It’s not fair: so saith The Donald

April 10th, 2016

u-s-primaries-and-caucuses-explainerBelieve it or not, there is good news in this political season.

Thanks to the protracted primary/caucus process with its crazy quilt of 50 sets of rules in 50 states and now the wrangling over unbound delegates and super delegates, our two-party elections system has been exposed for what it actually is: an exclusionary, undemocratic scheme designed to protect the few, meaning the party bosses on both sides.

Had it not been for The Donald and his 16 brethren aspirants to the throne, the script might have run as usual this year, with a few debates, a bunch of editorials and endorsements, and a clear decision as to nominees before St. Patrick’s Day.

But with the bloviating billionaire bully leading the pack, the rest of the GOP hounds chasing and yapping after him, and the mainstream media playing along for the sake of content that writes itself, ratings and the billions of dollars that followed, only a deaf-and-blind cave-dwelling eremite could pretend to ignore what is now so obvious that even The Donald himself sees it.

Here’s part of his rant on the subject at a rally on Sunday (4/10) in Rochester: “We’ve got a corrupt system, it’s not right. We’re supposed to be a democracy. We’re supposed to be you vote and the vote means something … and we’ve got to do something about it.”

Like a broken clock, The Donald is right now and then, and this is one of those times. What has happened is that he has discovered – albeit eight or nine months after he announced his candidacy – that there’s a set of rules that very likely will prevent him from seizing power. And whether you support him or not, you may be among the millions of other people who are similarly surprised to learn that your vote in whatever state you live in might not have mattered so much after all. But if you’re registered in one of the so-called major parties, you’re better off than a lot of other folks.

To that point: Fully 40% of all registered voters in the United States are registered in neither so-called major party. Among millennials, the figure is 60%. By any calculus, that means that more people are denied the right to vote in most primary elections than are allowed to participate. And there is a word for that: it is disenfranchisement.

But because our political process is governed at the state level, each state – and each party — makes its own rules. As a result, the candidate with the most votes in the GOP Presidential Preference Primary in some states (e.g. Florida) wins all of the delegates, while the candidate with the most votes in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary wins a proportional number of them, but in neither case does that necessarily translate to a corresponding number of votes by delegates at the nominating convention. And in some states, such as Colorado or Iowa, a bunch of people with nothing else to do for five or six hours go to a school auditorium for a caucus and decide who gets that states’ delegates. Then, at the conventions, everything can change depending on what the rules committee decides…

So The Donald is right: the primary system as it operates today denies millions of people the right to participate fully in the electoral process. (For details on every state, visit http://www.thegreenpapers.com)

Unfortunately, in a nation that worships states’ rights over the welfare of the nation as a whole, it is not likely that this will be fixed any time soon. But at least more of us are aware of the problem now.

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