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Party Politics
The Primary Problem

Primaries encourage polarization and lock politicians into a cycle of overpromising and underdelivering. Is there a better way?

Published on: November 15, 2017
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  • AbleArcher

    The DNC has been corrupted and rigging it for at least 50 years lol. Anyways, I just don’t see anyway past it unless you totally overhaul the country, we’re talking principles of federalism and the whole lot. America has federalism and each state has its own representatives/delegates to DC. Of course that’s why the popular vote is held at the state level. So you need to know how they’ll do in each state. Each state being worth precisely as many electoral votes as it has in federal representation. It’s about as good as it can get for a huge country. No other huge country has anything nearly as good.

  • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

    On “making promises they know they cannot meet”:

    Here’s a late-18th C song (used by Aaron Copland in his first set of Old American Songs):

    Oh, the candidate’s a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
    Oh, the candidate’s a dodger, yes, and I’m a dodger too.
    He’ll meet you and treat you and ask you for your vote,
    But look out, boys, he’s a-dodgin’ for your vote.
    We’re all a-dodgin’,
    Dodgin’, dodgin’, dodgin’,
    Oh, we’re all a-dodgin’ out the way through the world.

    Thomas Hampson sings it here:

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose …

  • Jeff77450

    As usual I have nothing original or profound to add. I’m continuously amazed at the people who don’t vote. The number of people who don’t vote because they feel that they’re uninformed about the issues and should therefore recuse themselves is/are probably small. (Although significant numbers of such people do vote). People don’t vote because of apathy & laziness. As a conservative it’s always frustrating for me to know that, as in the Virginia governor’s race, my preferred candidate could’ve won if only *everyone*, or very nearly everyone, who was nominally in favor of him had gotten up off their asses and voted. Oh well.

  • Jim__L

    Primaries are inextricably tied to the party process. Frankly, a Primary is none of anyone’s business but the party itself.

    Policy wanks need to stop tinkering with things that are none of their business.

  • FriendlyGoat

    For president, we need merely a national primary for each Party and then national popular vote for the general election. There is no reason for any voter to be subject to the machinations of conventions at the Party level and no reason for Republicans in California and Democrats in Texas to be irrelevant at the general election level.

    • Anthony

      I come where I find since the relaunch. This something rarely considered but definitely socially impacting (in more ways than we may be aware of). Also, consider the description “hypomanic behavior” (it may bring to mind some of your virtual assaults). Anyway, I trust you will find article informative: https//

      • FriendlyGoat

        Thanks. Will read later today. By the way, 3 things:

        1) I am spending more time at AlterNet and less at TAI. Better material by far.

        2) Spoke to Fred about you yesterday at

        3) Had a very odd conversation on TAI yesterday with someone spooky at

        May abandon TAI altogether. Not planning to play with that.

        • Anthony

          I read your tete-a-tete with the Chinese avatar yesterday (and started to up vote a couple of your replies – now I wish I had). There are bots (to use Pait’s description) and paid propagandist actively trolling American Interest/National Interest comment sections to direct threads (if possible) and foam dissension/divisiveness if capable.

          I went back and read your reply regarding a very envious and irrationally consumed troll. I appreciate the kind words. But you’re attempting to make sense out of nonsense (10 years of it as a matter of fact and it all began with questioning my use of the word SHIBBOLETH [had I known, FG, I would have never started that quagmire]). A sixty plus year old man so full of resentments and biases that he rather look elsewhere to justify is aggrieved/questioned sensibilities than where they really are; so why waste time.

          I’ll read you at AlterNet (if possible) and well written material and ideas are certainly available elsewhere. Still, don’t allow mediocrities and the mediocre to influence you to abandon TAI (but I do understand and appreciate the sentiment). Remember once years ago, I shared with you that negatives are”louder” but we out number them. The world benefits from your light. God Bless you my friend. And most importantly, you’re welcome (I think you will appreciate the article).

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks for kind words. The “Chinese avatar” was too weird for me, not a writer hobbyist, not seeking to influence opinion, not offering any on his own “subjects” and not as amateur as he wished me to believe. I have no idea where (or who) he is from or why he is asking me off-topic personal questions, but “radar” says he ain’t the typical “Fred”. Time to bail on anything like that. It this place is haunted, screw it.

          • Anthony

            I didn’t read any of his material, just your replies. And, my pleasure.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Please go back and take a look at his “material”. Quite weird.

