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March 3, 2011

Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

Chris Cavey

Many of my conservative brethren are a little wrapped around the axle about the rapidity and lack of resistance incurred in the Maryland General Assembly by the Civil Marriage Protection Act. They are not looking at the broader picture and the overall direction which is to be Maryland’s future and the alliances which must take place.


Not being an attorney, or someone who has formally studied law, I cannot speak to the constitutionally of equal protection to Maryland’s gay citizens. What I do know is, as reported in this column earlier (, the fix was in for swift passage of this bill.


A strange thing happened as it rumbled through Annapolis – a new found “working relationship” between conservative Republicans and members of the religious black community has been formed. Several African-American Democrats became the strongest allies to the GOP conservatives during the fight in the Maryland Senate.


There are members of the African-American community in Prince George’s County who have never voted for a Republican, much less a conservative Republican. However, on this issue, black leaders such as Sens. C. Anthony Muse, Ulysses Currie and Joanne C. Benson were natural allies with the Senate GOP Caucus.


This strange political GOP/Black Democrat alliance achieved some significant amendments in the Senate to protect religious institutions and organizations in the same sex-marriage bill. This served as an excellent example that sometimes political polar opposites find common ground in representing their constituencies.


My rural /conservative/religious-right friends need to unwrap a little and understand that they were not meant to win in the Maryland General Assembly this time. Their time will come in public referendum. Then they will need to work with our new found friends – members of the African-American mega churches, or this bill will become law.


My friends need to realize demographics in Maryland are changing. We are becoming a melting pot of minority peoples with the final product still unknown; and unless they personally plan prolific and rapid reproduction, it is a trend which will not stop.


Over the course of the next year Maryland will be gerrymandered to suit the needs of Gov. Martin O’Malley and the Democrat power brokers in Annapolis. Mathematically, according to early census numbers, redistricting should benefit almost every minority group in Maryland – but will it?


The 2010 census numbers show minorities now make up the majority of the population in four jurisdictions (Baltimore City; Charles, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties) and is close another (Somerset.)


The non-white population growth statewide has increased, especially with Hispanics communities. Conversely the white population has lost about seven percent since the 2000 census; bringing Maryland’s white population totals down to 55 percent of overall population.


So, what does this mean?


Should we expect fewer demographic opportunities for electing Republicans in the future? You know it! Governor O’Malley will divide and conquer the GOP wherever possible, especially those closest to urban centers…a gerrymandering technique known as “cracking.”


Republicans just got dropped into the hole with the 2010 election. It will be the new O’Malley gerrymandered maps that will allow Senate President Mike Miller (D., Calvert/ PG) to shovel in the dirt, fulfilling his promise, of burying “them” for the next 40 years.


Can we expect to see the Democratic Party give true representation to the minority population in Maryland, most of which are their loyal constituency? No, of course not.


You are living in a dreamland if you think proportional size districts will be drawn by Governor O’Malley to elect correct percentages of African American, Hispanic and Asian populations. The Democrats will talk the talk – but will not walk the walk. The minorities within the Democrat party will be treated little different than conservative GOP members.


Mathematically the increases in the African American population should gain them two more Senate districts. Governor O’Malley could mathematically add two Hispanic senatorial districts too, as they are the fastest growing population in the Free State. We even have enough Asian population to create a Senate district!


All of which you will not see happen. Governor O’Malley will “pack” (another gerrymandering method) both Republicans in rural areas and our new minority friends into districts at the maximum percentage of citizens allowable, plus five percent. He will then leave his liberal, white, Democrat friends protected in lesser population bases at minus five percent.


All members of Maryland’s “politically used and abused” minority community will share the same fate as the GOP. Perhaps these groups will again become natural allies – as in the gay marriage bill – in a battle over the unfair distribution of power.


The real question is: How will the O’Malley Democrats explain to their growing minority constituency the issue of re-districting? I can’t wait for that answer. Maryland is very diverse, yet it will remain, for at least this up-coming cycle, controlled by the white Democrats, who live in fear of the day when the tail will end up wagging the old yellow dog.


So, unwrap from the axle. You lost the first battle; however, you made some new friends. Prepare for the next battle…your army is growing.

Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
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