Watch: John Oliver Perfectly Nails 10 Reasons Why Our Primary System Is Deeply Broken
Presidential primaries and caucuses are, according to comedian and explainer John Oliver, “the electoral foreplay that we’ve been engaging in since February which will culminate in the mass ball ejaculations of this summer’s convention.”
He does have a way with words.
"Both parties nearly have their nominee and it looks like the two parties will be choosing between Donald Trump, America’s walking, talking brushfire and Hillary Clinton — the woman who exhibits either too much or too little of every human quality depending on who you ask," Oliver stated. But there's still a lot that can be improved in our primary and caucus processes.
Oliver explained in one of his more brilliant and clearminded rants:
1. It’s possible for winners to take fewer delegates.
In the Wyoming Democratic Caucus Bernie Sanders won Wyoming but took only 7 delegates to Clinton’s 11. And in Louisiana, when Trump beat Cruz by 3%, “he was upset to find out that Cruz could potentially get as many as 10 more delegates.”
“We have voting booths for the same reason that Friendly’s has restaurant booth - so that we can have relative privacy while we choose from a deeply unappetizing menu," Oliver said.
2. Donald Trump makes sense.
After Louisiana, Trump called the primaries “a fix” and the election process a “rigged system.”
“I get why he’s annoyed and there is no clearer peace of evidence that our system is broken than when Donald Trump is actually making sense," said Oliver.
3. Too much of the process is left up to state leaders.
The inconsistency dates back to 1968 when the prior system broke down due to democratic party leadership picking Hubert Humphrey who hadn’t competed in a single primary.
"While most states hold primaries, [more than a dozen] states hold primaries and caucuses. Generally you’re lucky if you live in a state with a primary, unless you live in Washington State," Oliver explained.
Washington actually has both primaries and caucuses, but “the democratic primary in Washington doesn’t count,” What? Yep, all the delegates were decided months ago.
4. The competition doesn’t have clear rules.
Politifact even revealed that “the arcane party structures don’t reflect how most people assume the presidential selection works," Oliver stated.
“Any competition should have clear rules. You don’t get to the end of a football game and ask “who found the most eggs?” Oliver quipped.
That just isn't the fame that most people thought they were playing.
5. Each party has its own way of putting its thumb on the scale.
“For the democrats, it’s super delegates [and] if they’re not going to make a difference, then why take the risk of having them at all?” asked Oliver, in response to the DNC chair’s claims that the voters decide the election. “You’re basically keeping rat poison in the jar next to the sugar saying ‘Hey, it hasn’t been a problem yet!”
6. Even when Delegates are elected by voters, the voters often don’t know what they’re voting for.
For instance, there was no way of knowing which delegates supported which candidate on the Pennsylvania GOP ballot.
7. Political Parties are basically private clubs and can set their own rules.
“In theory they could give the nomination to whichever candidate can squeeze a frog the hardest without crushing it," Oliver mused.
8. The conversation moves on once the system produces a winner, who never cares how they won.
Trump pinpointed this phenomenon exactly: “You’ve been hearing me say it’s a rigged system, but now I don’t say it anymore because I won,” Trump announced at a campaign rally in Charleston, West Virginia.
“Do you think the producers of ‘The Martian’ are complaining about the rules in which the Golden Globes actually gave them ‘best motion picture comedy or musical?’” Oliver compared.
9. There’s no guarantee that the candidate with the most votes will win next time.
However, coincidentally both party nominees will have the most votes in 2016, so that’s something.
10. We only get angry about the primary process during the primary process.
“The middle of the game is the worst possible time to change the rules," Oliver reminded us.
Watch his rant: