A president is a leader of a country, who takes responsibility for the lives of millions of people and promotes the well-being of a particular country. To be a good president is probably one of the most difficult and challenging tasks for all candidates because it is impossible to be good for everyone. There are a number of aspects that define the quality of the work done by the president.
Still, before making the president responsible for all positive and negative outcomes in the country, people should realize that they are also the participants of everything that happens around. They have already taken a crucial step and chosen the president. In the USA, the election of the President is a crucial event that makes all Americans think about their future and their potential leader (Belenky 9).
The actions, thoughts, and decisions of the American President say a lot about the country. A number of people think they can become good presidents; mothers want to believe that their son or daughter can become the best president even if it is not likely to happen (Witcover 13). That is why this kind of choice has to be properly organized and understood by a single American.
The current paper aims at discussing the peculiarities of the American presidential primary election process and its importance for the American citizens and the whole world, analyzing the coming elections, comparing the past and the present of the USA in terms of the primary elections, and explaining why every American has to participate in presidential primary elections.
Presidential Primary Elections in the USA: Essence
The presidency is the most significant position in the American government. It is very important for the citizens to comprehend the essence of the president’s election and organize it in a proper way. There are several stages in any election process. Still, the primary elections can be defined as the most crucial because the selection of the candidates takes place during this stage.
At this moment, the candidates should understand their skills and abilities and evaluate their readiness to become a single leader of the country. It is not only enough to know what a good president should do. It is more important to realize how influential and unforgettable each President’s decision can be.
The primary elections, also called the primaries, have a long history. They originated from the Progressive Era that took place from the end of the 1800s to the beginning of the 1900s (Leeser 70). That period was characterized by a number of significant social and political changes and reforms. It was necessary to improve the country and the way of how people had to live.
Primaries turned out to be an attempt to change the way the president elections were organized. It was necessary to deprive rich party bosses of the possibility to control the selection of the candidates and remove corruption and venality out of American politics (Leeser 70).
Nowadays, the purpose of the presidential primary election is to choose a candidate who can become the nominee of the party (Democratic or Republican) for the general presidential election. During the stage, all members of the parties have access to the nomination process despite the role and interests of the parties’ bosses (Schmidt et al. 291). The parties are able to evaluate the appropriateness of each party member and offer their best candidates to become the next President of the United States of America.
Types of Presidential Primary Elections
The American election system is constantly improved so that everyone can get relatively fair chances to introduce their points of views or be elected. The government developed several types of primaries that help to gain control over the election process and be confident in the correctness of every activity (Schmidt et al. 292).
The standards offered for the presidential primary elections promote the development of the strategies with the help of which all participants can be “to a certain extent constrained, and to a certain extent driven, by the ways in which actors are situated with respect to conditions that are for them given and hard to manipulate” (Polsby, Wildavsky and Hopkins 1).
There are several types of primary elections: open, closed, blanket, direct, and indirect. The first characteristic according to which the elections can be divided is for whom voters have to vote. For example, an indirect election is a process when the delegates of parties are chosen. A direct election means the choice of a person as a desired president of the country. As a rule, the primaries are of an indirect type because voters aim at choosing the party and an electorate group that can evaluate the positions of the candidates.
Primaries are also divided according to the party affiliation. Open primaries provide voters with a chance to vote regardless their parties affiliation. Each voter gets a ballot with all parties and their nominees. It is necessary to choose a party and a candidate. For example, Virginia is the state that usually chooses open primaries where voters can give their voices for either the Republican representative or the Democratic candidate (Leeser 70).
Closed primaries take place when voters have to choose a candidate of their own parties. It is important to register first and then vote and make a choice regarding the party affiliation. With the help of closed primaries, it is possible to control the solutions of people and not allow them crossing over different parties and choosing the weakest or less appropriate candidate. New Jersey is the state where this election system works (Leeser 70).
Blanket primaries provide voters with an opportunity to choose a candidate from different parties. Not all states support the idea of blanket primaries. Schmidt et al. admit that only Alaska, Louisiana, and Washington have this kind of elections (292).
In fact, the presidential primaries are used to identify the delegates, who will be able to introduce the candidates at the convention. As soon as parties introduce their choices, the main goal of the primaries can be defined as achieved.
Difference between Primaries and Caucuses
Sometimes, people, who have to study political science or need to be directly involved in the sphere of politics, cannot understand the difference that can exist between primaries and caucuses. Still, these two processes are different in their goals and the ways of how they are organized. Comparing with the scope of the presidential primaries, caucuses are small meetings that are held at the local level. Party regulars should gather and discuss the appropriateness of the nominee. In other words, primaries are organized by the state governments, and state parties take responsibility for the organization of caucuses.
Some parties do not find it necessary to pay much attention to caucuses. However, there are the states where caucuses play an important role, and the presidential elections cannot be organized without primaries and caucuses at the same time. Though the essence of these two types of elections is almost similar – to choose a nominee and identify his/her strengths and weaknesses,- people should understand the difference between the goals and the ways of how these two elections should be organized.
