Becoming an Informed Voter
Many voters do not have adequate knowledge on the voting process. Many of them do not bother to get adequate information on the leaders they choose. The voters need to have adequate information about the leaders that they choose as well as their political history.
Maryland State contains seven districts in total. Each of the districts has a representative of its affairs in the USA. The districts are subdivided into counties. One of the seven districts is Maryland district 5. Maryland district 5 contains a number of counties. The counties include St. Mary’s, Calvet, and Charles. It also extends to some parts of Prince George and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland. Maryland district was formed in the 17th century as a congressional district. Initially, it was made up by the counties of Somerset, Caroline, Worcester, WImico, and Dorchester. Later, in the 17th century, the boundaries were redrawn, and Baltimore County was included in the district (Boane & Cohen, 2007).
Maryland district 5 has a wide political background. The district has a senator and a representative. From the 17thcentury, Maryland district 5 has a history of supporting the democrats. The first representatives of Maryland district 5 include George Gale, Williams Murray, and Samuel Smith. Initially, district 5 could elect only one representative. However, in 1803, Maryland passed legislation to allow the election of two representatives to represent each congressional term. Most of the representatives who have served in Maryland district 5 are members of the Democratic Party (Boane & Cohen, 2007). However, although the area is a stronghold for the Democrats, very strong Republican leaders came from Maryland. Some of the Republicans from Maryland include Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
The current representative of Maryland District 5 is Steny Hoyer. He has joined the record of the longest serving representatives in Maryland five. Steny was elected as a representative of Maryland District 5 in May 1981. He originates from New York; later, his family moved to Maryland where he grew up. His family had a military background, and this may have instilled discipline and good morals in him (Boane& Cohen, 2007). He went to Suitland high school and attended Maryland University for his degree. He served as a staff in the office of Daniel Brewster. His political career started immediately after his graduation. He got elected as a senator representing Prince George in 1966 when he was only 27. He became the youngest senate president in the state of Maryland in 1975. He run for the position of a lieutenant governor but lost in the primaries (Barone & Cohen, 2007).
His political career was halted, and he served as a board member in the Maryland higher education board. He returned to politics in 1981 after a special election was held to replace Gladys Splelman after she had a serious coma. Hoyer took advantage of the opportunity and won in the primaries. He managed to defeat his Republican opponent after garnering 55% of the votes. Hoyer has remained loyal to his Democratic Party. He has served in various political positions. He served as a majority deputy whipf rom 1987 until 1989.
Hoyer has great leadership qualities which has enabled him to remain in power for a long period. Reports indicate that the Democratic Party enjoyed a historic unity in 2003 when Hoyer acted as the majority leader. Hoyer can be seen as a moderate politician according to his way of doing things. He has a good tactics of funding his campaigns. He is a good fundraiser; this ensures that he has enough cash for his campaigns. Hoyer appears to be one of the greatest contributors to his fellow party members. His background has played a vital role in the development of his career. American conservative union rate him at 4 percent, while the ACLU, ACU, ADA rate him at 84 %, 90 %, and 88% respectively (Votes Mart). All these ratings present Hoyer as a liberal.
Maryland is one of the states of the USA. Different from other governance structures, the USA has a clear distinction between the county government and central governments. The political history of Maryland backdates from the colonial time when it was a British colony. During this time, its economy relied on tobacco as the main cash crop. Slave labor from Africa was used in the plantations. Maryland is well known to have gotten its freedom through the efforts of Catholics who remained vocal in fighting for the liberation of Maryland. In 1776, Maryland became a state of the United States of America,. This was after the famous American Revolution. The numerous wars that erupted forced the British colonizers to flee. The economy of Maryland faced a significant blow, and it is only after the American Revolution that the economy began to develop again.
Maryland State has faced many challenges in the past that had threatened its stability. Border conflicts, which erupted in the 17thcentury, affected it significantly. One of the largest towns in Maryland is known as Baltimore. The town was formed after the end of the colonial period. Baltimore port is known for its significant role in the development of the economy of Maryland. The town has a good and efficient network of roads and rails. The engagement of Maryland in the historical civil war in the United States forms a significant political milestone. The war resulted in a political transition which still remains eminent in the political history of Maryland (Barone & Cohen, 2007). The war occurred during the time of President Abraham Lincoln and Maryland governor Thomas Hicks.
Major political reforms occurred during the progressive era. The state aimed at ensuring democracy in the voting process. The constitution provided for standard ballot papers which could only be marked by the voters. This replaced the old ballot papers which were pre marked by the party agents. The closed polling booths were introduced to replace the older booths. In the older booths, the party agents could assist the voters. However, despite the improvements, the parties and the candidates did not have symbols (Barone & Cohen, 2007). This prevented the illiterate from voting. The party symbols were added later.
The most interesting thing is that Maryland has remained a Democrat’s stronghold from the late 18th century. This poses a challenging question on the factors that influence the voting patterns in Maryland. In one way or the other, we can argue that the voters in Maryland are informed of their political history and culture. Baltimore and other populous counties bordering Washington, Prince George’s, and Montgomery have dominated the state elections for a long time (Barone & Cohen, 2007). More than forty percent of Maryland population resides from the above areas. The areas have traditionally established democratic voting blocks. The area contains a large number of African-Americans, federal employees, and postgraduates in Montgomery. The other parts of Maryland, specifically the Western part and the Eastern shores of Maryland, support the Republicans. From the past, Maryland has supported a democratic candidate. This can be illustrated by the past 5 general elections. They have had a significant margin of around 15 percent due to its large population. In the 1980 general elections, Maryland voted as a block to Jimmy Carter. The democratic nominated candidates view Maryland as a very reliable ground to gather votes. The trend of supporting democrats has existed in all elections (Barone & Cohen, 2007). In the 1992 general election, Maryland was ranked as the second strongest stronghold for Bill Clinton. In the 1996 general elections, Maryland still supported Clinton. Gore received a strong support during the 2000 elections, and John Kerry received a similar support in 2004.
The major historic support for democrats was in 2008 elections when President Obama got more than 61 percent. The Republicans enjoy great support from the west and the east. As a result, they can win a lot of posts, but due to the populous democratic states, the democratic candidates end up beating them. Seven of the Maryland representatives are members of the Democratic Party (Barone & Cohen, 2007). The Democrats enjoy the majority in the state senate. Robert Ehrlich formed a historical event after securing a governor seat under the Republican Party. He only served for one term and lost to a Republican.
Benjamin Cardin serves as the current senator of Maryland. He was born in 1943 and acts as a junior US senator for Maryland (Barone & Cohen, 2007). His father served in the House of Delegates from 1935 to 1937. Cardin studied at the Baltimore College and obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1961. Cardin pursued his studies further to obtain a doctorate in law. He began his political career in 1967 and served in the House of Delegates until 1986. He was elected to the position while still pursuing his law degree.
He secured the position of the speaker of the house and set the record of the youngest speakers in the history of Maryland. In his position as the speaker, he articulated for change and reforms in the education sector. He also set a code of ethics for the elected officials. In 2006, he vied for the senate post. Though he faced a tough competition from other democrats, he won with 44 percent. In 2012, he was reelected, and he won. Interest groups such as ADA ranked senator Cardin 100 % of 20 in 2008 and 98 % in 2007 (Votes Mart). Family research council ranks him at 0 percent. ACU ranked him at 0 percent on conservative issues. From the ratings above, I can classify him as a liberal.