The Pros and Cons of the U.S. Primary System
Some countries, the US included, use a specific method for choosing candidates for elections – it is called primary elections, or plainly the primary. This method is used to allow voters in a certain jurisdiction to choose candidates for the further general election. The primary system has greatly influenced the structure of party competition and the outcome of presidential elections. The system surely has a set of advantages as well as disadvantages.
Speaking about its strong sides, one should understand that the primary constitutes the true exercise of free will and choice of the US population: people have the right to choose the candidate from their state, the one they know and the one they trust, to run for elections on their behalf. Under the conditions of representative democracy, the general public should have the right to voice their opinion in the process of elections, so they perfectly do this in the course of the primary. One more advantage of the primary is that common US citizens make their choice instead of the party leaders; in case the latter was entitled to choose candidates for the elections, there would be much space for corruption, blackmailing, and indecency. Thus, winning the public love and trust is much harder than paying money and bribing officials to get the position.
However, the system also has some disadvantages that have to be considered in due course; the process of elections turns out lengthy and very expensive for the parties and for the state budget as well. Having to choose candidates at the primary, people may often be tempted by presents and campaigns that elected candidates arrange for them and remain far from the objective political reality. More than that, a public favorite may be at a low position in the party, maybe inexperienced or indecent, which is hard to understand while judging only by means of public campaigns.