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Does the US Nomination Process Make Sense?

Yay or Nay? Does the US Nomination Process Make Sense?

Democrats and Republicans choose nominees through a less than straightforward series of caucuses and primaries. Each party and each state has its own set of jumbled-up rules.

The extreme media attention given to the early voting states can be unpopular — some say it skews the race in a way that ignores true electorate preferences. For example, Iowa, the first state, is extremely homogeneous (the population is 95 percent white) and cares a lot about corn subsidies.

But it's not all negative. The early states hold candidates responsible to groups of sophisticated voters who cannot be bought off by deep pockets. In addition, the Democratic Iowa contest doesn't use secret ballots, so voters must articulate reasons for supporting a candidate. Finally, the attention given to early small states is one of the few chances for these states to remain relevant on the national scene.

This year, it might all be different! The realities have been turned upside down. Neither party has a clear frontrunner, and it might come down to Super (Duper?) Tuesday when 24 states vote. Mass media campaigns and big states might actually wield some influence, for better or for worse.

So what do you think — is the US nomination process good for democracy?

Join The Conversation
janneth janneth 9 years
Give me a break. This process of caucuses and primaries is bizarre.
juju4 juju4 9 years
And I am pretty sure that Iowa voters care about more that just corn! From a poll on CNN before the caucuses, health care, the war, and the economy were the top issues that they were concerned about, which mirrors the rest of the country.
juju4 juju4 9 years
I think that for anyone with sense, the candidate that the other states voted for shouldn't matter. People need to take it upon themselves to learn about the candidates and the issues.
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
can't wait for February 5
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think it would be good for more Americans to experience the "early state" blitz. As a child I lived in an "early state", and I think it completely shaped my involvement in politics. When you meet presidential candidates and their wives when you are in elementary and middle school and see the media frenzy, it really makes being active in politics a normal part of your life.
DCRoamer DCRoamer 9 years
I like the primary system in part, because without it, the candidates likely would campaign just in big cities and would ignore small states and their issues. BUT - I don't think it is fair that it is always Iowa, NH, and SC that get such a huge say. In the state where I used to live, the primary was always in June - so, my vote was basically disenfranchised since the early states picked a candidate well before that. I would like to see a system where they rotate every four years which states go first. Some years in NH and Iowa, other years it can be a few completey different states.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think that having to talk to other people might deter some citizens from participating. Most people think of voting as a very private thing. I also feel like later states can get a lazy attitude, because they feel the decision is made before the campaign even gets to them.
acyl acyl 9 years
Plus the darn media seems to want to declare a "front runner" so early on. They don't even give lesser candidates a chance.
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