Presidential Primaries And Caucuses

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Discuss the merits of presidential primaries and caucuses as a method of selecting presidential candidates. (Jan 2013) In the U.S presidential candidates are selected thought the use of presidential primaries and caucuses. A presidential primary is a state based election to choose a party’s candidate for presidency. A presidential primary shows support for a candidate among ordinary voters and chooses delegates committed to vote for that candidate at the National party convention. A presidential caucus is also a state based election where a series of meetings take place for the selection of a party’s candidate for presidency. They are normally held in a few geographically large but thinly populated states, caucuses are usually unrepresentative…show more content…
However evidence shows that one of the strengths of primaries is that they encourage public participation in politics. Before 1820 the Democrat and Republican members of congress would nominate a single member to run for president. The system was then reformed by the McGovern-Fraser commission to primaries and caucuses due to the influence of party bosses which has now been removed. The current system has now increased participation. In 1968, the last nomination cycle under the pre-reformed system, just 12 million people participated in the 17 Democratic and 16 Republican primaries, which only represented 11% of the voting age population. However in the 2008 under the new system 58 million people participated in the 37 Democrat and 39 Republican primaries, which represented 30% of the voting age…show more content…
A good performance in these two states is seen as essential if a candidate is to continue as it is taken as a sign that they have the appeal and support to continue to win states. Equally a poor performance is an indication that the candidate won’t put up a good campaign in the remaining primaries. These assumptions can force a candidate’s campaign to stall or else to give them a significant momentum boost. Furthermore candidates who perform badly in the early primaries often pull out, due to the slowing of their campaigns and so they do not spend money unnecessarily. This prevents later people in states with later primaries having the same range of choice as those in the early ones. It is generally acknowledged that if a state wants any political influence they need to have an early primary, as by the time of the last ones the decision is generally already made. Thus frontloading occurs, this is when states move there contests closer to the start of the year as states have the incentive to hold their primaries as early as possible as it is perceived that there results will be more important. This proved problematic in the 2012 Republican election as Iowa who always holds the first caucus was pushed back by Florida and South Carolina who moved there primaries to January so then Iowa moved there’s

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