The Runback: The Fairest of them All

A new proposed redistricting map looks incredibly fair. Too bad it doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing.

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Podcast #44

This week, we discussed the firing of former Maryland coach Randy Edsall from the University of Connecticut. Personnel is policy. Two universities who hired Randy Edsall learned that the hard way. What can we learn from Edsall's hirings and how it impacts business, politics, and more.

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The Monday Thought

Friday evening we got our first glimpse of the base Congressional redistricting map being worked on by the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission.

It’s not the only map released but the commission, but after Commission Co-Chair Walter Olson shared the above image on social media, there has been a lot of discussion about it.

My first impressions about the map were very simple; I thought it was a very reasonable map. I was not enthused about the fact that I would be in the proposed 6th District. But still, this map checked all the boxes set out by Governor Larry Hogan as the Commission’s charge. The districts were compact. They largely respect county boundaries. They respected natural boundaries. And they kept communities together.

I mean, this map is as clean and compact as you can get. Especially when you compare it to the gerrymandered dumpster fire we currently have.

This new map is the best map I have ever seen implemented or proposed in my time participating in and observing politics in Maryland. And yet, it probably doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing.

As I have been writing about and talking about for years, the Democrats are going to do everything in their power to make sure nothing like the Commission’s proposed district passes. The Democrats charge is going to be to make sure that the districts are gerrymandered to ensure at least seven of the eight members of Congress from Maryland are Democrats. Since Congressional redistricting maps are required to be adopted by the General Assembly, they retain the votes to do so if they can get all Democrats pulling the same rope.

The Commission’s proposed boundaries will create, at minimum, a 6-2 Democratic split. However, I really think it may be a situation where 5-3 or even 4-4 is possible (although not probable).

The proposed District 1 and District 8 in the Commission plan would lean heavily Republican. Districts 2, 4, 5 and 6 would be overwhelmingly Democratic. Proposed Districts 3 and 7 are where the action would be. Thought both proposed districts were Biden districts in 2020, both are potentially competitive enough with the right candidate running for Congress and with more credible candidates at the top of the ballot.

The Democrats have no plans whatsoever about allowing this level of competitiveness to seep in, a toxic mix of Democratic tradition and the continued insane hyperfocus on national politics.

Of course, the external factors of this redistricting process are different than in past redistricting cycles. The fact that a compact, fair, and justifiable plan has been proposed from the Executive Branch makes it more difficult for Legislative Democrats to railroad their own plan without tremendous public consequences. There are plenty of independents and Democrats who are as sick of the establishment Democrats redistricting games as there are Republicans and conservatives. There will be pushback. There will be public pressure. And those who vote for something else will do so at their own peril.

Thought it may not be the final map, the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission should be commended for their quality work and in their ability to follow the Governor’s call for fair and compact districts that respect natural, community, and county boundaries. I can’t wait to see their version of a fair legislative map.