Posted: May 30th, 2022
Electoral rules within presidential primary elections are dictated by state laws. For instance, states decide whether to hold a primary election or a caucus, states decide the date of this event, and states decide who can vote/caucus in each race (e.g., closed primaries, top-two primaries, etc). Below are some illustrative resources.
To what extent do state laws shape primary outcomes? Are some states more influential in determining party nominees because of their electoral laws? Provide examples to support your position. Consider the role of the national party (including the nomination process and allocation of superdelegates) as well as the demographics of typical primary voters (Chapter 10).
*Note: Reaction posts should be approximately 2 paragraphs in length. Responses to other students do not have a length requirement but serve as your participation grade (i.e., the more thorough the better).
I believe that state laws shape the primaries in certain ways. I believe that states such as Florida and Nevada and others that have a closed primary system help to create a strong party basis by preventing cross over voting, but they also exclude the ‘leaners’ that identify as independent which could sway the vote overall. Furthermore, I believe that the states such as Georgia and Wisconsin, which have open primaries, give voters the most freedom and flexibility but can cause issues on who the true nominee should be from those states. Open primaries can lead to many people voting across party lines and have them choosing the least desirable candidate and the easiest to beat in the general election. This would essentially take the freedom away from the other party voters who are playing by the book.
I feel that there are states that are influential in determining nominees based on their primary type, as discussed previously, and on when they choose to hold their primary. It has been shown that the states that hold there primaries early will typically begin to shape the field of candidates and often some candidates drop out of the race before a majority of states even get the chance to go to the polls and have a say. This was shown in the “Our Broken Presidential Nominating System” article when it discussed how the 2000, 2004 and 2012 nominations were already being virtually decided before an overwhelming majority of the voters had the chance to vote. This leads to the later states having little say in the nominee that is chosen.
In regard to the delegates being awarded, I believe that the proportional allocation process is the best. This provides viable chances for all nominees to make it to the national party. By allocating the delegate proportionally you keep the candidates in the race longer because they still have a fighting chance. If John Smith comes in third in Georgia but comes in first in California, then he still may win over the person that comes in second in both states. It is a fair and more competitive solution to a winner take all type of system. This also would afford the most favorable nominee overall.
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