Becoming an Informed Voter
This essay will address a number of questions:
� What is the recent political history of your district and state?
� How have they voted in recent presidential and congressional elections?
� Can your district or state be considered to be leaning Republican or leaning Democratic?
� Are the parties relatively even or does one party dominate the elections?
� Does your district have a long tradition of supporting one party or has it been changing in recent years?
� How did your representative and senator come to power? (Thoroughly describe their backgrounds.)
� How do the interest groups (ADA, ACLU, ACU, CC or FRC) rate your representative and senator? (Note: If the Christian Coalition score is not available, you may substitute the Family Research Council score. Include the exact scores from each of these groups. The rationale for this is explained in the presentation.)
� Based on these ratings, would you classify your representative and senator as conservative or liberal? Justify your answer.
The 3rd congressional district in the state of Marylandconsists of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and other considerable parts of the independent city of Baltimore. Currently, Maryland’s 3rd congressional district is represented by a Democratic John Sarbanes. Some of the landmarks in this district include the Maryland Science Centre, Annapolis, Fort McHenry and the state’s capital. Three previous individuals to represent Maryland in the US Senate include the former representative of the 3rd district such as the retired senator Paul Sabarnes, current senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin. The 3rd district’s gerrymandering resulted from the support for a Democratic candidate in the 2000 and 2010 consensus. In 2012, the 3rd district was the least congressional district across the US (Barone and Cohen, 2013).
Consequently, the 3rd district is among the 61 districts that elected a representative to the first US Congress. It was initially included Maryland, Prince George’s County, and Anne Arundel. In 1792, the district was moved to comprise eastern half of Fredrick, Montgomery and Maryland counties (Pedersen, 2001). Again, in 1853, the 3rd district was redrawn to include Baltimore County apart from western and northern regions of the county and a third of the eastern part of Baltimore city. In the 1860 census, Maryland was cut to about five congressional districts while the 3rd congressional district was extended to include areas of the Baltimore, which were not part of the district before 1863 (Pedersen, 2001).
What is the recent political history of your district and state?
The recent political history of the 3rd congressional district is the most gerrymandered not only in Maryland but also across the US. The 3rd congressional district and Maryland the assembly is especially aggressive as well as creative. The assembly has been able to shift the majority of black electorates from Al Wynn’s majority-minority fourth district into eighth district, to expel the Republican representative. Again, in 2012 the Maryland’s assembly removed the current.Roscoe Bartlett by cutting his district into a half while merging it to a prosperous, democratic neighborhood near D.C, which made Bartlett lose by about twenty, points (Barone and Cohen, 2013). Currently, the Democrats control 7 out of 8 House seats.
As a matter of fact, gerrymander issue has been exaggerated; Marylanders still uphold the law and voted for Barack. The 3rd district under John Sarbanes includes metro regions of D.C; Annapolis and Baltimore are the ugliest and least compact across the United States. Much as Sarbanes was not likely to lose the race, the recent amendments offered him a position to get hold of the rich Democrats from the county of Montgomery- likely supporters of the future senatorial campaign. Some Democrats were not happy with such a move that was as a result of Donna Edwards., a black congresswoman.
How did your representative and senator come to power? (Thoroughly describe their backgrounds.)
John Sarbanes sought the Democratic nomination for the third district following a decade incumbent Ben Cardin, who forfeit the seat to run for the senatorial position of John Sarbanes’s father, Paul Sarbanes. The primary campaign involved Paula Hollinger the state senator, Peter Beilenson the former Baltimore City Health Commissioner and Oz Bengur the former Maryland Democratic Party Treasurer. During the September 2006 nominations, John Sarbanes won with approximately 31.9% votes (Barone and Cohen, 2013). In the general election, his Republican rival was John White, the Annapolis, and marketing executive. Nevertheless, Maryland’s 3rd district is mainly democratic from 1927 and some expected that Sarbanes to experience challenges in the elections. Furthermore, some allege that Sarbanes won the election following the popularity of his father, Paul Sarbanes, who was the representative of the 3rd district from 1971-1977. During November 2006 elections Sarbanes worn with about 64 percent, the White gained 34% votes while Charles Curtis McPeek the Libertarian got 2 percent. Sarbanes has been reelected four times without practical opposition.
John Sarbanes campaign income in 2008 was about USD 1,012,936 and spend about USD 799,506 (Barone and Cohen, 2013). His chief supporter was Veneble LL6; USD 38,854, a place he spent 18 years (1989-2006) for his legal career, which represents non-profit health care facilities providing quality care to Marylanders. Other supporters were Chesapeake Partners Management, Johns Hopkins University, Carpenters & Joiners Union. The main industries that contributed funds to Sarbanes campaign are interest groups, lawyers, health, labor and real estate.
How have they voted in recent presidential and congressional elections?
Maryland’s 3rd congressional district held elections in November 2014 for US general elections. John Sarbanes, a Democrat, defeated his opponent Charles Long a Republican with 128,594 votes or 59.6 percent. Sarbanes also won the Democratic primary against his challenger Mathew Molyett. On the other hand, Charles Long won the Republic nominations against Thomas Harris and Michael Jackson. Moreover, in 2012 presidential election Barrack Obama, a Democratic candidate garnered majority votes in Maryland’s 3rd congressional district; he won with 49.39 percent against Mitt Romney with 49.31%. The state of Maryland is among the 21 states associated with the mixed primary structure. The parties have the right to elect who can vote in the primary and close the process to all electorates apart from those registered under their party.
