50-State Strategy: Maryland
Power-Building Strategy: Draw an 8–0 Democratic congressional map as part of the redistricting process.
Democrats in Maryland: Pass the 8–0 map. Why not? Republicans just made it illegal to give people waiting in line to vote in Georgia water.
The deafening silence from congressional GOP leaders as state Republicans like those in Georgia pass restrictive voting measures that no longer even attempt to hide their racist intent tells you everything you need to know about what Republicans think about democracy reform.
Maryland’s current 7–1 congressional map resulted in one of the cases that led to the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision to permit partisan gerrymandering. The challenge was brought by Republicans in Maryland who challenged the post-2010 redrawing of the 6th congressional district, whose new lines made it a safer Democratic district and caused Republicans to lose one of two GOP-leaning seats under the previous map.
Because of the lawsuit, we have a fairly complete picture of the behind the scenes wrangling that led to this map. This deep dive from Washingtonian gives a good overview. Understanding the GOP gerrymanders to come after the 2010 wave that gave Republicans disproportionate power over map-drawing in battleground states, Democrats in Maryland sought to provide a counterbalance.
In Maryland, the Democratically-controlled legislature is responsible for drawing congressional and state legislative districts. While the GOP governor has veto power, Democrats have a supermajority in the legislature and can override a veto. We firmly believe that Maryland Democrats should further press their advantage in this blue state. And while the current map has been broadly criticized for its oddly-shaped districts, an 8–0 map could actually create more compact districts and create an opportunity for an additional district where communities of color would have a larger voice.
While we broadly support fair districts — and support the passage of HR 1/S 1 that would do so for every congressional district — this is not the year for unilateral disarmament against the GOP gerrymandering machine.
As we discuss in the House section of our 2040 Report, Democrats are facing two negative headwinds in 2022. First, history holds that 2022 should be a bad year for Democrats; we predict that a 35-seat loss in the US House is not out of the question. Given Democrats’ razor-thin margins in both chambers of Congress, this spells trouble.
Second, Republicans have a built-in redistricting advantage with their control of more state legislative chambers in purple states. Given what we saw in 2010, we know they will press their advantage with the post-2020 maps, and this time they have a Supreme Court ruling (thanks in part to Maryland) that has declared partisan gerrymandering legal.
Republicans in Maryland have a choice — they can tell their GOP friends in Congress to pass HR 1/S 1 which would ensure that all congressional districts are drawn by nonpartisan commissions. Republicans don’t have a leg to stand on in complaining about partisan gerrymandering until they get serious about real solutions. Until then, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Democrats will press our advantage where we can.
How you can advance a 50-state strategy in Maryland:
- Encourage Maryland Republicans to call on their federal counterparts to support HR 1/S 1, creating a bipartisan opportunity for fair maps and fair elections.
- In the absence of bipartisan agreement on the future of our elections, push for the 8–0 map in Maryland to create a larger chance at a US House majority for Democrats in 2022 and beyond.