          • Anthony

            Read all replies; he could be an example of what historians and economists used to label “the overseas Chinese.” But I think instead the respondent is emblematic of our influx of bots and trolls seeking to hijack threads, propagate propaganda, and foam divisiveness – as I told Pait, said group is not interested in furthering democracy (despite the charade). If you examine some of the replies (as scattered as they are) you can note that point. More importantly the profile is private, joined date is 2017, and he asserts your antagonism against what’s perceived to be nationalist politics – not hard to categorize your respondent FG. Check out his up voters that ought to give you an impression (travel in packs).

          • FriendlyGoat

            The guy is using a name profile with a cryptic link to North Korea, opening with a pretension of what is or is not allowed in China. Serious, jest, crank or government spook here, I am not fooling with it.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            FG, I think you’re scaring yourself a bit. You know, I actually do live here in SK, and he could very well be Chinese, or, more precisely, Chinese of korean descent. The name he claims is North Korean, but it’s written in hanja. Could be from Chinese occupied Yanbian (Yeonbyeon) province which is ethnically korean. His channel name is Ri Myong-su which is the name of a North Korean general. It’s also simply a common name. Li is Chinese, Ri is North Korean, Lee is South Korean. All the same. Only the romanization gives you a clue as to where it’s from. My question is, how does he know that you’re from the Midwest, as he gently noted, which you didn’t deny?

          • FriendlyGoat

            I didn’t confirm or deny, and I’d like to know why he purports to know that—–or fish for it.
            You may have noticed I didn’t give him anything and he asked a lot of questions. You may have also noticed that he jumped into a thread only about leaking——as though I might know something about leaking as a result of my general opinion that financial leaking of high-level chicanery is not a bad thing for ordinary people. Also great criticism of Democracy. I really don’t care to jest around with him. We’re here for opining hobby, not to play cat and mouse either in jest or for real.

          • Anthony

            A college student’s take: those who wish to live in a liberal society cannot overcome illiberalism by dismissing or ignoring it. When you get time, consider this presentation:

          • FriendlyGoat


            1) “It should be made clear at the outset that most Trump supporters — and Donald Trump himself — are not members of the alt-right. Most Trump supporters are patriotic Americans who are tired of politics as usual, and who wanted someone from outside the system to shake it up.”

            That first sentence is true. The second sentence strikes me as a gratuitous compliment to “most Trump supporters” which they do not deserve because it overlooks A TON of lying on nearly every policy subject. But I guess we understand why he “qualified” with this to avoid implying that all conservatives are “alt-right” when they’re not.

            2) That aside, this strikes me as a good piece on the real articulations of the present alt-right leaders and a warning call to those of us who deplore this kind of thinking.

            3) It would be no surprise to you for me to point out that the alt-right would be politically deader than a doornail in this country if we did not suffer the misfortune of having more of our evangelical church aligned with it than not. They would not appreciate that observation, but when 81% of one group ( white evangelicals) votes for the same presidential policy and tone as probably 99% of another group (alt-right), then “alignment” is what we have to call that, no?

          • Anthony

            1) National Affairs has a center-right lean so they do not want to directly offend targeted audience. Though, I agree with your general assessment.

            2) Again, agree: “Our attachment to the Declaration of Independence is the ‘electric cord’ that links the heart of patriotic and liberty-loving men together.”

            3) Yes, and agree generally – Evangelicals once stood for people on the margins, those Jesus called the least of these (Evangelical Values comporting with the words of Jesus may need aligning).

            4) The Founders were influenced by a number of currents: The Enlightenment Writers, The French Revolution, King George III and Parliament. But, fundamentally to get signers from all thirteen colonies compromises were made – that use to be expected practice in U.S. politics. To sum up, while you are around stay in the fight and make sure rule of law, accountability, democracy are not subverted by that you dread. And, you’re welcome.

          • Paul Lies

            Just been catching up here on TAI. Check out The Great Eurosion article. Seems like KK here is the spook, but in a good way. He found out something interesting about that Chinese/Korean guy.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks for update. Interesting to see some of the “regulars” engaging this guy—–and them all trying to punk each other. Personally, I intend to stick with my plan of not playing with people who appear to be plants from governments, either our own or those of other nations.

          • Anthony

            FG, your last paragraph gives a summary of trend we’ve been witnessing more intensely for perhaps the last 24 months. And the trend has made it difficult to subscribe but also to partake in “give and take” of idea exchange while strengthening our country (if not world community). Technology and social media could do so much more than provide platforms for the erratic, ill tempered, alienated, mischief makers, etc. Yet, here we are! You’ve said it well here – and your mind (comments), as I said before, always adds to our betterment.

  • Vigilarus

    How about we eliminate primaries and have one election? Let the candidates run on their positions to all who they would represent, and let them get whatever support they can. If it weakens the duopoly party system, all the better.

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