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Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

Ciboski: Who should choose nominees?

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Many Americans this election year have lamented the choices for president of each of the major parties and especially that of Donald Trump for the Republicans. One explanation for this is that for many years now, the two major political parties and their activists have had a lesser role in selecting the nominee for president of their respective party. A strong and vocal segment of Americans demanded that “the people” and not political party activists should choose their nominees for president. The thinking is that “good” and legitimate choices will be the result because the nomination process is more democratic with a more limited role for political party activists.

But who are “the people?” Presumably, they are those who turn out to vote in primary elections and caucuses. We know, though, that turnout for these elections is pitifully low, so how representative of “the people” is that?   

I advocate that we return to the earlier and long-standing process of giving the responsibility for selecting a presidential nominee to those who are willing to devote themselves to working in the political vineyards of their respective party. Party people know what is “best” for their party. They want to win elections and take power, so they would work to select a nominee who is acceptable as a candidate to a large number of prospective voters.

I contend that if Republican party activists, rather than primary voters, would have had a decisive role in deciding who their presidential nominee would be this year, it would not have been Donald Trump.