Where Did the Primary Process Come From?
Elections are flawed. We’ve seen this time again throughout history. There’s no such thing as a perfect democracy, but the founding fathers decided a system of government where voters elect officials to represent their interests was the best option. Preventing the unchecked powers of a tyrannical leader was the throughline that underscored their work. And while 231 years of peacefully transitioning power from one president to the next is often used as a testament to their foresight, there are many facets of politics today that they couldn’t have predicted. To be counted among the things they couldn’t have predicted is the formation of the two-party system that dominates American politics today. A winner-take-all system that encourages parties to ignore more than half the electorate. Another thing they couldn’t have predicted is the way parties select candidates to face off in a general election. The primary process is not outlined in the U.S. Constitution and has gone through several iterations since the 18th century. So where exactly did this primary process come from? Guest: Elaine Kamarck, author of Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know about How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates. Music by Hannis Brown.
Duration: 9 min