America’s Corrupt Primary System

In the past few months, Americans have heard a vast amount of criticism of America’s presidential election system.

Unfortunately, most of this criticism centers on the Electoral College while ignoring the far more corrupt presidential primary system. Yes, the Electoral College is unfair and undemocratic. However, the presidential primary system is worse.

There has been some grumbling about presidential primaries on the Democratic side. Many leftists question the mass drop out of Democratic nominees shortly before Super Tuesday, for instance. The complaint is that other nominees dropped out to allow centrist Joe Biden (D-Delaware) to defeat leftist US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

The GOP Strips Republicans of their Rights

In 2016, there were similar complaints that the party establishment rigged the Democratic presidential primaries against Sanders. Sadly, the critics ignore the far worse situation in the Republican Party.

The Grand Old Party (GOP) leadership deprived millions of Republicans of their right to choose their presidential nominee in 2020. In 2020, several states including South Carolina, Alaska, Arizona, Virginia, Nevada, and Hawaii held no Republican presidential primaries or caucuses. Consequently, party conventions in those states chose the Republican nominee.

Frighteningly, Rockland County Judge Jocelyn Newman threw out a lawsuit challenging the South Carolina Republican Party’s decision not to hold a 2020 presidential primary. Yes, the Republican Party went to court to fight for the right to strip rank-and-file Republicans of their votes.

The South Carolina GOP claimed it did not need a primary because of a “lack of a legitimate challenger” to President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida), The Greenville News reports. I think allowing a state party to decide which candidate is not legitimate is a frightening precedent.

Remember in 2016, many Republican leaders did not consider Trump a ”legitimate candidate.” Similarly, Democratic leaders did not consider Bernie Sanders a legitimate candidate.

What is a Legitimate Candidate?

Just imagine the harm party leaders could do by declaring a popular candidate “illegitimate” and throwing him or her off the ballot. Do we want to give party leaders; such as Trump, the power to declare any candidate they dislike “illegitimate” and throw him or her off the primary ballot?

Yet that is exactly what Judge Newman ruled. Newman’s decision is bothersome because one candidate she kept off the ballot was former U.S. Representative and former South Carolina Mark Sanford. Had he been on the ballot in South Carolina, Sanford could have delivered a nasty surprise to Trump by winning a large parentage of the primary vote. Remember, Biden’s surprise victory in the 2020 South Carolina Democratic Primary derailed Sanders’ formerly successful insurgent campaign.  

The South Carolina GOP’s argument was that Trump was so popular with voters there was no need for a primary. If those claims were true, why fear a primary?I have to wonder if South Carolina Republicans had secret polling that showed Sanford performing well against Trump.

How Popular is Trump?

We’ll never know because they canceled the primary and Sanford dopped out of the Repubican presdental race on 12 November 2019. What’s frightening is South Carolina appears to part of a pattern of state GOPs trying to scrap primaries.

Worse, the state Republicans have the national party’s support for those questionable activities. On 16 September 2019 Republican National Committee spokeswoman Cassie Smedile went on HillTV’s Rising to defend primary cancellations as “not abnormal.” In her response, Smedile parroted the party line that Trump was too popular to challenge. Since when is popularity a reason for not holding primaries?

However, given the well-documented polling failures in 2020, cynics will question the notion of Trump’s popularity. Moreover, Trump did lose the 2020 presidential election to by seven million popular votes. In detail, Trump won 74.2 million votes and Biden 81.2 million.

The GOP’s War on Presidential Primaries

The most disturbing aspect of the Republican Party’s war on presidential primaries is how the media ignored it. Few “journalists” questioned the Republicans’ efforts to suppress any opposition to Trump in their party.

Given the Republican Party’s well-documented efforts to suppress votes around the country, the GOP’s efforts to cancel primaries should not surprise us. These efforts should frighten us because party leaders and their mouthpieces in the media believe they have the power to “cancel” democratic elections.

Given the Republican Party’s well-documented efforts to suppress votes around the country, the GOP’s efforts to cancel primaries should not surprise us. These efforts should frighten us because party leaders and their mouthpieces in the media believe they have the power to “cancel” democratic elections.

America Needs a National Presidential Primary

I think the Republican efforts to cancel primaries show that America needs a national presidential primary that parties cannot control or stop.

One solution is a national jungle primary; or majority vote system, in which all candidates run against each other. If one candidate wins over 50% of the vote there is no run-off. If no candidate gets over 50% of the vote, the top two candidates compete in a runoff.

An interesting aspect of a majority vote system is that two or three candidates of the same party could run against each other. Three states California, Washington State, and Louisiana use jungle primaries for most offices. One possibility is to hold the national jungle primary on Super Tuesday and the general election on the first Tuesday of November.

An interesting aspect of a majority vote system is that two or three candidates of the same party could run against each other. Three states California, Washington State, and Louisiana use jungle primaries for most offices. One possibility is to hold the national jungle primary on Super Tuesday and the general election on the first Tuesday of November.