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Primary elections in the USA are used to decide the candidates for each political party in the upcoming general election.

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Introduction

Primary Elections Primary elections in the USA are used to decide the candidates for each political party in the upcoming general election. Delegates are chosen from each state to go to the National Convention, where each party officially nominates their candidate, and are required by law to support the winner of the primary at the convention. In the case of Presidential primary elections, campaigning often begins a year or more before the first primary, held in New Hampshire, almost two years before the presidential election. New Hampshire's Primary by tradition is always the first, it is held two weeks after the Iowa caucus, in January of the presidential election year, after Iowa and New Hampshire, primaries and caucuses are held in the other states. The New Hampshire primary has become one of the key events every election year; the candidate who wins the primary has more chance of becoming elected, due to an influx of money and increased support. Until Bill Clinton in 1992 no one who had lost New Hampshire had been elected. ...read more.

Middle

The process remained far from democratic, the convention was a scene of intrigue among political bosses, who appointed and otherwise controlled nearly all of the delegates. A few, mostly Western states adopted primary elections in the late 19th century, but the major change came about due to the Democrats humiliation after riots at the convention in Chicago. Anti-war supporters were unhappy with the Democrat candidate for Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, who had not competed in a single primary but controlled enough delegates to win the nomination. Shortly after the riot the Democratic Party appointed a commission to select a new, less controversial method of choosing candidates. The commission settled on the primary election, adopted by the Democratic National Committee in 1968 and the Republican Party in 1972. Although the system of primary elections is considerably more democratic than previously it can still be criticised. For example Primary Elections are seen by some as a waste of precious money that could be put to better use in the General Election. Effectively candidates have to campaign twice in order to become elected, with the added disadvantage of any election being costly, candidates will ...read more.

Conclusion

This has made the system unjust and consequently states have started to compete for earlier primaries in order to have greater influence on the choice of candidate. As a result the majority of the Primaries take place during a short space of time from January to March instead of March to July. The shorter time span of the elections limits the ability of lesser-known candidates to gather resources and gain recognition among voters, especially when a better-known candidate enjoys extensive financial backing. A few reforms have been suggested to improve the imbalance in the current system; one such suggestion includes grouping the states by size into four groups with the smallest primaries first, then the next-smallest, and so on. However this would have meant the bigger states would always have been scheduled for late in election season and it could potentially create high travel costs for the candidates. Another alternative would be a National Primary but as previously stated requiring candidates to campaign in every state simultaneously would only aggravate problem of campaigns being dominated by the candidates who raise the most money. Charlotte - 1 - ...read more.

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