ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Democrats in Republican States Should Consider a Hybrid Primary System

Updated on May 21, 2015

For State Democrats, the Blinders Need to be Removed

The link below is an article about the laughable job that the Tennessee Democratic Party did in selecting it's nominee for governor in 2014. As this article demonstrates, state elections for a minority Democratic party can be of little importance to the average voter. In such instances, voters often choose the name listed on the top of the ballot, as they have little knowledge of the candidates for such office. Political scientists have been aware of this phenomenon for quite some time. Marc Meredith of the University of Pennsylvania and Yuval Salant of Northwestern University examine this phenomenon's effects thoroughly in their article, On the Causes and Consequences of Ballot Order Effects, demonstrating how much of an impact it can have (although the events in Tennessee's 2014 gubernatorial race show enough empirical evidence to get the point across)1. In Tennessee, many involved Democrats are calling for a caucus system to avoid putting forth weak candidates against strong Republican coffers. If the Party hopes to have any success, it certainly needs to do something so that obviously unqualified candidates do not blemish the Party name. Yet, as a Democrat, a caucus system seems counterintuitive to the Democratic claim of being the party where every person has a voice- as caucuses are known to favor the political elites by being so time-consuming that Americans who are pressed for time during the day of the caucus are unable to participate. Primaries with early voting help address this issue, ensuring that virtually everyone who wants to vote can, but in the current system in which candidates are listed in alphabetical order, political parties set themselves up to choose candidates who would make better comedians than political figures due to the phenomenon described above.

What Can be Done?

It is evident that something needs to be done, but in the debate over the course of action, it seems that the solutions have been limited to having a traditional caucus or keeping the old primary system. Both of these systems are flawed, and limiting the course of action to only two options represents a sort of functional fixedness that needs to be eliminated. I believe that there are two key criteria that need to be addressed in selecting a mode of choosing candidates: First, the mode must ensure that all voices can be heard. Second, the mode must ensure that voter apathy does not make a laughing-stock of the Party by selecting obviously unqualified candidates. To address both of these criteria, I suggest that a caucus be held in which caucus voters vote on the order in which candidates appear on the primary ballot rather than strictly choosing who will be the Party nominee.

The Benefits of a Hybrid Primary System

In a hybrid system such as this, both criteria are addressed, as the ballot ordering phenomenon will favor candidates who are already shown to be strong by an informed caucus system, and it further ensures that every voter has a voice in the matter. Thus, if this hybrid system were chosen, parties could avoid much of the obvious infighting that would occur from changing from a primary to a caucus system. Furthermore, if a candidate who was not supported by the caucus wins the primary, the win would demonstrate the true strength of the candidate, as he or she was able to overcome the ballot ordering phenomenon to become the nominee. As a result, the Democratic Party could virtually ensure that a good candidate will be chosen every time without restricting itself to the possibility that a lesser-known candidate may prove to be an even better choice among a larger voter base- as those without the ballot order benefit in their favor would have to put in more work to obtain the Party nomination. In the forthcoming debate that will occur in Tennessee and elsewhere, the blinders must be removed, and creative options such as the one presented here should be explored.

___________

1 Meredith, M. – Salant, Y. (2013): On the Causes and Consequences of Ballot Order Effects, Political Behavior, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 175-197. http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~marcmere/workingpapers/BallotOrder.pdf

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)