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. "

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. s kel

    I drank too much while off duty at GW Bushs 1st inauguration party at the convenition center in 2000 than it snowed. True story, and I had fun.

    November 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    Gung, you left out the two wars he got us into...

    November 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    I would rather have had a continuation of BC's old policies that GWB's new ones.

    November 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chrissy

    lol gung hoe u are not convincing me much at all here sorry! nothing personal but Bush was the worst president in history! And to even give him ANY credit for quick and productive reaction to the hurricanes is absolutely ludicrous! Plus bank bailout ???

    November 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    not to mention they never have to pay that back! What kinda foresight was used on that? And oh yea dont worry bankers you dont have to account for it so if yall wanta give yourself huge bonuses, well yall go right ahead!

    November 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ s kel:
    Of course you drank too much: you were in DC. 🙂
    Drinking and having fun are two things I associate with that city. It's also beautiful.
    I could tell you stories, but I never would.

    November 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ chrissy:
    Bush was the worst?
    Well, I'd say Carter, but then I'm a Republican.
    I'm curious as to how much you thought of Reagan–uh, were you born...kids...all kids...

    November 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    lmao yea i was born b4 Reagan however was to busy and immature to be bothered with politics at that time

    November 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    I'd have to say it's a toss-up between Carter and Bush.
    Carter makes a much better peace ambassador than he did President.
    He was pretty ineffectual...
    I'm not getting into Ronald Reagan.
    I'm not a kid, either; I remember those years well, and not fondly.
    Perhaps it has something to do with my personal life at the time, but I remember buying my first house under Reagan, with my interest being 13% on it.
    Not because my them-husband and I were bad credit risks either, lest you think that.

    November 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    Omg ur a Republican??? Lmao im teasing but truly i didnt want to hear that lol

    November 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chrissy

    My favorite pres and still is was Bill Clinton, i dont care about his scandal. However, he did one thing before leaving office that DOES trouble me and that was the agreement he signed allowing jobs to go to other countries! That was stupid!

    November 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. roro

    I know people who work in voting rights, and I can tell you for sure that gerrymandering is EXACTLY how they skew the vote in their favor. They try to make sure their party wins and the minorities haven't much to say about it.

    November 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Fear not: Clinton signed Nafta, but it was in the works since 1986 under the republican presidency.
    Many presidents sign things into law that was a holdover from previous administrations.
    I liked Bill, too.
    Didn't like his morals, but as a politi tian, he was second to none.
    He was fun to watch, too.

    November 18, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bigwilliestyles

    The thing that bothers me about present day politics is the unshakable feeling that the pols and the corporations are not only completely in bed with each other, but doing everything they can to consolidate this coupling, not because of, but on spite of the average American. I truly believe they consider the rest of us as moronic simpletons, only to be used to suck their value upwards, like the humans kept in the pods in the movie 'The Matrix', only with less feeling...

    November 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bigwilliestyles

    ...Couple that with news stories of lobbying, bribery, gerrymandering, the back and forth of jobs between the government and corporate sector; Supreme court decisions that clearly support the Government/Corporate couplings, candidates for the highest office in the land who appear poorly equipped to run a lemonade stand and a press that is ALSO owned and run as a corporate conglomerate that no longer resembles a real 'free press', and you have the roots of protest and support of protest: the OWS Movement Worldwide...

    November 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
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