Now that the presidential election is in the past, perhaps it is time that we re-examine how we choose our candidates for the highest office in our country. I believe that we should consider changes in our presidential primary system.
The way things are done now, the states that conduct their primaries and caucuses early get the most attention. Often the nominee is chosen by the time we reach the middle of the primary process, if not before. Those states conducting their votes at the end of the “season” often do so in vain, because a candidate nails down enough delegate votes to secure nomination before the primary process across the country is completed. In 2012, Gov. Romney was locked in as the Republican nominee even before the New York primary took place.
Since the selection of presidential candidates is a nationwide matter, I believe that we should have a national presidential primary on one date, probably in the late spring of a presidential year. This way, all votes will be important throughout the country. Since the presidential contest is a federal election, the rules of who should be allowed to vote in such an election should be uniform. Now, in some states, there is an open primary. In other states, like New York, only those enrolled in a particular party are allowed to vote in that party’s primary.
Also, for economic reasons, states should probably hold their other state and local primaries on the same date. In 2012, New York had three primary dates, which cost the taxpayers millions of extra dollars.
Other political parties with a countrywide following should hold their own primary on a national presidential primary day as well as the Republicans and Democrats. Voters should not be limited to choosing between just two candidates from the so-called major parties.
After the primary and convention process is over, and a candidate and his or her running mate is selected, we usually have a series of debates before the November election. However, those debates are almost always limited to the Democratic and Republican nominees. All candidates who are able to get on the ballot in a majority of states should take part in those debates. In 2012, Green Party candidate Jill Stein was not allowed to participate in the presidential debates despite the fact that she was on the ballot in most states.
It would seem to me, as we move forward in the 21st century, that there should be reforms undertaken so that the American electorate has many choices of candidates to select from to hold the most important office in our country. We should also be making the voting process easier and more efficient to accommodate the electorate in selecting our political leaders.