Wag the Blog Redux: Do Primaries Help or Hurt?
Yesterday's announcement that former Florida state House Speaker Marco Rubio will challenge Florida governor Charlie Crist, if, as expected, Crist runs for the state's Senate seat, opened the door for discussion about the nature of political primaries.
In Tuesday's Wag the Blog post, we asked you to weigh in on whether primary contests are generally helpful or hurtful to political parties.
More specifically, we asked: "Do primaries -- in the main -- allow the best candidate with the most compelling message to rise to the top? Or are they typically bloody and expensive contests that distract from the general elections where there are real differences between the candidates?"
The most insightful responses from Fixistas -- as culled by post.com politics producer Sarah Lovenheim -- are below!
"The primaries are too long, tedious and costly.Those in office who are running neglect their primary responsibilities to the citizens who elected them and the tax payers who pay their salary...Primaries should end by April 15th and voting should be a National holiday in Sept..." --Emily14
"It seems, historically, that in an open race when a grassroots-supported candidate challenges an establishment-supported candidate primaries are a great thing for the nominee & the party ! Examples: Reagan & Obama. If a primary takes place when a grassroots candidate decides to challenge an establishment incumbent, then primaries are generally a bad thing. Examples: Chafee & Carter. There are exceptions, of course...If the seat is open and a grassroots candidate faces an establishment candidate, primaries are a great thing. If a grassroots candidate is challenging an establishment incumbent, primaries are a bad thing." -- reason5.
"Primaries... not only make the candidates better, they're good for local party organizations. The Republican party of Hawaii is very small. Out of 51 seats in our legislature something like 7 are GOP. Without primaries, the voters would have next to ZERO input in choosing their representatives and no way at all to organize the broad range of views among Democrats....Furthermore, as in many places, big money interests like to organize our politics for us. Primaries are our way around that, and in our state legislature, my county does surprisingly well. Unfortunately, in local politics we're still working on that..."--kalliek.
"Its not an either-or question. A savvy campaign can use a primary to properly prepare for the general election. Others end up shooting themselves in the foot." -- bsimon1
"To answer the question: Primaries help. Although the ideological differences between same-party candidates generally are minor, the debates and interchanges throughout the extended campaign period highlight the opponents' strengths and weaknesses in presenting themselves before a national audience and handling the media. These factors are important, and ideally the primaries will result in the nomination of the candidate who is most likely to win the general election, the ultimate goal of each party." --Allison10
Washington Post editors
May 6, 2009; 6:30 PM ET
Categories: Wag The Blog
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