John Oliver Explains How Gerrymandering Hurts the “Foundation of Democracy”

On Sunday, John Oliver took on the issue of political gerrymandering to explain how the process of re-drawing voting districts in order to unfairly benefit whichever party draws up the lines weakens the democratic process. As the Last Week Tonight host noted, the technique is partly responsible for providing Republicans with an “edge” in the House of Representatives, even though more Americans voted for Democrats in recent congressional elections.

“In a democracy, the question of who gets to draw the map should not have as much significance as it currently does,” Oliver said.

“Election results should not be the result of politicians’ crazy lines. They should be the result of our own crazy decisions.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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