In 2016, Donald Trump complained on the campaign trail that the presidential election in America was “rigged.”
“The process is rigged. This whole election is being rigged. These lies spread by the media without witnesses, without backup, or anything else, are poisoning the minds of the electorate. No witnesses, no back up, no anything else…
The whole thing is one big fix. It’s one big fix. One big fix. It’s one big ugly lie. It’s one big fix. The press can’t write the kind of things they write, which are lies, lies, lies. The stories are fabrications and false.”
But since assuming the highest office in the federal government, President Trump hasn’t done much if anything to un-rig the system he railed against for being unfair when he was a candidate on the campaign trail.
If he’s serious about making U.S. elections fair and open, without undue influence by entrenched special interests to determine the outcome in advance, here are 10 ways Donald Trump is right and what can be done to fix it.
1. Eliminate Closed Primary Election Laws
Primaries in most of the states are the definition of a rigged election.
Closed primary elections serve an explicitly private purpose of selecting candidates to represent members of a private political party. Yet taxpayers in states that have closed or semi-closed systems still foot the bill — including those not allowed to participate.
Because 90 percent of elections are considered safe Republican or safe Democrat, primary elections are the most crucial stage of the election processW.E. Messamore
States with closed primaries prevent independent voters (which now outnumber registered Democrats and registered Republicans nationwide) and other voters outside the two major parties from having any say in who makes it to the general election.
Yet because 90 percent of elections are considered safe Republican or safe Democrat, primary elections are the most crucial stage of the election process as they often pick the eventual winner of the general election.
So the main candidates – and eventual winner – in any political race are always selected by a hyper-partisan minority, the people who vote in closed party primaries.
2. End Partisan Gerrymandering
Gerrymandering is a perfectly legal and widely practiced means of intentionally carving up potentially powerful areas of voters and splitting them off into different districts to prevent them from ever getting a representative in Congress that really represents them.
A federal judge ruled for the first time in US history in November that Wisconsin's Assembly districts were so partisan that they constituted a gerrymander.
It’s a very overt way that many elections in the United States remain perpetually rigged for a certain outcome.
A federal judge ruled for the first time in US history in November that Wisconsin’s Assembly districts were so partisan that they constituted a gerrymander. The success has inspired other gerrymandering opponents to file lawsuits in states like Pennsylvania.
The Wisconsin case will be head by the Supreme Court on October 3.
3. Improve Ballot Access Rules
Unfair ballot access rules are in place all over the country on a state and federal level that create a prohibitive barrier to entry for political outsiders or any candidate who is not in one of the two main political parties.
Along with primary election laws, ballot access requirements are essentially a guarantee that any election is already rigged from the start in favor of just two political parties.
4. Implement Ranked Choice Voting
The current winner-take-all design of elections in the United States rigs them in favor of intense polarization between two parties that only have to convince a plurality of voters that even if they are bad, they won’t be as bad as the other candidate.
This prevents people from voting their true conscience for fear that they are “throwing away” their vote, when they could actually make at least some difference and do some damage control by voting defensively for the “least evil” viable candidate.
Ranked choice or preferential voting could solve this problem. Learn more about how ranked choice voting works:
5. Abolish The Presidential Election Campaign Fund
On every taxpayer’s income tax return there’s a box they can check next to the question: “Do you want $3 of your federal tax to go to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund?”
What's the IRS doing raising money for presidential campaigns anyway? Cut it out!W.E. Messamore, IVN Author
That money goes to the Democratic and Republican Party presidential campaigns and rigs the election in favor of the establishment, because for third party or independent candidates to access that money, they have to meet certain vote thresholds and fundraising benchmarks.
This perpetually rigs the system against outsiders, and what’s the IRS doing raising money for presidential campaigns anyway? Cut it out!
6. Make Election Day a Federal Holiday
The less money and power you have in society, the more difficult it is for you to take off from work to go vote. This rigs the system in favor of the established and the powerful. Early voting helps some, but what we really need is a national holiday so everyone has a more equal opportunity to go vote.
7. Automatic Voter Registration
Did you know that in many countries, including France, Italy, Chile, Israel, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, you don’t have to register to vote? The government registers you automatically.
That one extra step is keeping who knows how many voters from showing up to the ballot box. Maybe we need automatic voter registration in the US as well.
RELATED ARTICLE: Concerned About Voter Fraud? Time to Try AVR
8. The Commission on Presidential Debates
The Commission on Presidential Debates is a capricious and arbitrary organization that works to keep presidential elections rigged in favor of the Republican or Democratic Parties.
The commission keeps out any third party or independent candidate that might challenge the notion that these two candidates are really the best the country has to offer if only they would be allowed on the debate stage.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is a capricious and arbitrary organization that works to keep presidential elections rigged in favor of the Republican or Democratic Parties.W.E. Messamore
The Commission on Presidential Debates is currently facing multiple lawsuits, including one that has seen some success in the courts already.
The FEC is defending the debate commission and its own policies toward it, while ignoring the mountain of evidence that the debate commission is neither “nonpartisan” or uses “objective criteria” to determine which candidates get a voice in presidential elections.
You can read the latest on the CPD lawsuit here.
9. Get The News Media Out of The Debates
Cable news stations shouldn’t even be hosting presidential debates. Their interests are inextricably intertwined with the moneyed political establishment that pours advertising revenue into media companies every election cycle.
It would be impossible for them not to be biased in favor of establishment politicians, as we saw, for instance, when leaked emails showed a CNN employee, Donna Brazile, sharing questions with one of the candidates, Hillary Clinton, ahead of the debate.
That’s just one very overt display of the inherent conflict of interests here. The debates should be hosted, organized, and moderated by universities or someone outside the media, and journalists should just be there to report what happened.
10. Allow Felons to Vote
It’s not at all obvious that people convicted of felonies should lose their right to representation in the government, especially when half of the felony crimes they are convicted of are non-violent, like drug or property crimes.
Many other countries still allow their convicted felons to vote.
6.1 million Americans couldn’t vote last year because they were convicted of a felony. More than a third of those are African-Americans.