If you perform a google search for the term "learned helplessness" in all likelihood the following will be the first result:
Noun: learned helplessness - a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed. It is thought to be one of the underlying causes of depression.
Both U.S. Political Parties have been purveyors of "learned helplessness" toward the electorate. The GOP Roberts Five Justices' anti-democracy decisions: Citizens United, McCutcheon and the striking down the Voting Rights Act can be categorized as traumatic events, with this "learned helplessness" favoring the Republican Party. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has done little to counters these rulings.
There is no pain greater than to be helpless in the face of a loved one's suffering
(Image by The Endless Beast) Permission Details DMCA
The electorate from the Democratic Party and Democratic leaning independents have persistently failed in their pursuit for open and fair elections during the 2016 presidential primary/causes season. This same electorate were sent the "Learned Helplessness" message by the 359 superdelegates who endorsed Hillary Clinton before even a single American had voted: that in all likelihood your primary vote won't count. Such early endorsement send the message that either: don't bother voting or if you don't want your vote casted for a loser, vote for Hillary Clinton.
Sanders supporters were told that superdelegates pick whoever they believe is the strongest general-election candidate, which at the time appeared to be the case, but such early endorsements doesn't foster participation in the Democratic process.
Just as at the turn of the twentieth century, U.S. voters are currently disenchanted with both of our political parties as indicated by June 2012 and April 2014 Rasmussen Reports polls which found that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is fair to say that neither party in Congress is the party of the American people. The April 2014 poll indicated that just 28% disagree, while 19% are not sure, which explains why the 2014 mid-term voter turnout percentage of eligible voters was a 72 year low.
The following evidence shows that the Democratic Party is faring worse than the GOP:
Since 2008, Gallup found the percentage of U.S. Voters registered Independent has increased by approximately 23%, primarily as a result of defections from the Democratic Party.
In 2015, Gallup found fourteen states safely or leaning Democratic, and sixteen states safely or leaning Republican, with sixteen states categorized as "competitive between the two parties", a net increase of fifteen states for the Republican side, a net increase of six as competitive and a net decrease of twenty-one for the Democratic side, since 2008.
The Democratic Party combined 2010 and 2014 mid-term election losses were 76 and 15 seats in the U.S. House and Senate respectively. This represents the greatest combined two mid-term election loss since 1946-50, which was a precursor to the end of 20 years of Democrats in the White House.
Now that Donald Trump is the 2016 Republican Presidential Nominee the stakes for Americans couldn't be higher, yet the superdelegates seem to be unwilling for perform a current risk assessment based the most recent polling by both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders against Donald Trump. If the aim of the superdelegates system is for these delegates to vote for the candidate that has the best chance of beating Donald Trump, a real-time risk assessment is in order, otherwise another "Learned Helplessness" message will be sent to the electorate and the voter turnout in both 2016 and 2018 will likely reflect the depression felt by the voters.
The responsibility of a risk assessment falls primarily on the superdelegates, but since it is my understanding the Democratic Party rules permit pledged delegates to "vote their conscience", pledged delegates appear to have the ability to send the voters a message of empowerment to the voters, as well.