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Sarah Choudhry

Professor Baumann

PLSC 130: American Political Campaigns and Elections

July 8th 2016

National Primary Day

During the 2012 presidential election, about 11% of the eligible voting population voted

in the United States primary election. However, when it came time to the general election, about

58% voted (McDonald 2014). These numbers show a very big problem in the United States;

people are not voting in the primary elections and are not having their voices heard on who they

feel should be running for the president of their country. The main reason for this is because the

primary elections are a very complicated procedure. Some states hold primaries while others

hold caucuses. Some states vote months ahead of other states. Most people recognize that this

system is outdated and unnecessarily complicated. There have been many different ways to

combat this including systems such as a rotating regional primary, having a different state vote

first, the Delaware or Ohio plan, a random rotation plan, etc. One theory that comes up time and

time again is having a National Primary Day, in which all the states have one day where

everyone goes out and votes for their party's nominee. The United States should hold a National

Primary Day to decide a party's candidate for the general election. By holding a National

Primary Day political parties would save money, candidates would not be forced out of an

election early, and it would make the primary electoral system much easier for the average voter

to understand.
Some states have caucuses in order to determine the party nominee. Causcues are run by

the party itself meaning that the party funds caucuses. Having a National Primary Day would put

the responsibility on the states, meaning it would be fully funded by the state. A National

Primary Day will give nominees more funding for the general election by using the money a

party saves from not having to hold caucuses. For the American people this means that when it

comes time for the general election, their candidate of choice will be backed financially by the

party more so then they are already, which will allow their candidate of choice to have more

opportunities to gain supporters due having better funding to pay for their campaigns. .

A National Primary Day would also keep candidates in the running longer and keep

certain states from having more significance than others. For their individual reasons Iowa, New

Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada all vote before every other state in the primary elections

(Putnam 2015). The results from these four small states pave the way for how the rest of the

states will vote. The issue with this is that all four of these states have small predominantly white

populations which do not reflect the entire United States population. However, often other states

will join the bandwagon and just vote the same as these states. This drives good candidates out of

the race because if they do not have enough votes in these four states than the other 46 are

irrelevant as they are already considered out of the running. Not to mention, having these states

vote so early drags out the whole process, making it slower than it needs to be. If every state

voted on the same day not only would it be quicker but also, it would stop candidates from

dropping out of the running before the majority of the American population has had a chance to

vote. If we had a National Primary Day each candidate would still be considered in the race up

until the party nominee results were announced.

To an average voter, the whole process is extremely confusing and complicated. Also, it

is highly unlikely that an uninformed voter who does not have a big interest in politics will take

the time out of their day to educate themselves on how the process works. Instead, they would

rather stay uninformed and just not vote or not vote until the general election. This especially

turns off younger and new voters from voting as it makes them feel they do not understand

politics so they have no business getting involved with it. This process drives away potential

voters who, if they voted, have the ability to completely change the election results. A National

Primary Day is extremely simple and easy for the average voter to understand, so more people

would go out and vote in the primaries (Kurtzlebin 2016).

The idea of a National Primary Day is not a new concept and has been debated every

election cycle. The main argument against it is that a National Primary Day would require

candidates to have to have a national campaign, which costs much more money. It is said that a

National Primary Day eliminates the underdog in a presidential running and the candidate with

the largest wallet will have the biggest voice and the biggest chance to gain supporters. In order

to stop this, a candidate can tactically focus where they will spend the money they raise in order

to gain the most supporters. For example, a candidate can focus funds on the most densely

populated areas instead of the larger areas. A grassroots candidate should focus their funds and

attention on places such as New York City, with a population of around 8 million people, rather

than a smaller state such as Montana, with a population of around 1 million people. While the

state of Montana is considerably larger than New York City, a candidate is much more likely to

gain support in New York City because of how densely populated it is. This will help save the

candidate money and make it so that they are not overshadowed by candidates who have access
to more funding. A national campaign takes a great deal of funds to execute, however if a

candidate strategically targeted their funds in areas with the most potential voter support they

would still be able to keep up with candidates that have more funding (Kurtzlebin 2016).

As stated earlier, a National Primary Day means having a national campaign, which puts

extreme pressure on the candidates. A National Primary Day means campaigns become much

more high stakes and when they are speaking to one state they are speaking to every state. This

makes candidates act very careful and it would be assumed that only those with the proper

political training would have a chance in the race, making it impossible for those without the

training to win. However, being President of the United States requires political training in order

to oversee diplomacy. A presidential candidate should have the ability to handle high stakes

situations and if they cannot handle the pressure during the campaign then they cannot handle the

pressure when holding office. Having a National Primary Day forces candidates to seek political

training and will show voters how a candidate acts under pressure and on their feet.

Having a national primary day would lead to a much simpler way of voting. It would

mean that a party can save its money for the general election, candidates would not be

considered out of the running so early, and the election process as a whole would be such easier

and less intimidating to the average voter. Our current method is unnecessarily complicated and

makes American politics more off putting to the average person, which stops citizens from

exercising a right the constitution has granted them: equal suffrage.

Work Cited

Kurtzlebin, Danielle. 2016. No Way To Pick A President? Here Are 6 Other Ways To Do It.

NPR. http://www.npr.org/2016/01/26/463870736/no-way-to-pick-a-president-here-are-6-

other- ways-to-do-it (July 7, 2016).

McDonald, Michael P. 2014.Voter Turnout Data - United States Elections Project. United

States Elections Project. http://www.electproject.org/home/voter-turnout/voter-turnout-d

ata (July 7, 2016).

Putnam, Josh. 2015. Everything You Need to Know about How the Presidential Primary

Works. Monkey Cage.



=317146705738156 (July 7, 2016).