Does your district have a long tradition of supporting one party or has it been changing in recent years?
The Democratic and Republican parties are central political parties commanding huge following in Maryland and especially the 3rd district. Towards the Civil War, the Democratic Party drew a significant part of their ability from eastern shores and their enemies from Whigs, who were common across Baltimore. The collapse of the Whigs led to the rise of the Native American party, which viewpoint on anti-immigrant and anti-Catholics attracted Marylanders as they believed that their wellbeing was vulnerable to Roman Catholics immigrants. Maryland was the only state to vote for the presidential candidate of the American Native party. Nevertheless, declined remarkably and Maryland started to support the Democratic Party, electing John Breckinridge, the secessionist. In the 1970s corruption and peddling afflicted the main parties and in 1973 Spiro T. Agnew, a Republican and the Vice President of US during that period was accused taking money from individuals engaged in business dealings in the state especially when they were in Baltimore County and Maryland’s governor. In 2000, the majority of Marylanders supported the Democratic party, for example, 57% voted for Al Gore a Democrat, 40% for the Republican George Bush and three percent to Ralph Nader, the Green, party candidate. Two years later, John Kerry a Democratic challenger won 55.7% votes against Bush with 44.6 percent in 1994, governor election was a major race in the history of Maryland, Democrats won and reelected in 1998 and 2002 Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. a Republican was elected. In 2000 and 2004, both Sarbanes and Mikulski, from Democratic Party got re-election. As of 2004, approximately 3,105,000 voters were registered, of which 58% were Democrats, 20% Republicans and 12 percent independent members. Additionally, the congressional delegation comprised of 6 and 2 democrats and republicans respectively.
How do the interest groups (ADA, ACLU, ACU, CC or FRC) rate your representative and senator?
Some interest groups periodically publish congressional scores to assess the representatives as well as senators position on particular issues. These scorecards are mainly obtained from determining the manner in which member voted to how the group could have voted on a given legislation and provide a score to demonstrate how vote match up(Mitchell, 2007). This means interest groups rate representatives and senators in the way they vote. Common awareness groups consist of the American Conservative Union (ACU) and Americans for Democratic Action. They stem from the conservative and progressive wings respectively. These groups give the score of 8 and the mean of every senator. Nevertheless, the scores are not independent. In most cases, senators who get a good score from ADA are likely to score poorly from ACU and vice versa(Mitchell, 2007). When 4 progressive and four conservative groups are used, then each senator will score 50%, which is not interesting. To address this issue, it is appropriate to use progressive groups, since a legislator with a high rating is rather prospective, that is, they support every progressive project, and he becomes a liberal thinker (Barone & Cohen, 2013). On the contrary, a conservative senator has a low ranking, as such, against all ongoing projects.
Table 1: Interest Group Ratings
Political background Maryland and Senator Ben Cardin
Maryland is one of the first thirteen colonies that joined the Union in 1788, and it has taken part in all the 57 presidential elections. Furthermore, Maryland has been mainly “blue” state following the introduction of contemporary political parties during the period of Civil war. From 1960, Maryland has been voting for Republicans in the landslide such as Nixon in 1972, Reagan in 1984 and Bush in 1988. In 2012, Obama easily defeated Romney. On politics, there are two Marylands. The Democratic Maryland is multiracial and includes all socioeconomic groups stretching to parts of Washington and Baltimore metropolitan regions (Sheckels, 2006).
The second part is the Republican Maryland that is primarily rural, dominated by white community and conservative. It includes Maryland Tidewater and western counties of Maryland. The early 21st-century Republican Party Maryland is not similar to the previous one, which was progressive compared to social and fiscally conservative Democrats. Modern Republican candidates demonstrate policy standpoints of the party such as protection of property rights, Anti-tax, anti-government and anti-abortion. Republicans opposition to the dominance of democratic is not only deep-seated but also the degree of politics generated by this problem is intense compared to the present day history of Maryland. Cardin joined politics while in law schools and served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967 -1968. In 1986, when Barbara Mikulski, a US representative, declared to view for the senatorial seat; Cardin joined the race in the House of Representative and was victorious by a decisivemargin. He served from 1987 to 2007, an era he became well known for his efforts in social works such as health as well as other initiatives (Mitchell, 2007). Cardin is known for his support for child welfare, the bill to expand child programs, health benefits and high tax credits for children. In 2005, when Senator Paul Sabres announced his retirement, Cardin joined the race, he was successfully in the tight contested Democratic primary and defeated his challenger Michael Steel a Republican. In 2007, Cardin assumed office and set the record straight as a liberalist (Mitchell, 2007). He was considerably interested in the environment, enforced a law to safeguard the Chesapeake Bay while seeking to reinforce standards of clean water. Also, he is an active foreign policy fun and became a member of Foreign Relations in the Senate committee.
Barone, Michael; Richard E. Cohen (2013). The Almanac of American Politics 2010. Washington, D.C.: National Journal Group.
Estache, A., & Foucart, R. (2013). Benchmarking Politicians.
Mitchell, C.W. (2007). Maryland Voices of the Civil War. JHU Press. 548pp.
Pedersen, V. L. (2001). The Communist Party in Maryland, 1919-57. University of Illinois Press.
Sheckels, T. F. (2006). Maryland Politics and Political Communication, 1950-2005. Lexington Books.