Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Politics: The Election Process

I think that the way we choose candidates is one of the biggest problems with our current political system. It’s bad enough that we have a two-party system, but allowing them to choose our nominees from strictly within the parties lends itself to extremism.

As I see it, the party primaries encourage extremism on both sides. The most extreme members of the electorate tend to be the most likely to participate in the primaries, which means that candidates have to appeal to the extremists to get nominated. There were Republican candidates that I actually would have voted for if they’d been nominated in 2012, but they weren’t hardcore-conservative enough, so they were eliminated early in the primaries.

The party primaries always set up moderate, centrist candidates for failure, even though (in my arrogant opinion) the moderates would have far better chances in the general election, where most of the voters are moderate independents. The candidates with positions closest to the general population are always pushed out by the extremists.

The solution I see is to have open primaries instead of party primaries. On a specific date (probably in August), there’s a general election, and the two candidates with the most votes go to a run-off in November. If someone gets more than half of the votes in the primary, there’s no need for a run-off; that position is already decided.

The open primary would force candidates to try to appeal to the entire electorate during the “primary season”, instead of trying to appeal to the subset of their own party that they consider most likely to get them nominated, and I think that would result in better elected officials.


Mark Kaiser said...

I do think that the more pressing issue that is adversely affecting the political dialogue - pushing it to be more and more extreme so as to be useless - is the impact of money on politics. Citizens United combines the ease with which PACs can be created and abused to create a poisonous distortion in the representation of our voice in government. Representatives, in order to be eleected, MUST focus on fundraising to the extreme that THAT becomes their primary job and goal as legislators. This allows an environment where our voice is being bribed and hijacked away from us, and then fed back to us as our own voice. THAT, my friend, is something that providing more political party alignments won't directly impact, as the money funnels into ALL party coffers. Find a way to restrict the influence of money, and we can have our voice back to make the changes we need to make.

Lord Runolfr said...

I certainly can't disagree with the way money affects our politics. I think that dropping the party primaries would still help, as money would be directed to more "electable" candidates, but large corporations and wealthy individuals certainly have a disproportionate influence on elections. The first thing news agencies talk about regarding elections is how much money each candidate has raised.