The unexpected twists and turns of the 2016 presidential election have exposed interesting fault lines within both the Democratic and Republican coalitions. But they have also revealed something even more uncomfortable: that our system of picking presidential candidates is inadequate, lacks transparency and accountability, and faces a fundamental legitimacy problem. Clinton and Sanders have spent media cycles arguing over which states “mattered” more than others based in part on their election systems, and the fate of dozens of delegates may have been decided by whether a state held an election or a caucus, and whether that election was an open or closed primary. In both 2008 and 2016 Democratic candidates have publicly started to rely on a strategy of overturning the actual will of the voters by persuading the party mandarins who make up the party’s so-called “superdelegate” vote. Meanwhile on the Republican side Ted Cruz’ campaign is explicitly attempting to take delegates from Donald Trump at various nominating conventions and caucuses that in essence are controlled by state and local party insiders, in spite of the will of the actual voters in those states and districts.
David makes great suggestions here, but I’m feeling pretty cynical about the possibility of such occurring. We have a system that is opaque and convoluted by design, and I’m not sure it’s worth saving (or even possible to do so). Honestly, for one to conclude that the current system is designed to serve the will of the people, I think you’d either have to have been fooled by the appearance of such, or you’re more likely the embodiment of Upton Sinclair’s line, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”