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

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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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Whilst successful candidates may receive sponsorships from big companies eventually, the campaign requires a huge expenditure to set the ball rolling. Thus, less well-off candidates are ostracised and it is almost impossible to launch a campaign without huge financial backing. Thus, the poor of America are incapable of running for presidency. It has thus been said that ‘America has the best democracy that money can buy’.
The election process is also criticised, for going on for too long and being excessively vain. Having a primary at a different time in each state means that the process is drawn out and publicised for months previous to the presidential election, and even longer if the invisible primary is taken into account. This means that the electorate grow tired of the constant campaigning and lose interest before the real election rolls around. The voter turnout to primaries is very low, and is usually made up of mainly party activists. The media spotlight on the candidates during the primary elections could be seen to turn them not into legitimate politicians but celebrities who are judged not on policy but on appearance and charisma.
The primary could be seen to have a negative effect on party image and unity also. As the candidates campaign then they criticise their opponents, who may eventually end up as part of their political team. The party image is detracted from with the bickering and the picking of flaws between the candidates. Also a