A National Primary Wouldn't Work
Americans want and deserve a more rational system for selecting our president, but a national primary with every state participating on the same day is a bad idea. Proponents like to argue that under this scenario, more voters would have a chance to participate in the process, and all states would have the opportunity to be relevant to the selection of presidential nominees. However, a national primary day would present several significant problems.
First, a national primary would give a huge advantage to better-known, better-funded candidates since only they would be able to finance the expensive advertising and large campaign operation needed to run a national "get out the vote" effort in all states. Lesser-known candidates without extensive campaign operations would not have an opportunity to reach out to voters in retail-style fashion and build support. Moreover, densely populated states with higher delegate counts would become the dominant focus of the campaigns and the media. In addition, political parties would have little control over the selection of their eventual nominee, and state party leaders would no longer have the flexibility to set their primary or caucus dates according to state-specific considerations, such as redistricting issues, state holidays, or other state and local elections.
If you want evidence of why a national primary won't work, just take a look at 2008. At least 24 states held a primary or caucus on
Instead of nationalizing our primary elections process, the
Make no mistake about it. Candidates, voters, and political party members are increasingly frustrated with and confused by our seemingly arbitrary and chaotic presidential nominee selection process. The current system pits state against state when it comes to establishing voting order and fails to give many voters a chance to have a real say in the selection of presidential nominees.
However, a national primary day is a recipe for failure. It would only make it harder and more expensive for all candidates to have a fair shot at competing. Voters in small and mid-size states would largely be ignored. If anything, it would limit the number of viable candidates and severely reduce choices for the American electorate. If you think money plays too much of a role in our political process now, I urge you to consider the ways in which regional primaries would be superior to a national primary day.
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