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Invisible Primaries, USA.

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Introduction

A. How important is the invisible primary in the presidential election campaign? The invisible primary is the period in between where candidates first announce their intentions to stand for presidency and when the first primary ballots are cast. The invisible primary generally consists of heavy fund raising (in excess of $100 million) as well as opinion polls, used by the media, to gauge who the front runners for the election are. Generally speaking, those who are able to raise the most money are going to appear as the strongest candidates and as a result, will be able to command greater donation power from those who are reserved until they have a clearer idea of who may win. The creation of informal and semi formal networks is crucial. Democrat, Hillary Clinton didn't announce her 2008 presidential intentions until after the 2006 mid-term elections, but her team had already begun to build a national fundraising committee to rival the Democratic National Committee, which was perceived to be unpredictable. The front loading of the primaries and caucuses means that candidates need to build up a significant amount of capital during the invisible primary 'process'. ...read more.

Middle

Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi, both the Republicans and Democrats allow any citizen of the state to vote, irrespective of their political affiliation, and so, achieving 'grass roots democracy'. This large scale participation has been seen to achieve a quasi-pure democracy since 1972 with the eradication of party hierarchical selection. The USA has always had a low level of voter turnout for general presidential elections. But, as exemplified with the Democrat primaries in the Clinton vs. Obama, younger voters in greater numbers are partaking in the political process. In New Hampshire (D), turnout accelerated to 52.5%. The primaries are there to give the 'backbenchers' in the party, the opportunity to make their opinion known in the process of selecting a presidential candidate. Since the wide scale development of the 24/7 media culture, the candidates in the primaries receive their share of public scrutiny, with the free media giving their view on the proceedings. Internal party debates are of paramount importance, and indeed, Obama was allowed, through the debates of the 2008 campaign, to rise ahead of Clinton. This draws parallels with the 2004 presidential campaign, where Kerry was seen to be the "most elect able" candidate. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is less favourable for the lesser known candidates, who lack the support base and resources of the more prominent candidates. The political calendar in the US is becoming more limited and the time frames are becoming more intense. To conclude, the disadvantages of the primaries far outweigh the benefits that they bring to American politics. They are just plainly ludicrous; there is massive apathy towards voting in the USA, and even in the more significant elections such as the Iowa caucus, there is a mere 6%. Even British local government elections poll more with turnout at about 35% on average. There is also the completely ignored factor that people from the Republicans may turn out and vote for the weakest Democratic candidate and vice versa. Front loading is also a very crucial factor as to why the primary elections are essentially, a complete shamble. Minor candidates are able to get ahead of the 'big wigs' and a complete lack of investigation, scrutiny and examination for such a significant public roll all contribute to the weakness of the primaries as a democratic electoral process in American politics. It is quite likely that the electoral process in Mugabe's Zimbabwe is more meaningful. The primaries are not democratic, and the process does not yield balanced and meaningful results. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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