Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why Are We Subsidizing the Party System?


As a former political science student and teacher, one thing that has ALWAYS bothered me about the electoral system in the United States: why does the public PAY for party primaries?

I can understand the states being responsible for running their general elections to provide opportunity for their citizens to choose mayors, governors and all the way up to president, but for the life of me- why does the public pay for party primaries?

FROM: http://www.coolinfographics.com/blog/2016/8/3/very-few-americans-nominated-trump-and-clinton.html
Look at that graphic above. You can see how it works here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/01/us/elections/nine-percent-of-america-selected-trump-and-clinton.html?_r=0
Only 9% of the American public selected either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump via the party primary process!

So, 9 out of ten of us are paying for the privilege of the remaining less than ten percent to have a chance to participate in what are private organizations selecting their general election candidate.

Wow.

Do you know how much that cost? According to openprimaries.org, over $425 million dollars this past election cycle.

Now, granted, states do choose to hold elections in primary season for other reasons. Ballots can have voter referendum on bond issues or other state elections. But would they choose to if they didn't have to? In my state of North Carolina alone, it was $9,000,000. But the amount is really NOT the issue.

Based on Pew Center Research, "...based on 2014 data, [of American voters] 39% identify as independents, 32% as Democrats and 23% as Republicans. Most polls have the registrations as high as 45%. Meaning that a minority of the population is subsidizing the majority's ability to select.

I'm with this editorial columnist: make the parties pay for their own elections.