Public Participation in the Presidential Nomination Process
Widespread public participation in the presidential nomination process has only become a common process since the 1970s, following the recommendations of the McGovern-Fraser commission for the Democratic Party, which the Republican Party effectively adopted as well. These led to the use of primaries by most states, and caucuses in a minority. In a general sense, public participation in the presidential nomination process hinders democracy more than aids to advance it. This is due to problems with primaries and caucuses, the fact that money can play a pivotal role, media influence and exploitation. Although, some positives for democracy include it replaced a largely covert process and a wider range of candidates are now able to take part.
Firstly, one benefit to democracy that public participation in the presidential nomination process gives is that a wider range of candidates are able to take part, including those not part of the Washington establishment. For example, in 1968 there were just five presidential candidates to choose from, three Democrats and two Republicans. In 2008, there were 15 candidates, eight Democrats and seven Republicans. Furthermore, evidence that the process has opened up to outsiders include politicians who initially did not have a national reputation, such as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. This highlights the idea that without this kind of presidential nomination process that is in place, some of Americas most successful presidents would have never come into the fold of a previously covert process. In addition, this prevents tyranny of the majority as a wider range of candidates has resulted in those from minority positions in society to leading roles in US society. This is particularly the case with Barack Obama.
Something that aids the wider range of candidates in the presidential nominating process is that there is an