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Opinion: The Primary/Caucus System Should Be Abolished

Ben Gordon, Grade 11, Staff Writer


It is well known that before presidential elections, each party uses state primaries and caucuses to decide who will be nominated for president. While in an ideal world, this system works, the vast majority of ordinary people are not capable of selecting whom their party nominates for president. Instead, members of Congress should elect presidential candidates.

The primary/caucus system does not select the best possible president. Instead, it rewards the candidate who runs the best campaign. There have been many instances in which the best or most qualified candidate does not get nominated. Rather, their more charismatic and enthusiastic counterpart is selected by the voters.

However, a member of Congress equipped with a thorough knowledge of politics would make their selection based on whom they think would be the best president, not whom they find the most compelling and inspiring.

Furthermore, the vast majority of Americans do not work in intellectual fields, nor do they sit and read legal, economic, philosophical, and political theory to educate themselves. On the other hand, members of Congress dedicate their entire lives to politics, familiarizing themselves with the ins-and-outs of America’s political system.

Having members of Congress vote on their party’s nominee removes populism and radicalism from national politics. The general electorate is more easily swayed by demagogues than members of Congress, whose vast understanding of the American system gives them the ability and the know-how to shut down these ideas.

Additionally, having members of Congress vote for their party’s nominee guarantees that the candidate selected will be an experienced politician. Members of Congress will recognize how valuable that experience is and would be reluctant to select a candidate without substantial experience.

While the people should be able to choose who their president is, the major political parties of the United States need to ask themselves if giving the people too much power in choosing their nominee for president is detrimental to the party, and more importantly, to America.

It would be unfair to assume that ordinary people know nothing about politics, and it should be recognized that the vast majority of people do know if they are a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Unfortunately, the public has more difficulty deciphering the ideological differences between candidates in a primary and end up voting for the most charismatic candidate rather than the candidate who shares their views.

The ugly truth about the US primary/caucus systems is that most ordinary people do not possess adequate knowledge to select their party nominee for president. If America wants to prosper, it needs good leaders. The surefire way to ensure this is to have Democratic and Republican members of Congress select their party nominees.

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