Recent primary issues prove U.S. elections need overhaul, adjustments

It’s one thing to make a typo on your term paper, accidentally forget your class time or miss a number on a math problem. We all make mistakes.

This year’s election, however, seems to be a completely different case in itself.

Though sometimes, these “mistakes” aren’t mistakes. They’re just … confusing. Hopefully this is not intentional.


More primary contests took place Monday night as Donald Trump claimed victories in Nebraska and West Virginia. In addition. Facebook posts under the hashtag #Election2016 surfaced that proclaimed Bernie Sanders the winner in West Virginia and Hillary Clinton as the winner in Nebraska, according to the Associated Press.

But wait—Nebraska had its caucuses back in March, which Sanders won. This is again substantiated by the fact that the AP-released info, which highlighted Clinton as “winning” Nebraska, shortly changed to reflect otherwise.

Must be some sort of crazy conspiracy since Sanders already won the caucuses in March, right?

Not exactly.

See, there was most definitely a caucus and the results in terms of having an actual win matter vs. the primary. Though the State of Nebraska has decided to put actual weight on their current caucus system, it’s still legally required that they have registered ballots for the primary, according to an Omaha World-Herald article titled “Hillary Clinton gets symbolic primary victory in Nebraska, but Bernie Sanders’ win in caucuses stands.”

So here we have a primary that’s not a primary, but it is a primary … legally speaking. However, it apparently means little since the caucuses already happened.

This is what I mean when I say “confusing.”

Also, it’s hard to ultimately dictate a winner in this situation when you have a caucus scheduled for one date and a primary on another.

There may have been more voters who support one candidate that were more informed of another event, and vice-versa.

So between events such as this and the alleged disappearance of votes in states such as New York and Arizona, it may be easy to come to the conclusion that the system is rigged.

Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” had no problem making his opinion known on the matter, proclaiming that the system was clearly “rigged” because of the fact that Bernie received less delegates than Hillary after victories in multiple states.

First, if the system is rigged, we likely allowed this to happen due to apathy about the election system. U.S. voter turnouts have never been the best, and we’re often content enough with the candidates we see on the ballot in the general election.

Between Trump and Sanders, that doesn’t seem to be the case this year—more independents appear to be turning out at the polls than ever before.

Second, the system is more likely disorganized as opposed to rigged. And once again, this could easily connect back to voter apathy.

So what can we do to make sure this doesn’t continue to happen?

We need to continue going out in numbers and showing our elected officials that they’re not going to just stay in office by chance.

Young voters need to keep track of how these checks and balances work well after an election ends.

All too often it feels like we let out a cheer and “hooray!” after a single elected official makes it into office (see: the Obama years). After that, we go back to telling ourselves how much our votes don’t matter and that our involvement in the system is nothing but a huge waste of time.

That’s how we created this apathy, and likely how we wound up with the allegedly “rigged” or disorganized system we see today.

Regardless of who winds up in the White House, we cannot let this get out of hand again.

The opinions expressed in Bassinger’s column do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer Staff.

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