Presidential Primary Elections in the United States

Good morning, Citizens!

Thank you for joining us today for our most important duty as citizens: voting. We have a lot of work to do between now and the end of the day, when we must absolutely conclude all legitimate voting and tally the results as fast as possible. Fortunately, as you’re about to see in the following presentation, the American electoral system is the greatest and most wonderful electoral system in the entire world, the only electoral system suitable for properly channeling the greatness of our society through that most solemn duty of voting.

Big welcome to our new voters! Whether you’re here because you’ve lazily accepted your family’s beliefs, or you’ve had a sudden epiphany after receiving a college education, or perhaps you’ve been activated by the deepest, darkest recesses of the Internet to attempt a violent, ideological, far-right transformation of government policy. Whatever your origins you are all welcome here today and your votes will all be equally counted. And let’s take a moment to thank the approximately one-third of eligible voters for staying at home, because let’s face it, this process is complicated, and more people would only make it more so.

On that note, please make sure you’ve checked all your local rules and regulations to make sure you are allowed to be here and engage in the voting process. Every single state and county may have different rules on who may vote and the issues they may vote upon. This information will be available on a remote part of your local county clerk’s website. It is incumbent upon you as the voter to sift through all federal, state, and county rules prior to voting. Failure to do so may result in fines or jail time, even if you weren’t aware a crime was being committed. Security is available and ready to escort illegal voters to the nearest detention center.

Finally, today’s presentation will be brought to you by BIG MEDIA, your trusted leaders in sifting through this complex process to provide you with the most realistic choices for your consideration based upon the narrow window of acceptable coverage we’ve defined for you. You can trust our decades of experience in manufacturing the messages you’ve come to know and love that validate your political beliefs without having to do anything more than vote. And now, with a wide variety of news channels catering to your every political desire, from centrism to far-right neo-fascism, there’s no reason not to trust… BIG MEDIA!

Now, with all those preliminaries out of the way, I present to you…

Our U.S. PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION SYSTEM!

All right, Citizens! Please separate by state and political party. If you don’t have a party, well, you may as well go home. Most political party memberships are required at least thirty days prior to primary voting. Some states may allow you to vote as if you were in a particular party, or might let you sign up right now. Some do not. You might think this disenfranchises large swaths of the population, because it’s true. But can’t we also say that non-party voters disenfranchise themselves by not picking a side? Well, that’s a philosophical question for another primary. Security will be around to round up all the non-party voters to direct them to the Generic Ballot room, where you can vote on all the non-partisan races for your state and county.

Have we removed all the independent voters? Great. Next, can every member of a political party that isn’t the Republicans and Democrats please raise their hands? OK. We’re going to relocate you to the Third-Party Room, located on the far-end of the voting center, in the furthest possible section away from nearly all coverage. Don’t worry, we’ll still have a presence there, in case any candidate or supporter says something particularly outlandish. I mean, let’s face it, looking at the number of hands in the room, it’s not like the coverage won’t be proportional to the numbers. Simple as that.

Well, now that we’ve gotten all the riff raff out of here, let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we? Now, within your groups, separated by state and county, please figure out how you want to complete your primary process. Whatever you want, no matter how convoluted or inefficient, just throw something together as long as you all agree to the same rules. If you cannot all agree to the same rules, then you’ll need to take whatever archaic process was used last time and postpone all changes to the next available primary. Remember, an ordered society is governed by rules, and changing those rules requires rules, and changing those rules requires even more.

But this is also the time, Citizens, to have your candidates engage in those lengthy discussions about those rules to serve as thinly veiled campaign speeches about common values. Some of you regular Citizens may even be lucky enough to be yielded time on a microphone to have your say about those rules, which will be immediately discarded with all the rest of the public comments from non-candidates. Remember, your power isn’t in commenting; it’s in voting!

While you’re working on deciding how to run your primary processes, let’s talk about the candidates currently running for office. Not only will this distract you from the oftentimes mysterious and swift changes to primary elections and caucuses happening while we speak, but it will give you a better idea of who you might vote for when the time comes. Not all candidates may have thrown their hat into the ring quite yet so be ready for one or two dark horses showing up fueled, appropriately, by dark money.

