OPINION – The slimy underbelly of politics is exposed as it never has been before as this freak show we call the 2016 Presidential Election continues its destructive path across the United States.
We are seeing, perhaps more vividly than at any time in the past, the seamy, gritty, dirty side of our system exposed.
When I can find a point of agreement with Donald Trump, you know how bad things have become.
But, I cannot help but nod my head when I hear Trump bellow how the nomination process is “crooked” and “rigged.”
Although at one point I thought I had a dog in this fight, I have come to realize I really don’t. My opinions are more based on who I think shouldn’t be elected as opposed to who I think should be elected. It’s the anti-politics thing, all wrapped up in old newspaper and masking tape.
The best I can hope for, as a matter of fact, is that we elect the person who will do the least damage. Right now, that’s a tough call. Nobody strikes me as having “The Plan” that will fix the many problems that linger from a hostile, ugly Congress, nobody fills me with hope, nobody inspires me, and I don’t think I am in the minority.
So, I’m hoping that we get through this election with as little collateral damage as possible and that we spend the next four years doing some serious soul searching.
Otherwise, we again risk dealing with a slate of wannabes who have done nothing but divide voters to the point that I wonder if we will ever recover as they slug it out for their party’s nomination.
The fault lies with party chiefs, however, who are manipulating systems that are badly in need of repair.
The Democrats and Republicans must overhaul their primary-caucus systems, which have become virtually meaningless.
The way things are unfolding, it really doesn’t matter what Trump or Bernie Sanders do at the polls because the deck is stacked against them.
The Republicans are making it plain that this delegate business isn’t worth the paper the ballots were printed on and the Democrats have these magical super delegates who have already been bought and paid for by one of the most powerful and slickest political machines in the history of U.S. politics.
The Republicans are now saying that the whole delegate thing is really misunderstood and that, legally, well, just because they are supposed to support a particular candidate doesn’t mean that they will be required to do so.
So, do the delegates really matter? If they don’t, then why bother with this whole charade?
This business about super delegates and rule changes that unlock locked-in delegate commitments means that the votes cast during the primaries and caucuses are meaningless and we can relegate all that talk about freedom and democracy to the dusty pages of history and say goodbye to a system that worked, albeit more successfully sometimes than others, for 240 years.
While I could never find a reason to cast a ballot for Trump, I do have a sense of what is right and what is wrong. What is happening to him is wrong. The rules have changed to, at any cost, block him from the Republican nomination. How successful the GOP will be remains to be seen. On a personal level, unless they have a ringer in the wings, the recipient of this chicanery, Ted Cruz, is an equally odious, dislikable guy who also would never get my vote.
The Democrats are doing the same to Sanders, who came into this dogfight with the stigma of being unelectable. He also carries the burden of being an Independent seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination, another strike against him.
From the pointless Democratic debates, scheduled purposefully on nights, for the most part, with little television viewership, to a party chief who was clearly in the pocket of Sanders’ competitor, he, too, has not received a fair shake.
Like them or not, Sanders and Trump have energized voters who haven’t been engaged in the political process for a long time and whether you approve of them or not, you have to understand that bringing new faces into the voting booth is a good thing. It is our job to educate and illuminate those new voters, but it is also our responsibility to keep them engaged.
Unfortunately, the integrity of the system has been broken and I wonder how many of those voters will remain involved and how many will wither in disappointment.
Then, there are those who have been participants in the system for many years who are equally distraught at the farce that Election 2016 has become.
For those of us who are shaking our heads in dismay, all we can hope for is major realignment – or, better yet, the emergence of a completely new regime of political parties in whatever number – to occur before we do this again in four years.
And, while we’re overhauling things, I think it is evident that the Electoral College, that antiquated rite of political passage, should be canned before we gather again in four years, It’s the only way to make our votes legitimate again.
The Electoral College has far outlived its purpose. It’s time to kick it to the curb and make our votes count as intended. Instead, we go through this silly, outdated process that can overturn the will of the people.
It’s no wonder voter numbers are so low.
We were raised to believe in the power of the vote, only to discover that in the real world, that power is limited.
Throughout the nation’s history, there have been roadblocks placed in front of the voters – from literacy tests to all sorts of odd voting practices – to dampen the spirit of those who simply want their voices heard.
Unfortunately, their protests to how this has all evolved have fallen on deaf ears.
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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