No, The Primary Systems Aren’t Rigged. Here’s Why…
There is a lot of noise out there right now about the presidential primaries. With Trump winning the GOP vote, party members are thinking about exerting their right override the primary results.
Something similar is happening in the Democratic Party as well.
Here’s the problem, people are getting very angry because they feel the political elite may overturn the democratic process. It sounds very undemocratic. The people vote one way, but “party insiders” decide something else.
Primaries Are Not Part of The Election
But that isn’t what’s going on. We have to remember that we are “voting” for a party nomination, not in a election. But it is the political party that chooses who they want to in the election.
Think of this way, if you and I wanted to start a third party, we could. We could organize a party around a set ideals, find people who think the same way, and develop the financial support and infrastructure needed to help get our candidate elected.
Then, we may decide to “poll” citizens affiliated with our party to see who they’d like to see elected. But it is our party. We really only poll them to get a feel for what the people want.
Then we take that information back and decide who we want to run.
That’s what a primary is. It just happens that two parties dominate our politics.
So, when we “vote” in a primary, we aren’t really voting. We are letting the party know who we’d like see as the nominee.
Individuals Have Rights Inside Political Parties
How would we feel if our imaginary 3rd party was forced to pick a candidate that the public polled for?
We’d say, “Hey, this OUR party. These are OUR values. And even though a lot people said they wanted a slave overlord to be president, we don’t want to select one as our nominee. If you don’t like our candidate, then don’t vote for them in November.”
[Note: I’m not calling any of the candidates slave overlords. It was just illustrative example.]
That is a gross oversimplification of the process, but those are the basics. The GOP and Democratic Party have different systems in place for determining their nominee–but is their nominee.
Why would we want this kind of a system? Why not just have open voting for the candidate? That is a great question that dives at the very heart of what government should be.
For now, though, I think it is important to realize that the system isn’t rigged.
We aren’t being controlled by a secretly powerful aristocracy.
Primaries aren’t part of the election. They are part of party’s system to help them determine what the public wants, and who may be more “electable.”
But ultimately, it is their party. They can decide who they want to be their nominee.
Everything is okay, our democracy is intact.
About Sean Edwards
Sean Edwards is an author and a communication strategist. He graduated from the Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Sean has a passion for discussing philosophy and American politics.