many people are “feeling the bern” and so I’ve been thinking about one of his catch phrases that the U.S. has a corrupt and ,more specifically, “rigged” system. By that he probably means that it is difficult for establishment outsiders to win. I decided to take a closer look at it.
Unlike in some European countries voters cannot directly pick their candidate although it can sometimes seems so. The polling stations are reporting how many percent voted for whom, but in fact this percentage only translates into the number of delegates that are available in the specific state. Among Democrats it usually works proportionately. Got a third of the vote ? Gonna get a third of available delegates. But again, it is the land of the free so each state can have slightly different rules.
The percentage is determined either through caucuses that are basically like your neighbourhood get-togethers where people publicly express support for one candidate and get to bad-mouth the other group or primaries that are simply secret ballots. Delegates themselves are usually local political leaders, activists or early supporters of a certain candidate and they are bound to vote for whoever they are awarded to.
So while this is mind-numbingly complicated, no real rigging here…wait .. what are superdelegates ? Superman, Batman, Catwoman… Sadly no (It would be so much more fun though). Superdelegates are for example members of Congress, governors, former vice-presidents and many (many) former or current officials. Among Democrats this year they constitute about 15% of the vote. In 2008 elections it was nearly 20%. So their number can change year-on-year and their minds change minute-on-minute. That basically translates to our favourite proverb : Those who have many friends become president as many times as many friends they have. Ok, maybe that doesn’t really make sense, but you know what I mean.
So is the process rigged ? If you are Bernie Sanders : Hell yeah ! If you are Hillary Clinton : *many intelligent word + smirk* I personally think the process is not rigged. Certainly overcomplicated, but not rigged. As a president you rule to all classes and people whether they are poor or rich, from Wall Street or Walmart, part of the establishment or the hippie family living next door. Maybe this superdelegate thing is just a way how to protect and maintain a stable system from crazy revolutionaries and ideologists. After all it is probably the most powerful job in the world. But again, maybe I am the crazy one here.
P.S. Far be it from me to try to influence you, but if you are feeling the bern maybe you left your oven on. Just sayin’…