Posted by Adriana Espinoza on May 27, 2015 at 1:28 PM
Reddit users ask Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders about election reform
I have to admit I like Reddit probably more than I should. And because I log on at least once a day, I notice patterns in the posts that make it to the front page. Recently, I’ve watched Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders soar in popularity amongst users on the site. Senator Sanders is the longest serving Independent in Congress. He is lauded by Reddit users for having a consistent voting record that directly aligns with the ideals he campaigns on (a surprising rarity in today’s Congress).
On Tuesday Sen. Sanders did an AMA. For non-redditors, AMA stands for “ask me anything” and is a forum where users submit questions to a person of interest. I noticed the post on my commute home, three hours after it had been posted, and was excited to see the top question (as determined by votes) was about election reform!
The user asked, “As the longest serving independent in congress, what are your thoughts about electoral reform in the United States? Would you support a single transferable voting system for congress that would allow smaller parties to compete? And what are your thoughts on reforming (or doing away with altogether) the Electoral College?” Seeing this question at the top of the list of hundreds of questions serves as a testament to how concerned Americans are with the state of our electoral system.
Unfortunately, Sen. Sanders did not give a direct answer to the question. Instead, he diverted to campaign finance reform. His reply was, “The major issue in terms of our electoral system is truly campaign finance reform. Right now, we are at a moment in history where the Koch brothers and other billionaires are in the process of buying politicians and elections. We need to overturn Citizens United with a constitutional amendment. We need to pass disclosure legislation. We need to move toward public funding of elections. We also have got to see an increased federal role in the outrageous gerrymandering that Republican states have created and in voter suppression. These are the main issues that I'll be tackling in the coming months.”
To be fair, campaign finance is an important issue and is the chief concern for many Americans this election season, but it’s not an answer to concerns about the election process itself. Personally, I’d like to hear Sanders address the fact that millions of Independent Americans will be barred from voting for him in the Democratic Primary because of antiquated primary laws. Closed primaries disenfranchise voters for not being tied to a major party. As an independent himself, this is something he should be concerned about too.
There is something troubling about the fact that an Independent Senator can run for President as a Democrat, but millions of Independents can’t participate in that nominating process.