Doubts about democracy

David Barkschat

Democracy. It’s the driving force behind our nation. Freedom, liberty, equality. Words like these supposedly are the cornerstones of America.

However, there is a glaring obtrusion to these American values and it lies in one of the most important processes in our country. The Presidential primary elections.

Consider for a moment what the primary elections are. Candidates for each political party are voted for to be the sole representative of their party on the main election day. And how are they chosen? Each state holds its primary on a different day.

Some states go together in groups. Iowa goes first. Iowa. Let that sink in. Iowa, of all places? Why? And why this year did Florida want to hold its election sooner than usual? Why all this jockeying for a prime position? Simple reasons, really. Fame, notoriety, publicity. And the obvious fact that whichever states go first have a bigger say in the main presidential election.

It happens in every primary election. Some states go first and voters look at their results and then, based on how well candidates are doing, they vote accordingly for who they think will have the best chance. This means that voters can fall into a few different things.

They might vote for a candidate they think has a chance of winning, versus the candidate they really would like to have in office. They could just follow the opinion of the voters of those first states without really giving any thought for who they’d like to have win. People might also only consider the frontrunners and not give any thought to lesser-known candidates.

The current system also has a great affect on candidates. Candidates may lose hope and think they can’t win the election if they don’t do well in the first states. Traditionally, candidates who do well in the first states seem to do well later in the presidential race. But are these states really an accurate measure of the society of America? Not really. The population of New Hampshire is much different from that of Wisconsin or Florida, or Oregon or Arizona. The same type of citizens don’t live in every state. New Hampshire and Iowa are not representative of America as a whole.

States left out of these early primaries, as well as states not voting during “Super Tuesday,” have relatively no say in the primary election. For them, the nominations are just a thing to watch on television, not an event where their word has any sway.

In light of these problems, how then, can each state possibly have equal say? How can one primary be more important than others? How can candidates have an equal chance? The most obvious and most ideal way to change the old, outdated system in which our elections operate is blatant.

Make all states hold their elections on the same day. If this was the case, all states would matter to candidates just the same, all votes would count just the same and all the candidates would be given an equal chance. If America is to be truly democratic, the primary election system must be changed. Then, America’s presidentialcandidates can finally get a fair and equal chance. Well, as fair as it can be these days with the influence of the modern media. But that’s another story.

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