Leave the Primaries Alone

I see people talking about reforming the primary process to be "simpler and more accountable", "uniform primaries", etc. I disagree. These people want to turn an interesting process that tests the abilities of the candidates and their organizations on many levels into the equivalent of education's high stakes testing.

Contrary to the opinion of the losers, the Nevada process showed us, for example, that Hillary runs a team that covers the details and plans carefully. It showed that Bernie and his campaign were not up to the task. That's important information for voters.

Caucuses show a campaign's ability to reach out in a small-ball, emotional context. The sequence of conventions and their negotiations show the power and savvy of the candidate. These are all important.

Primaries replace this complexity with a single, uniform (and fairly boring) test. Money plays an outsize role because of advertising. So do special interest organizations who can muster volunteers. They, too, have their place but to change it all into a monoculture would be bad.

Super delegates enrich the situation, too. They actually represent one more primary challenge for the candidates. It takes entirely different skills and characteristics to appeal to professional politicians. The stated purpose is to prevent a Trumpian disaster, but they also represent the judgment of the seasoned people who really know how politics works.

I do not think the primary system is broken at all. It fulfills many needs.