Election reform

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No Way to Choose a President

By David S. Broder; Wednesday, December 31, 2003; Page A19; Washington Post [1]

"Something strange and important has happened to the system of picking presidential candidates. Influence that was supposed to move from political insiders to the broad public has been captured by activists, pollsters, pundits and fundraisers -- not exactly the people the reformers had in mind. The new system removes the useful peer-group screening that once operated, but fails in its promise to give power to the people."
"Political scientists say that the whole "drama" of the primaries is a fraud -- that the opposition party almost invariably nominates the candidate who raises the most money in the pre-election year and leads the field in the final polls of the year."
"Most Americans have a limited appetite for politics. When the candidates are forced to do most of their campaigning for the nomination in the pre-presidential year, they quickly find that the only attentive audience members are activists, donors, pollsters and the political reporters. Those four groups -- none of them remotely representative of the grass roots -- have acquired the power to say who is "expected" to win -- and who usually does win."
"This rush to judgment devalues the role of the party leaders and elected officials and still fails to achieve the reformers' populist goals. It comes close to being the worst way possible to pick a president."

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