And there are only two major sources for getting news about your candidate.

First, please refer to the massive number of radio ads you’ll hear and the election advertisements you’ll receive in the mail. All of them will refer you to websites designed by the same marketing firm for both parties, paid for by your campaign donations, all viciously slanted towards one candidate or position. Much of the information you’ll glean from these sources will be used by your shallow friends on social media for their latest hot takes on the candidates or positions while we go through this process. Most of them will advise that you shouldn’t look at the past for this decision, because they themselves haven’t bothered to look at the past. There’s information available, of course, but both sides generally say you can’t trust the other, so you’ll have to make do. And remember, there will always only be two sides. This is by far the greatest source of information you’ll receive, metric shit tons of it flying around, coming at you from all sides, which realistically takes years of experience and insight to sift through it all.

That’s why the second trusted source for news about your party and candidate is BIG MEDIA, bringing decades of experience in political coverage. You’ll see the candidates walking around, followed 24/7 by our reporters and cameras, to keep you up to date on their latest, carefully crafted press releases, along with every single gaffe they make along the way. We’ll also dig up choice sound bites from the past that give you a feel for each candidate without all that boring policy and platform verbiage. Remember, the best way to understand a candidate’s positions is through their personality and their willingness to cater to whatever demographic they might be addressing. It may look like our channels seem to get behind certain candidates, but that’s the diversified, editorial beauty of BIG MEDIA!

And TIME! Sorry, but the time for each group to determine their rules is over. For those of you who decided to do paper ballots, please coordinate with your appropriate state secretary and county clerks to have the ballots prepared with whatever candidates are known today, provided they have the proper number of signatures, and can withstand all petty challenges from other candidates and organizations. Since it will take time to print the ballots, feel free to use this time to try and convince everyone else in your group to vote for your candidate. Name calling and hyperbolic political reasoning are encouraged, or else everyone in this room is going to die a terrible, painful death. We know this can sometimes get emotionally charged, but that’s part of the price of good governance and the building blocks of great election coverage.

Now, some of you might want to vote absentee in this process to avoid all this drama. If absentee voting is okay with your state and county regulations, feel free to skip out on participating side-by-side with your fellow, obviously much more patriotic citizens fulfilling our most solemn duties. Assuming your absentee ballot is filled out perfectly and not misplaced somewhere along the way, your vote will be counted if absolutely necessary. Otherwise, for the real heroes showing up in person to vote, please be sure to have everything you need to vote when the time comes, including: your state-issued ID card, three forms of address verification, written proof from the state that you have not been convicted of a felony, proof that you have not tried to change your party affiliation, a written and signed note from your employer excusing you from work to vote, a negative COVID test, a clean bill of health by two doctors, and the secret passphrase to confirm your right to vote.

This primary’s secret passphrase is POLL TAX. Write that down.

For those of you who decided to use caucuses to determine your candidates, please coordinate with our logistical administrators, paid for by your campaign contributions, who will try to allocate enough space for whatever complex series of discussions and straw votes are necessary. Party leaders manage this process from start to finish, and while microphones will be available so everyone can be heard, please remember to shout as much as possible, while wearing campaign t-shirts and waving placards to support your positions. This is another chance to be ignored while in the most technical sense being heard. When it comes time to cast your caucus votes, please try not to feel this is as if you have someone voting in the booth with you, silently staring daggers between each straw poll.

Now, each state has determined their own primary date or dates, each calculated to garner their state the greatest advantage in swaying the public opinion of the country. Please remember that no one may vote ahead of time, only on the date or dates you’ve worked out earlier, nor would you really want to since at any time, one or more of your candidates might drop out for any reason, or a new candidate may appear simply for the publicity. States with ballot elections, please be advised that means your candidate may still appear on the ballot despite dropping out or may need to be written in.

OK, Iowa, go ahead. Let’s get the cameras on and watch the process happen, as we assume our very presence doesn’t influence the proceeding one bit. How else can everyone remaining in line watch and provide their input via social media? Isn’t it amazing to see how each slate of candidates fares against this arbitrary first round of primary caucuses, against a demographic that doesn’t even come close to representing our population? Seems like something isn’t quite white… I mean right about that.

