By Todd Eberly, Washington Post
A number of African American leaders in Maryland are justifiably concerned about the congressional map proposed by the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Commission. As drawn, Maryland would continue to have only two majority-minority districts — the 4th and 7th — and each of those is likely to include fewer minorities than they do now.
Maryland’s minority voters are being used like pawns in a game of electoral chess. Though African Americans account for 30 percent of the state’s population, they are heavily concentrated in the city and county of Baltimore, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, which creates a redistricting challenge for Democrats. African Americans are the most reliably Democratic voting bloc, but their concentration in the central part of the state makes it hard to offset the more conservative voters in Western, Southern and Northern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore. The party deals with this by dividing up African American communities and joining them to sometimes far-flung regions. In the redistricting commission’s proposal, this has been done in all but the 1st Congressional District on the Eastern Shore.