Overheard on CNN.com: Gerrymandering in American politics
An 1812 cartoon described as a "Gerrymander" lampoons a legislative district drawn by Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry.
November 18th, 2011
12:57 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Gerrymandering in American politics

Editor's note: Readers have a lot to say about stories, and we're listening. Overheard on CNN.com is a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"Even if your vote counts, it comes down to which corrupt one do you want in office. Politics has become so dirty that there is no way the people can win. "
–TerryH13

CNN is taking a look at the redistricting process, which takes place every 10 years after each census is complete. In the last 10 years, 78% of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives did not change party hands even once.

David Wasserman, redistricting expert for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, says that through redistricting elections can be "almost rigged" in a sense and this can lead to a more polarized Congress. Readers responded to this story by expressing a degree of cynicism about the political process on both sides of the aisle. Some even questioned whether they should vote at all.

Why your vote for Congress might not matter

Commenters largely said politicians are influenced too much by money.

"Republican or Democrat? The candidates we get to choose from at election time are all rich, hand picked and sponsored by special interest and or corporate America," said str8Vision. "Like race-car drivers, politicians should wear uniforms adorned with logos and patches of the corporations, special interest groups and lobbyist who sponsor them."

FrankinSD replied, "What makes you think changing the faces will change the system?" He also said in a different post, "The creation of safe districts does more than just diminish the power of individual voters. It removes the incentive for the parties to nominate someone in the political center. If a seat is safely Democratic or Republican, there is no penalty for nominating an extremist."

BilyGoatGruf wrote, "I live in one of the most gerrymandered districts in the U.S.! it sucks cause I'm the minority party. My area does have quite a few people like me, but we're just used to bridge two strongholds for the opposing party. But I still vote!"

Others said they didn't feel like they want to vote. "I know I am back to feeling disenfranchised again and this article will support my new decision not to vote," said, ComeOnMan9. "Our election process is broken and money seems to be at the core of all decisions made."

glorydays responded, "Then the plutocrats have won. They want you to stay home."

vixis said:

"This is why I don't vote. It's a waste of time. Candidates win by the most money they have or who pads their pockets, at one time voting meant something but not anymore. No one cares what the taxpayers think, this is why I say we need to stop paying taxes. This will be the only way they will listen, money talks ... right!"

Some commenters wanted to stress that voting is important. bzzarr said:

"How could any American come to the conclusion that he/she wasn't going to vote? After all this country has been through, and all it has accomplished in less than 250 years. How can you just give up, shake your head, and walk away? We have out-done countries that have existed for hundreds, and in some cases thousands of years longer, in a matter of those 240 years. We owe it to our forefathers, we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our children, and most of all we owe it to our nation. We must continue to fight to make this country stronger. Its the people who have made this country what it is not the politicians.

What's your take? Join the conversation below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or, sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Congress • Elections • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    And bu far, the biggest thing, (to me) is:
    End corporate influence over Washington.
    No more lobbyists!

    November 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. emma

    To improve the political process I think we sould limit the right to vote to net tax payers.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    If it needs to be done and clearly it does, personal financial audits need to be done frequently on ALL members of Congress and Senate. At the very least every 90 days and randomly if warranted in between those periods. They need to be held accountable.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chrissy

    If it would put an end to kickbacks and insider trading and they are sincere about earning those positions there should be no problem. If they do resist thats a sign of corruption.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    Either way we would end up with more honest politicians.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kathy

    @ banasy, 100% agreed with your post @ 3:10. Yet I can't see that happening; it's the only way to control who becomes president by the (powers that be) in Washington.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. toad

    ALSO REPEAL THE 19th AMENDMENT. That would improve alot of things very fast.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    @toad:
    Misogynist much?
    Your name fits.

    November 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kathy

    I like the idea of a mixture of old day/new day regarding women and their place in the world and relations with men. Gotta go but I'll explain later. Banasy don't be so hard on the guy, it's not his fault that his IQ is so low! 🙂 LOL

    November 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ chrissy:
    I take a slightly different approach.
    I assume that all politicians have to be somewhat dishonest to get elected, and then to do their jobs.
    I assume that they all get a few perks that are hidden from my sight.
    I look for the politician who I think will act most frequently in my best interest, given his relative dishonesty.
    It's like what I heard a great voice teacher tell her inexperienced pupil (a young MET singer) about a manager when I first came to NYC: "of course he's a crook, dear–he wouldn't be a good manager if he weren't a crook."

    November 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. v_mag

    I vote, but it's an exercise in futility, especially in presidential elections. The candidates are pre-selected for me by the crazy primary "system" that allows small states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to determine who the rest of the country can vote for.

    Then, there's the Electoral College that disenfranchises the marjority of voters. The only good thing about it is that, since I live in red-as-a-bruise Texas, I can vote for a third party person without fear of helping the Repugnant candidate, since he's going to win anyway.

    Then there's the whole campaign finance problem that lets the rich buy the politicians on all sides.

    Then there's the corporate news people who determine who gets coverage, and the gerrymandering that gives a ruling party vast power.

    Top that off with Repugnants doing everything possible to suppress the remaining vote, and you have a system that is so broken, we might as well just admit that we live under fascism, as the corporations really do own the government. More accurately, corporations are the government.

    November 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    @JIF:
    You said on another thread that I have "an instinct for politics".
    Given what you just posted above, I now *really* have to wonder what you meant by that!

    November 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chrissy

    lol @ banasy makes me wonder that myself! Best motto WWJD! Somehow i dont see crookedness fittin in that picture at all!

    November 18, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gung hoe

    @banasy well well well banasy please dont pass out but I agree with everyhing youve posted

    November 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ banasy:
    That's my second good laugh in a week. Thanks.
    Re you:
    banasy has an instinct for not offending people.
    When she disagrees with her friends a little, she lets it pass or politely disagrees.
    She can–CAN–glide through a fight between two of her friends without taking sides, although sometimes she does take a side. (She's done it with me both ways.)
    When a new person appears in the room, she goes forward to meet him (or her: I hate PC), especially if that person is verbal and/or smart.
    banasy is basically nice to everybody, until she or someone else that she likes is offended, and then she really opens her mouth. Her jaw can go way down.
    Did I say that banasy was dishonest? Not really. She *can* keep her mouth shut.
    Could she keep it shut enough to become POTUS? I doubt it.

    November 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
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