‘the Advantages of Primary Elections Far Outweigh Their Disadvantages in the Selection of Each Partys Presidential Candidate’, Discuss

955 Words Jan 13th, 2013 4 Pages
Primary elections are elections held previous to a Presidential election to decide upon the presidential candidate from the two main parties. These are held in each state, each of which then goes on to sponsor the winning candidate of their primary at the national convention, where the party’s presidential candidate is announced. This method of choosing a candidate came about due to the McGovem/Fraser Commission of 1968 (where Mayor Daley refused McGovem the chance to run as he was too liberal). It replaced the old system of decisions being made in ‘smoke filled rooms’ where party bosses were all powerful and made the decision.
The alternative to the primary election is the caucus, which is more similar to the original version of
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It weeds out the weak candidates, who will lose momentum along the way and fall out of the race. Those who cannot handle the campaign for the primary election, would not be cut out for presidency.
A last advantage to the primary elections is that it gives a chance to candidates that would not otherwise be in the running for presidential candidacy. What may be an unconventional democrat/liberal who is unpopular within the party may prove a hit with the electorate and gain a lot of votes. The party will get the candidate who is most electable out of the options, even if this is not necessarily someone entirely in line with party ideology. Jimmy Carter, for example, was not widely known until the 1976 primaries when his distance from DC politics played to his advantage, as it meant that he was also distanced from the recent Watergate Scandal.
This could also be seen as a disadvantage to the primary election, as it prevents the parties from expressing their wishes towards who the candidate should be, and thus an unworthy candidate may be chosen. Primaries could lead to someone with little experience of governance, or someone who is not representing the party ideal being put forward as candidate and the state parties could have no influence over this.
Another disadvantage to the primary election is the pure monetary cost of the campaign. Candidates
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