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John Oliver criticizes primary, caucus process for rewarding delegates

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HBO

How could a candidate who wins the popular vote in a primary or caucus receive less delegates than the runner-up? John Oliver asked that question while slamming the system on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight.

Summing up presidential primaries and caucuses as the “electoral foreplay we’ve been engaging in since February, which will culminate in the mass balloon ejaculations of this summer’s conventions,” Oliver noted Bernie Sanders’ controversial contest with fellow Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Wyoming. There, Sanders scored 56 percent of the vote, but received seven delegates while Clinton netted 11.

“And it is not just the Democrats,” Oliver said. “When Donald Trump won Louisiana, beating Ted Cruz by more than three percent, he was upset to discover that Cruz could potentially get as many as 10 more delegates.”

After showing a clip of Trump complaining about losing delegates to “this guy that got his ass kicked,” Oliver explained why he actually agrees with Trump on this point. “The thing is, I get why he’s annoyed,” the host said. “And there’s no clearer piece of evidence that our system is broken — no more thoroughly dead canary in the coal mine — than when Donald Trump is actually making sense.”

That’s when Oliver really laid into the election process, calling it “an erratic clusterf— every four years.” And while noting that Clinton has actually won the popular vote this election cycle, he faults party leaders for their ability to ultimately reward more delegates to a candidate who loses the popular vote. Have no fear, though — Oliver has a solution.

“Unfortunately, we only get angry about the primary process during the primary process, when it’s impacting the candidate we care about, but the middle of the game is the worst possible time to change the rules,” Oliver said, prefacing his idea. “So if everyone is as angry as they say they are right now, let’s together pick a date early next year to actually write an email to the chair of each party and remind them politely to fix this. I propose February 2. Now, that will be easy to remember because it’s Groundhog Day, which does seem appropriate. Because unless this primary process is fixed, we are all destined to live through the same nightmare scenario over and over again, until the end of f—ing time.”

Watch his full remarks below.