John Oliver broke down the very confusing — nee frustrating — Presidential primary and caucus process during Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight.”
Many people, both Democrat and Republican, have complained that the current system set up by the two major parties is rigged. Oliver even found himself in the strange position of agreeing with Donald Trump, who beat Ted Cruz in terms of votes in Louisiana, but still received fewer delegates.
“I get why he’s annoyed. And there is no clearer piece of evidence that our system is broken, no more thoroughly dead canary in the coal mine, than when Donald Trump is actually making sense,” Oliver said. “When you see results like that, the process does feel counterintuitive.”
Oliver then went into which states hold primaries versus caucuses, with caucuses being party meetings held at a specific time and date. Turnout for caucuses is notoriously low, as many have trouble fitting the often hours-long meetings into their schedules.
In addition, both parties are able to tip the scales in favor of a particular candidate. Democrats use superdelegates, who are free to support any candidate at the national convention. Republicans use unbound delegates, who can vote for whomever they want after the first round of balloting, or in some cases whenever they choose.
“This is a system that clearly needs wholesale reform,” Oliver said. “There’s no guarantee that the candidate with the most votes will win next time. And if they don’t, all the flaws we just documented will be exposed yet again.”
Oliver closed by saying that despite the outcry, you can’t change the rules midgame.
“You don’t get to the end of a football game and say, ‘OK, who found the most eggs?'” he joked.
So instead, Oliver argues, we should pick a date early next year to email the heads of the parties to remind them that we want this system changed. Appropriately, he suggests Groundhog Day.