Oh well! The results are in! Here’s how everyone ahead of you in line voted, just so you know. You might think this would unduly influence the minds of the remaining voters and you would be correct. Because you sure can tell just how far each candidate will succeed solely on this one performance in a sparsely populated state with little to no major industry. And you can trust that because you’ll be told by… BIG MEDIA!

#BigMedia #TrustBigMedia #DefendBigMedia

OK, New Hampshire, now you get to go. All cameras off, please, this one is a secret ballot, but don’t worry, we’ll let you know these results at the end as well, so they can further influence your decision, despite the demographics for Iowa and New Hampshire being strangely similar. Here’s some speculation from our crack team of analysts as to how it will go while we wait anxiously for the ballot totals while endlessly analyzing exit polls. It may be inappropriate to suggest any frontrunners at this point, but we will, because everyone needs to know who is winning at all times, no matter if the reason why makes any sense.

And done! Great, as promised, here are the results, which we’re going to tally on these multi-million dollar displays with dynamic mapping that we’ve placed on the screens around you. You can also access them on our advertising-laden websites, along with all our analysis headed with edgy, clickbait headlines, and our very own push polling done in cooperation with all the trusted pollsters you know and love, or maybe just on our website. Use all this developing information to make your own predictions on who will win and cast your vote in that direction. This isn’t a time for voting on principle anymore. This is about winning!

Does everyone get how this works now? Great.

So, while the next few states are voting, and while we’re updating our vote and delegate totals for each candidate, it’s probably a good idea to discuss all the money changing hands all around us. You might think the presence of all this money might also have an undue effect on the primary election process. But the Supreme Court has recently ruled that money is speech, so like sweet dreams, who are we to disagree? We report the facts here at BIG MEDIA, your trusted source for election news.

Here’s a handy guide for understanding the money around you. Now, if you are a voter or a corporation giving to a candidate or an organization spending money to support a candidate, that’s called a political donation. And if you’re a candidate giving money to a voter, that’s called a campaign worker’s paycheck (if legal) or a bribe (if illegal). The paperwork, if any, should show you the difference. If you’re suggesting that voters will have to pay less in taxes or receive some form of government benefit, that’s called a campaign promise and legally implies no obligation to follow through. And finally, if you’re a candidate giving money to a media organization, that’s called advertising.

And we here at BIG MEDIA want you to know that despite the massive influx of advertising revenue during this period, the dump trucks of money in our possession in no way shapes our diversified coverage. How else could we provide all this important coverage and commentary of this extensive and expensive process? I mean, we didn’t come with the rules, you did. We need to keep the lights on, you understand, and you do your part every moment when you tune in or share one of our articles on social media. That’s why we salute you, the voter, as the real heroes of this process.

OK, so, we’re going to take a break from these primaries and caucuses to post a few key updates. Remaining states, we’re sorry to say that some of your candidates have decided to stop running, so supporters for those candidates, you’ll need to figure out who else you might want to support. Yes, that means all your previous donations are effectively wasted, even the one you made just ten minutes ago. You’re always welcome to refer to the mailers, advertisements, and most especially, BIG MEDIA, while you reconsider your vote. If you want to leave the line, maybe jog down to the third-party room to stretch your legs and remind yourself about the definition of futility, that’s fine, we’ll hold your spot, but you won’t be able to change your ballot, nor is there time to switch party affiliation. So, be back by your voting window if you want your voice heard this primary! No exceptions!

Now Nebraska goes, but just the Republicans, along with West Virginia. It’s your turn to vote, but before you do, we should let the Republicans know that only one candidate left has a mathematical chance of winning the primary election, so there’s only one meaningful vote left to cast. We understand if that makes you want to give up and leave, but remember, there’s other stuff on the ballot which we’re not giving anywhere near adequate coverage. But all is not lost! Now is your chance to vote on principle to maybe influence the million-dollar consulting firms hired with your donations to determine your party’s vice-presidential candidate!

Next, next, next…

OK, now, we’ve done more statistical analysis and one of the Democratic candidates is not likely to win. It’s not impossible, of course, but we’re providing analysis based upon our immense experience here at BIG MEDIA. We’re not trying to influence the process because this candidate’s policies might hurt our corporate bottom lines. It’s just a numbers game at this point, which we’ve been showing you repeatedly, and mathematics should never unduly bias your decision, only inform it.

