Half of Americans believe the presidential nominating system that parties use to select their nominees is “rigged,” and more than two-thirds would want the process changed, according to the results of a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.
More than 47 percent people said that they believe that the presidential nominating system is “rigged” against particular candidates, according to the poll results, while only 23 percent people appeared to place full confidence in the system. Twenty-three percent of the voters said that they were “unsure” about the credibility of the nominating system.
The results of this new poll come as calls to put the electoral nominating system under increasing scrutiny have gathered pace over the last few days. Allegations of a “rigged” party culture, coupled with constant murmurs of voter suppression in various parts of the country during this nominating season, have called into question the very credibility of the system, and as the current poll shows, this belief is held by a wide share of the American public.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been vocal about his thoughts on voter suppression, something that his supporters contend was highlighted during the New York primary earlier this month, where a staggering 27 percent of the electorate — amounting to three million people — could not find their names on the voter lists due to various reasons.
In fact, such was the agitation against names not being included in the New York Primary that Election Justice USA, an organization representing disenfranchised voters, had filed a lawsuit seeking to open the state’s primary to voters whose party affiliations had changed without their knowledge.
Not only Sanders, but even Republican front-runner Donald Trump has made allegations of a “rigged” nominating system that, he claims, is stacked against him in favor of Ted Cruz and John Kasich — both candidates with closer ties to the Republican Party.
After the Colorado Republican Party had awarded all its delegates to Ted Cruz, Trump lashed out in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, saying that “the system is being rigged by party operatives with ‘double-agent’ delegates who reject the decision of voters.”
While the United States is one of the few countries in the world where regular voters have a say in whose name goes into the presidential ballot, the state-by-state system of primaries, caucuses, and conventions is generally deemed complex. Many have contended that the system of state primaries only gives voters an illusion of taking part in the process, whereas the real decision ultimately rests with the party.
As Huff Post notes in its report, there are several underlying factors that influence how a candidate is selected.
“One quirk of the U.S. system – and the area where the parties get to flex their muscle – is the use of delegates, party members who are assigned to support contenders at their respective conventions, usually based on voting results. The parties decide how delegates are awarded in each state, with the Republicans and Democrats having different rules.
The delegates’ personal opinions can come into play at the party conventions if the race is too close to call — an issue that has become a lightning rod in the current political season.”
This means that a candidate with close party affiliations would be better placed to win the nomination. This seems particularly true in this year’s nominating race, where presidential candidates belonging to both parties have made allegations against their respective parties favoring particular candidates.
Furthermore, the poll results give credibility to the allegations that the nominating process in not completely transparent. Bernie Sanders, for example, has suggested that a party’s nominee should be selected by a direct vote, a feeling shared by 71 percent of Americans, according to the Reuters poll results.
“I’d prefer to see a one-man-one-vote system,” said Royce Young, 76, a resident of South Carolina. “The process is so flawed.”
We can combat voter suppression and increase turnout by ensuring that anyone who is of voting age is automatically registered to vote.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 23, 2016
All said and done, the credibility of the nominating system has never been questioned as vociferously as is being done now, and while it could probably be down to the nature of this year’s nominating races, it could finally lead to a larger debate — and perhaps an intervention — that would be beneficial to the way American people choose their party representatives.
Do you think the nominating system is rigged?
[Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]