Presidential Primaries Process
Taking into consideration the essence and classification of the primaries, the process of presidential election at the primary stage can be easily explained and organized. The essence of the process is to make two main American parties (Republican and Democratic) introduce their candidate for the presidency at the convention. The delegates start visiting the conventions and choose the best options offered. At the end of the process, the choices have to be properly made, and clear explanations should be given.
The peculiar feature of this process is that the outcomes are hard to predict. It may happen that a candidate with “low initial name recognition” (Leeser 72) can win. The example of Jimmy Carter, the 39th American President, can be used. This man had only 2% of the national name recognition six months before he decided to become the nominee of his party (the Democrats) in 1967 (Leeser 72). The current American President, Obama, is another example of how captivating and educative the primaries can be.
The structure of his support during the primaries and caucuses differed a lot from the quality of support during the general elections (Ansolabehere, Persily and Steward 1431). Still, those, who do not want to believe in the power and effects of the primaries can investigate the Obama’s example and realize that the results of the final Presidential elections were similar to the primaries in 2008.
Campaigns during the Presidential Primaries
In any kind of election, a campaign is one of the possible ways to get to know more about a candidate and clarify the goals his/her team is able to set. The presidential primaries are not the exception. Primary campaigns are crucial because they help to understand what candidates are available during a particular election and why people have to choose a particular candidate.
It is necessary to clarify the goals and intentions of each candidate and explain the reasons for the suggestions. During the primaries, the voters can hear a lot from Republican and Democratic parties. Besides, it is also possible to hear something from the third parties and make the required comparisons.
The campaigns offered during the presidential primary election introduce the platform according to which the general elections will be organized. It is not enough to present the candidates and their main goals and priorities. It is necessary to explain to the voters why the choice of a particular candidate is a chance to promote changes. It is an opportunity to change the whole country and develop new relations with other countries. A potential president is a future face of the USA. Primary elections turn out to be the stage that cannot be ignored.
Finally, primary elections campaigns show the strongest and weakest aspects of the potential presidents. In fact, the developers of the campaigns do not find it necessary to identify the weak points. Still, the campaign is a picture, and the details cannot be omitted. At the same time, it is wrong to trust all campaigns and presentations offered. Ordinary people should realize that campaigns have an advertising nature. The campaign is a good chance to explain to people why they have to vote and why their decisions are crucial for the country.
Importance of Presidential Primary Elections in America
There are many reasons for why people should pay more attention to each stage of the presidential elections. First, it is necessary to realize that the presidency is the way of how the country could look like for the next four years. Besides, the president is a political figure that should introduce the country at the international level. The primaries are the elections that define the quality and even the standards according to which further elections should be organized. The results achieved at the end of the primaries.
Another important factor the presidential primary elections in America is the opportunity to provide all citizens with the basics of general elections. People may want to participate in elections. Still, they do not know how or why they should make all these decisions. Primary elections show how to behave, react, and analyze the events that take place at the moment.
As a rule, at the end of the primaries, it becomes clear what candidates are worth attention, and which opportunities are not enough to be developed further. The presidential primaries also help to identify new voters and invite more people to this kind of event.
Coming Primary Elections
At this moment, it is very important to understand the types and the nature of primary elections, because the next elections will take place in 2016. The government admits that primary elections should take place between February and June of the next year. The voters should understand that these elections are indirect, and their main task is to identify the delegate, who can become good candidates for the presidency.
The Americans should lose the opportunity to participate in these elections and learn if it is possible to change the situation and choose a new president with a new approach to the development of political relations. People also try to forecast the events and investigate the potentials of the defined delegates. Obama’s primaries in 2008 proved that the basis offered could become a good support for the general elections (Ansolabehere, Persily and Stewart 1434).
In general, the idea of the presidential primary elections is clear indeed. People have to realize that their participation is this kind of elections is their attempt to make the world better. It is hard to realize if people ever regret about the choices they make during the primary elections. Still, it is never too late to change the opinions and re-evaluate the opinions. Primary elections are the first steps taken by true Americans.
Of course, not all people find it necessary to spend their time, investigate the offered campaigns, and learn the achievements of the delegates offered. However, the mistakes of one group of people should not become the basis for the mistakes made by the others. A person may have an independent point of view, and the government should consider it. America is a huge country, and it is impossible to hear to everyone’s decisions. Nevertheless, the opinion given during the primary elections is the first attempt for ordinary people to be heard by the government.
Ansolabehere, Stephen, Persily, Nathaniel and Charles Stewart. “Race, Region, and Vote Choice in the 2008 Election: Implications for the Future of the Voting Rights Act.” Harvard Law Review 123.6 (2010): 1385-1436. Print.
Belenky, Alexander. Understanding the Fundamentals of the U.S. Presidential Election System. Cambridge, MA: Springer Science & Business Media, 2012. Print.
Leeser, Julian. “The Case for Primaries.” Quadrant 52.10 (2008): 68-74. Print.
Polsby, Nelson, Wildavsky, Aaron and David Hopkins. Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008. Print.
Schmidt, Steffen, Shelley, Mack, Bardes, Barbara, and Lynne Ford. American Government and Politics Today. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
Witcover, Jules. No Way to Pick a President: How Money and Hired Guns Have Debased American Elections. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014. Print.