Does Public Participation in the Presidential Nomination Process Advance or Hinder Democracy?

1200 Words5 Pages
Public participation in the presidential nomination process in the USA has only the norm since the 1970’s, after the recommendations from the commission for the Democratic Party. These led to the use of primaries in almost every state, and caucuses in a few states. There are many arguments to say that this does not advance democracy, however there are also numerous that say that public participation does in fact advance democracy. In this essay I will be assessing whether public participation hinders or advances the presidential nomination process with the most convincing argument being that public participation hinders democracy. One arguments showing that public participation advances democracy is that it allows a wider range of candidates to run for presidency that are not part of the Washington establishment. This enhances democracy because the public have a wide variety of candidates to choose from and can pick the candidate that they believe will represent and support their political ideology. The process is therefore opened up to outsiders who do not initially have a national reputation such as Bill Clinton in 1992, Barack Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2008 also. For example Hillary Clinton was considered an outsider because she was a female candidate and only male candidates have yet made it to presidency. The fact that the process is open to unlikely candidates and the public have the right to choose such candidates means that democracy is advanced because the decision lies with the public. Another argument providing evidence that public participation advances democracy is that the level of participation by voters has increased dramatically. In 1968, the last year of the unreformed system, only 11.7 million Americans took part in the election process. By 1988 the number of Americans who took part in this process was 35 million and in 2008, 58
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