Whether you support Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, there is one thing a majority of voters can agree on: our primary system is indisputably undemocratic.
The arbitrary and arcane rules that dictate the way primaries are held in various states have led to widespread disenfranchisement and voter suppression—closed primaries exclude America’s largest voting bloc, Independents, and untimely registration deadlines (such as six months before the primary in New York) often cause even regular voters to forgo their right to vote.
Caucuses are even more undemocratic; while ideal in theory, they only allow those with large chunks of time to participate in the voting process and lead to extremely low voter turnout. (In contrast, states such as Oregon with automatic voter registration and 100 percent mail-in ballots achieve about 60 to 70 percent turnout.)
In addition to all of this, the state primary schedule is often unfair to lesser-known candidates, delegate allotment is bewildering, and superdelegates somehow still exist to make sure we know the party elites and establishment have the final say.
John Oliver accurately summed up all of these concerns during a spot-on segment on “Last Week Tonight.” To illustrate his point, he detailed the three rounds of district, county, and state conventions that occurred after the Nevada caucus, which caused an outburst from Sanders supporters after the already-enigmatic rules were thrown out in favor of Clinton (Clinton won the original caucus, but Sanders won the following county convention, giving him more delegates—until the state convention, where Democratic Party leaders pushed through a rule that erased the change in delegates from the county convention).
Oliver called the whole primary system “an erratic clusterf*ck every four years” where “almost every part…is difficult to defend.”
Oliver also eviscerated the existence of superdelegates, noting that if they claim to vote with the "will of the people" every election, why do they even exist?
Considering states such as Alaska, Maine, and Vermont have voted in state conventions this year to eliminate superdelegates in the future, it’s clear the people agree.
Oliver ultimately urged us to take action and write to party leaders Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Reince Priebus to change this “broken system,” because until we achieve systemic change, we’ll be witnessing this same voter anger and frustration every four years.
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