Brow Beat

John Oliver Explains Why Our System for Picking Presidential Nominees Is So Unbelievably Messed Up

When John Oliver actually agrees with Donald Trump on something, you know it’s serious—and that’s just what happened Sunday night, when Oliver blasted our “broken” system of choosing presidential nominees, the same system that both Trump and Bernie Sanders have recently criticized as rigged. Using his usual clarity and humor to tackle the most mundane political minutia, Oliver calls out the primary process for being less than democratic (though as Slate has pointed out before, it isn’t meant to be democratic).


Fans of Bernie Sanders won’t be happy to hear that the primary, while unfair, isn’t the only reason their candidate is losing: Oliver notes that in this case, Hillary Clinton not only has the most delegates but also the most votes overall, however coincidentally. Luckily, he’s already prepared for their discontent, anticipating such colorful internet comments as “Did someone just Benjamin Button Henry Kissinger?” and “an angry Toucan funded by Shillary.”

History is written by the victors, so most people forget about the problems with primaries and caucuses as soon as their candidate has clinched the nomination. That’s why British Milhouse—sorry, Oliver—proposes that we all take some time on Feb. 2 to remember that the process needs to be fixed, lest we continue to be caught in a never-ending cycle of nightmarish escapades every four years.