On the EDge: Trump and Sanders are right, it’s rigged

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.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • BIG GUY April 26, 2016 at 10:30 am

    To paraphrase Ed’s words, “Nobody strikes me as having ‘The Plan’ that will fix the many problems that linger from a hostile, ugly PRESIDENT; nobody fills me with hope, nobody inspires me, and I don’t think I am in the minority.” In fact, I know I’m not in the minority. Voters have spoken clearly by repudiating Obama’s policies resoundingly, electing an overwhelmingly Republican Congress in the biggest shift of party control of Congress in history.

    Ed, liberals and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) would have us believe that the Republican Congress thwarted Obama at every turn. Instead it has been Obama who has thwarted the will of the people as expressed by their elected Congressional representatives time and again for the last five plus years. And it’s been Obama who has resorted to unconstitutional executive actions and regulations multiple times, bypassing Congress whenever he thought he could get away with it. Goodbye and good riddance come next January.

    Having stated the obvious, I will agree with Ed that this year’s candidate field from both parties is the worst since at least the 1920s. (We did elect Republican Warren G. Harding in 1920, another low point.) I have sympathy for both parties’ leaders: Sanders isn’t a Democrat and Trump is certainly not a Republican. Both have energized the parties’ radical wings but neither would/will stand much of a chance in the fall. So what’s a party boss to do? This is a mess.

    Hilary supports suing gun manufacturers as responsible for shooting deaths. Does she support suing computer manufacturers when people store classified information on personal servers in their homes? Cruz (along with Utah’s Mike Lee) shut down the government for 18 days in what he knew was a futile gesture…but it got him name recognition at our collective expense. I think I’ll vote “no” for president this year.

  • Brian April 26, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Way to believe the lies rather than the facts, Ed. Trump is a populist playing for the crowds and the cameras, and will never let the truth get in the way of his soundbites, pandering, and name-calling.

    They claim Cruz is stealing delegates “without any votes” (lie), when in fact 65,000 people voted through the established system in Colorado. The rules were in place last year, and was the exact same system the Colorado GOP used in 2012 and 2008, when no one claimed the delegates were being “stolen”. Cruz took the time to put a ground game in place, to hire people that knew what was going on, and actually showed up and met with people. Trump doesn’t know his butt from a hole in the ground, hired morons that made massive mistakes (like emailing delegates in Washington DC to tell them to vote in the Washington STATE caucuses), was lazy, and didn’t show up at all. Of course Cruz won and Trump lost!

    The caucus system is FAR superior to a primary. Every single person that wants to be involved in a caucus can be. Caucuses are much less expensive to run. Everything happens at the level closest to the people (a hallmark of good government). It keeps people involved and informed, and is very difficult for big money to influence. In essence, you’re discussing politics and actual issues with your neighbors. Primaries, on the other hand, keep people uneducated, uninvolved, and massively influenced by big money and special interests. The only problem with caucuses today is that the average American is uninformed (or misinformed), disengaged, and lazy. The 3 hours it takes to caucus seems like torture compared to the 20 minutes it takes to vote in a primary.

    The biggest problem with primaries is that they hugely favor the incumbent, regardless of how atrocious they are. The incumbent almost always has 10 times more money behind them, has political operatives and alliances, is backed by the establishment, and can largely control the dialogue. All of that gets washed away in the caucus / convention system. Just ask Herbert, who lost 45 to 55 to Johnson over the weekend, but will almost certainly win in the primary. No wonder Herbert and his high dollar establishment friends fought so hard for the “Count My Vote” initiative that does exactly the opposite of what the name implies. It should have been called “Manipulate My Vote”.

  • Wayne April 26, 2016 at 11:47 am

    You know, I lived just north of St. George for many years and have many, many friends there.
    This is the first time I have read your articles.
    Now when I was last there, the people still had good common sense.
    What the hell has happened ?
    So just what do you want to see in a president ?
    I take it you are an American citizen and doubt you would say so if not.
    Not sure why you do not like Trump.
    He is by far the most patriotic and best qualified for the job.
    And i would add, he will beat Hillary if she is not in prison by then.
    And I will not even go into a discussion about Sanders as he has absolutely no chance of being president.
    If you love this country as most Americans do, you should be glad we have someone like Trump that can not be bought.
    I personally as many, many Americans feel, that Trump is a God send in a time of our nations need.
    Together, we can take our country back.
    Think about it.

  • Lastdays April 26, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    If they want to play in the Big Leagues they both need to put on their big boy pants and quit whining. It’s embarrassing for people campaigning to be President to complain and carry on when things don’t go their way.
    Their childish behavior exhibited at times is enough evidence for me that they’re not qualified to be President.

  • Matthew Sevald April 26, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Not sure why you’re getting all the hate for this particular article, though it most likely boils down to knee jerk reaction at your name in the author line.

    I don’t agree with many of your opinions Ed, but I do on this one – in fact, so much so I created this account to comment. I admire that you don’t hesitate to call a spade a spade. The political process in our country is entirely a vulgar farce designed to placate the masses into believing they have control over their future. Trump and Sanders are outsiders giving the establishment a run for their money and the powers that be are whining that they’re going to take their ball and go home.

    While I personally believe Trump isn’t as bad as he is being made out to be, he is far from perfect. However, his political naïveté is refreshing in that he gives hope that he is not more of the same. Perhaps he’s being honest, perhaps not. What we do know for certain is that other than Bernie Sanders, all the other candidates truly are more of the same, and as you pointed out, many of us Americans are to the point of voting for who will do the least damage.

    This is a good article and readers would do well to heed the call for reforms and work to make them happen at a local level. St. George and rural communities across the board could benefit from this blatant exposure of establishment corruption since they’re microcosms of the greater problem.

    I would direct readers to check out these videos to wake up to the charade into which our current form of government has devolved , compared to what it ought to and should be.

    Overview of America by the John Birch Society
    Run Down: We are a Republic, not a democracy. Why that’s a good thing.

    The Story of Your Enslavement
    Run Down: People are tax cows to be farmed, tricked into thinking they have freedom because it makes for more complacent livestock

  • Common Sense April 27, 2016 at 7:03 am

    While I typically do not agree with Ed due to his liberal ideology I do agree that we should can the electoral college. I have felt for quit some time now that my vote does not count and that is the main reason for my withdrawal from politics over the years.

    • Brian April 27, 2016 at 11:19 am

      You do realize the electoral college is the only reason small-town America (like southern Utah) has any voice at all in presidential elections?

      New York City has 3 times more people than the entire state of Utah combined, and this is a trend that will only increase.

      Do you really want a handful of huge cities like New York to be able to tell the rest of us how to live? They don’t understand us at all and view us as backward hicks.

      The point of the electoral college is to maintain a balance between big cities and small towns, so that both are represented and neither can always be in power. And it works for that quite nicely.

      It is very similar to the World Series, where the winner is chosen based on the outcomes of 7 smaller matches, not the cumulative total of points won.

  • .... April 27, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I can’t wait to see what kind of hot air is going to be spewed out by the RealMcBoy when he finds this article. LOL ! Oh this is going to be good ! Prepare for a load of useless jibberIsh garbage. LOL !

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