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Elections Are Broken And We Haven't Even Gotten To The Big Show Yet

By Emily Cutler | Politics | May 23, 2016 |

By Emily Cutler | Politics | May 23, 2016 |

In an attempt to humor my way through this election cycle, I’ve looked to The Lion King for inspiration. And no, I don’t mean hakuna matata. Rather, I try to remember Timon and Pumba turning over various rocks and logs to find their bug and slug dinner. I’m trying to be as delighted whenever John Oliver does a piece on our political system. As he reveals the writhing plethora of flaws under each political rock, I try to see each one as an opportunity to improve a flawed system instead of reacting as I used to with screams of “Kill them! Kill all of them! It’s rotten and infested! Kill it with fire! BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND!”

It’s been working, for the most part, but last night’s piece on primaries and caucuses was a hard one to smile through.

There’s a lot of shit in this piece (specifically, what the fuck, Washington state? Like really, what the fuck?), but the issue that struck me most was superdelegates. Because somehow, despite hearing about them, their role in the primary process, and the ways in which both campaigns were supposedly manipulating them, I’d never stopped to consider one key element of their existence: the Democratic party leadership keeps reassuring us that superdelegates will never do the one thing they were created to do.

I even watched and posted on a video dedicated to superdelegates, and didn’t ever consider how inherently contradictory the explanation of superdelegates is. “Superdelegates aren’t required to vote for the candidate the voters support, but they totally always will, unless the voters pick a real asshole at which point the superdelegates are obligated to vote for the candidate who represents the best interests of the Democratic party.” We can argue about the realities of superdelegates ever actually going against the will of the voters, but we have to agree that that is their intended purpose, yes? That fact that the Democratic Party would never have a Trump candidate because the superdelegates would prevent it means we’re acknowledging they were designed to act in accordance with the people in charge? That the party leadership telling us that the superdelegates have been created to overrule our will but never would means that at best superdelegates are useless and at worst that the party leadership is blatantly lying to us?

I’m not saying that I necessarily have a better plan for distributing power, I’m just saying I’ll be writing that letter on February 2nd and listening to “The Circle Of Life” on repeat while I do it.