Co-founder, Tea Party Patriots
Co-Chairman, Campaign for Primary Accountability
Special Projects Director, Ballotpedia
Director, Center for Representative Government, Cato Institute
Only 12 percent of Americans now approve of the job Congress is doing. Despite that, incumbents are overwhelmingly re-elected. Eighty-six percent of them survived the 2010 elections for the House of Representatives. That’s not much of a surprise when you consider that 80 percent of House districts are safe for one of the two major parties and 62 percent of incumbents face no primary challenge at all. No wonder many Americans feel those who “represent” them in Washington don’t really represent them at all. A new organization, the Campaign for Primary Accountability, is trying to level the playing field and to restore real representation by making incumbents more accountable to citizens. Its efforts have won praise across the political spectrum and condemnation from fans of the status quo. But it is not alone. Mark Meckler, a founder of the Tea Party Patriots, is launching a new effort to change American elections for the better. Please join us to hear these leaders talk about their continuing struggle to take back America.
(Luncheon to follow)
F. A. Hayek Auditorium • Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001
I was until recently in the highly gerrymandered 4th Congressional District in Maryland, once known as the Free State. This district consistently elected whichever highly socialist black candidate won the Democrat primary. For years this has been Donna Edwards, a member of the Democrat Socialist Caucus in the House of Representatives. I am now in District 3 which is represented by John Sarbanes of Towson, a town north of Baltimore. I live in the northeastern part of Montgomery County. The District 3 map after the 2000 Census re-districting was as shown below:
Clearly the people in this district were lumped together because of their similarity of interests and because it would be very easy for their Congressman to gather them together in town hall forums to learn about their concerns with government. OK, yes, I am being sarcastic. Clearly the interests of the people were of no concern and that is indicated by the boundaries of this district. The 2010 Census lead to a re-districting plan and Congressional District 3, in which Democrat John Sarbanes, of the infamous Sarbanes-Oxley accounting burden law, is running for re-election now has a very different look. This is because the Democrats believe they can challenge and remove the 20-year Republican Congressman Bartlett of the 6th Congressional District in Western Maryland with the new 6th District. The new District 3 that I am in looks like this:
This is a district composed of fragments of Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Baltimore City County, Baltimore County, and Carroll County. There is no complete county in the district. Most of the Montgomery and Howard County citizens along U.S. 29 are federal employees. Large numbers of state employees live in and near Annapolis in this district. A fraction of the district citizens would have a special interest in issues relating to the Chesapeake Bay, but many would not. Substantial areas are very rural. This district is not only designed to take high population density Democrat areas and combine them with many rural areas with many Republicans in them, but it is also a classic case of divide and conquer. Any of many special interest groups that might become angry at John Sarbanes or another Representative is perfectly incapable of preventing his re-election due their fragmentation between the 8 Congressional districts in Maryland.
I challenge anyone to present me with a Congressional district in which they live that can rival mine as the very symbol of gerrymandered excess! If the people ever want to have a chance to control Congress, they will have to insist that their states use algorithms for forming Congressional districts that make the districts reasonably compact, honor local government boundaries such as county lines, and make it more likely that people with similar concerns will be in the same district. The divide and conquer issue is a very rational concern which ought to be addressed. This is government dividing and conquering the People!