Argument: An unrepresentative primary system damages the party strength

Issue Report: Primaries in US elections

Issue Report: Superdelegates

Supporting Evidence

The Hindu, January 13, 2008
Primaries arose in the early 20th century as an attempt to reform Tammany Hall politics, to break the grip of unaccountable party apparatuses. But it was only in 1952, with television and Eisenhower’s break-through win in New Hampshire, that presidential primaries assumed something like their current importance. Conceived as instruments of party democracy, in practice they have dissolved concrete avenues of representation and accountability, and made two-party politics the captive creature of big money and big media.

  • See F. Zakaria’s “The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy Home and Abroad”, Chapter 5
Parties have given up the most important political decision: choosing a candidate. When parties delegate this power to people, they are effectively committing a political suicide as they become empty shells without their own program.