Gerrymandering helped John Delaney win office, but he says it has 'broken our democracy'

Gerrymandering, now a dirty word in American politics, launched John Delaney’s political career

CNBC's John Harwood sat down with Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., who is leaving office to run for president. Here, they talk about the "huge problem" of gerrymandering.

Harwood: The start of your political career — you got launched by gerrymandering. How do you feel about that, given the fact that gerrymandering has become a dirty word?

Delaney: It should be a dirty word. I had never focused on it that much. There's no question that my district, which was created after the last redistricting that was done in the state, was gerrymandered to make it a more competitive district because it had been held by a Republican.

I really became very sensitive to this when I ran for office the first time because both Democrats and Republicans were upset about it. Republicans felt like the Democrats kind of engineered this district away from them. It really struck me how the reaction to this, on a bipartisan basis, was negative.

One of the things I said to my future constituents when I was running was, "Listen, you're right about this. We shouldn't do this. You should pick your reps, the reps shouldn't pick you." I made a commitment to them that this would be one of the issues I take on. I've really taken it on. I've had legislation to end it nationally. It's a huge problem. It's really one of the things that has broken our democracy, in my opinion.

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