RESOLVED: political parties are private organizations that can make up whatever exclusionary, self-destructive nomination rules they want.
Are our elections rigged? Of course they are. By neglect, inertia, tradition and intentional deception, the major political parties have colluded with partisan lawmakers to justify and defend the wholly rigged election system to be for and about the extension of the party's power in the system to the exclusion of the rights of the individual voter.
Quiet intentionally and systematically, the political parties have educated the voting public into falling into the partisan trap of thinking that elections have always been about one team against another, Red v Blue, Right v Left. That's the way it's "always been done" so that must be the way that American politics works, right?
Wrong. And it's now coming back to threaten the parties. In an age when voters are abandoning the traditional parties in droves (self identified "independents" make up to 42% of all voting Americans according to Gallup), the current presidential fiasco is exposing the party insiders and their exclusionary schemes in ways never seen before.
Now, Trump and Bernie would like you to believe it's personal, that the parties "bosses" are out to get them. (OK, there is a little truth to the anti Trump boom being a little personal.) But really what's at play is the rigged system on full display. The party nominations have NEVER been about individual voters and their influence in selecting a nominee. Elections have ALWAYS been about the party and its leadership/elite deciding who they will listen to.
So the "rigging" is very real -- it's just not personal. Instead the rigging by both parties is all about maintaining the illusion of listening to individual voters all the while keeping the Wizard's curtain firmly shut to hide the lever-pulling power and influence of the insiders/influencers/establishment that have always controlled elections. (See: Democratic "Super delegates" and every closed caucus nomination.)
But the system is showing its age and its inability to control the process the way it used to.
Always-on cable news, social media, non-joiner millennials and the explosive growth of independent voters have all collided to expose the truth (that's been hiding in plain sight for all these decades): the parties believe elections should be about the private activities of private political parties. But more and more independents (and lots of party members shut out of the system) are beginning to more actively fight for the better way to think about representative democracy: elections should serve people... not the narrow interests of the private political parties.