Today's Point Counterpoint discussion at VPOD (Virginia Politics On Demand) covers that issue with Adam Frost writing pro and Andrew Schwartz writing con, offering reasons for each.
Personally, I'm for primaries for all the reasons Adam lists. The longer I work in politics, the more I understand the relevance and importance of providing the opportunity for all to participate in an open process that is easily accessible in all parts of the state without having to jump the hoops of local committees who are easily corrupted.
Parties should never nominate candidates by convention. Never.He goes on to note, "Conventions result in an unmotivated party base. ... Conventions also tend to choose the least electable candidates because the activists at the ideological fringes are the ones most motivated to go to the conventions."
Nominations by convention disenfranchise the vast majority of the party’s members:
- They disenfranchise people who are out of state on the day of the convention.
- Specifically, they disenfranchise the very military personnel that put their lives on the line in foreign lands to defend our republic.
- Conventions also disenfranchise people who are home but who very understandably don’t want to take the time and expense to go to a city potentially hundreds of miles away to spend an entire weekend being bombarded with political candidates, tactics, messages, signs, speeches, etc. ad nauseam.
Conventions also disenfranchise a number of older folks because of mobility issues: parking and walking long distances to the venue, navigating the multiple stairs in the coliseum, hours spent listening to political speeches and more just to vote. This could also apply to others with mobility issues. Then there are the religious reasons -- those who observe Sabbaths on Saturdays when state conventions take place.
Not to mention that some who are unable to attend the mass meetings at the local levels are out of the convention process because of units like Augusta County that do not allow prefiling and will not add delegate names to the list unless they are physically present in the room. Business trip? Prior commitment? Sick? Hospitalized? Emergency worker on call? Too bad ... you're all out of the process. It happened to me because by the time the date, which was kept a secret up until a few weeks ahead of time, was known, I was unable to attend the Saturday morning mass meeting due to a prior commitment.
I am convinced primaries are the fair way to go in the nomination process.