre quad-helix thing going on in Baltimore is truly a gem of the genre. Currently, it has produced a 6-2 Democratic split in the congressional delegation, which, to be fair, isn't totally out of line given the sharp Democratic bent of the state.

But Democratic leaders are going to the drawing board in an effort to make it 7-1. The presumed target had been freshman Rep. Andy Harris (R) of the 1st District (Eastern Shore), but Josh Kurtz is reporting that intense lobbying from Rep. Donna Edwards (D) has instead caused state lawmakers to shift their aim towards the 6th District's Roscoe Bartlett (R), representing the western part of the state.

I like ex-Rep. Frank Kratovil (D), who won the 1st District in an upset in 2006 and seems like a nice enough guy. But Bartlett is going to be 86 years old, and folks raise a good point when they note that the exurbs which would anchor a reformulated 6th district are trending our way. Edwards herself volunteered to take on some deep-red territory (no skin off her back, she won with 83% last time out), and the 8th District (Chris Van Hollen -- and my home turf) probably could do so as well, as we no longer need to pack Democrats in to oust Connie Morella.

The only question is whether the lines can be drawn in a way that looks a little more sane than they do now.


Nick said...

Wondering how your theory regarding the inviolability of representation squares with the realpolitik-al calculations in this post (this sounds more snarky than I mean it, just curious if you see implications or not).

David Schraub said...

I'd prefer nationwide non-partisan redistricting commissions myself, including in Maryland. I think gerrymandering is kind of ridiculous, and in Maryland it appears to be particularly so (though who knows -- maybe these lines will end up being less crazy than the 200 ones).

I'm not sure what you're referring to exactly by my "theory regarding the inviolability of representation", though. I mean, it sounds like something I would have, but I just don't know precisely what you mean.

Nick said...

This. http://dsadevil.blogspot.com/2011/06/american-territories.html

David Schraub said...

Ah. Well, I do think there is a qualitative difference between not having representation at all, and having it but being dicked around in the redistricting process.

PG said...

Any thoughts on the latest round of litigation produced by Texas redistricting that will attempt to 1) maximize Republicans elected; 2) not get thrown out for depriving African-Americans and Latinos of representation; and 3) by attempting to reconcile two nearly irreconciliable objectives, end up cutting various communities into ridiculous shapes? (But hey, this year's redistricting, unlike the one that went to SCOTUS last time, doesn't literally have Tom DeLay's fingerprints on it.)