Now, I know you’ve been standing in line since Iowa, but these are just facts. You can stay in line or leave if you want. Sure, there is a slight statistical possibility that this specific candidate could win, but that’s a risk you’ll have to take. Also, if you’ve already voted by mail, we hope you didn’t intend to change your vote, but you knew the rules going in. We had that big discussion about them before, remember?

Primary Elections over! Thanks for participating! But we’re not quite done yet!

Many of you have completed this process before, so you know that your votes don’t count directly. It may be the case that a single, direct primary vote done by a single ballot on the same day might be a more efficient and fair process, but what happens if no candidate passes the post? Do you think we could possibly consider an instant-runoff or ranked-choice voting system that would remove this kind of horse race drama? Of course not! Who wants a boring election? Where would we get our memes? And most importantly, we wouldn’t have the all-important spectacle of the national conventions, where the real decisions get made!

Now, each state and party, please take your voting results and follow your individual rules to assign each of your delegates to one of the candidates for your party. You might do this proportionally. You might do this winner take all. You might even allocate delegates to candidates who have dropped out or clearly can’t win. But whatever happens, assign those delegates to represent all those individual votes, and divide yourselves into conventions. We’ll have someone run down the hall with a small camera crew to tell the third parties to do the same and to record their results.

Conventions are the pinnacle of the presidential primary process, especially for us here at BIG MEDIA! All the pomp and spectacle of the race culminates into a final event for both major parties. This is where each party gets to determine their presidential candidate for the General Election. Now, it’s usually clear who will be nominated by this point, thanks to these handy maps we’ve used, but that doesn’t mean the process might not have a few surprises, which you can follow here on BIG MEDIA!

Each party should now gather ALL their delegates together and hold your convention.

Republicans, please get all your celebrities and media officials together. We’ll send half our remaining reporters and camera crews to your event. You really need to use this time to gloss over any overt right-wing nationalism while simultaneously doubling down on any outlandish campaign promises and blowing every political dog whistle that can get past our sensitive ears here at BIG MEDIA! Count your delegates if you wish, or just move whoever has won mathematically by unanimous consent so there can be more room for speeches that begin tearing down the expected Democratic candidate. Break out as many flags, elephants, and bald eagles as tastefully possible.

Democrats, please divide your delegates into regular delegates and those you’ve previously identified to be superdelegates. Now, you might recognize these superdelegates as people who have been advising you how to vote this entire time. It might seem like being a superdelegate gives them unreasonable leverage in the political calculus of the party. It may even seem ironic that the Democratic Party, who base their platform on equality and social justice, finds some of the delegates to be more equal than others. But they’ve been chosen for… let’s say experience and wisdom… and they generally have access to more information and more locations that your average political boss. So, doesn’t it make perfect sense these omniscient, omnipresent superdelegates should also be given omnipotent power over the process? And once they’ve voted, along with whatever those other delegates decide, then we’ll know. Unless they avoid that confrontation like every other primary through unanimous consent.

And when those processes are done, then we’ll have our two major candidates for the General Election, plus whatever the folks down the hall came up with. Now, before you head over to the Generic Ballot room, and let them know the only results that matter, this is a good time for us all to head down to the Third-Party Room and start berating them for jeopardizing your potential victories in the General Election. These folks should probably be political allies, who would probably vote defensively anyway if they felt their voices were heard, but it’s important to start comparing them to the worst of the monsters in the other party as early as possible, because you’ll be able to blame them for any narrow defeats.

Got it? Good! Now, let’s go deliver the exciting news to the Generic Ballot room, where we can begin this process all over again, this time with the Electoral College, where everyone’s vote doesn’t count equally! And for all your information and insight on the General Election, look no further than BIG MEDIA as your trusted news source, now with political flavors for everyone!

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Joseph Dobzynski, Jr.

Joseph Dobzynski, Jr.

Amateur writer, reader, critic, and philosopher. Follow for fiction, satire, analysis, books, and philosophy with a leftist bent.