Would this work as an alternative to the usual primary system?

I’m assuming the extremists won’t like this because they want to be able to control their party’s nominations.

However, most of us (humor me :p) would rather the candidates from the 2 parties be less psychotic and have to pander to their base less and more to the majority of the American people. So with that said, would the following changes moderate the nominees, even a little?

  1. Major parties like the Dems and Pubs will still endorse one candidate as normal, but other Dems and Pubs can still run as Dems and Pubs but without the “official” support of the party

  2. To keep out nuts like Lyndon Laruche, or joke candidates designed specifically to siphon votes from one party’s main nominee and make them lose, the minor candidates from these parties will have to be an elected member of that party’s legislative or executive branch. So yes to the Ron Paul’s, no to Lyndon, but yes to the sitting VP as well. I think this allows for more choices in a party than simply the one the extremists that the party primaries vote for. This would theoretically allow moderate candidates from these parties to form their own block, maybe force the national party to moderate their party’s platform unless they want Ron Paul taking Republican votes away from Sarah Palin

  3. So in theory, in the next election we could have Obama vs. Palin as the main attraction, but Ron Paul in the mix also as a Republican, along with all of the other candidates from the Green and Libertarian parties, and independents. As long as a candidate is popular enough, he doesn’t have to change his stance to cater to the whims of the extremists in his party’s primary. He also doesn’t have to run on the sure-lose platform of “independent”

  4. Extremists will find a way to muck up any election, but I think right now they have too much control in our current primary system. The challenge is not to completely eliminate them, as that will only happen if there are no extremists, but to lessen their impact. Allowing more candidates to run as the party’s nominee seems to serve that goal. Allowing them to be from the elected body of the party assures that they at least won’t be an even crazier, unelectable part of the party or a joke candidate nominated by the opposite party

I don’t think the parties will go for this because it cuts into their power too much, but if this was implemented somehow, wouldn’t it mitigate the damage of the Palins of the world?

I don’t really get the advantage here. Rather than running as Independent, people who lose primaries but hold office can run under the party name. How does this make them any more viable than an Independent candidate?

Further, how is it fair to have two tiers of candidates? Why shouldn’t the members of a certain party be able to choose who represents them? If some Democratic congressperson decided to become a Tea Partier while in office and then run under the Democratic name, it’s just confusing.

I don’t see any way of making candidates more viable by attaching a party affiliation that they, ultimately, don’t deserve. And further, giving special privileges to people in elected office to help them stay in office or run for other offices doesn’t strike me as fair at all.

So the major/main/fist-tier candidate doesn’t have to hold an elected office, but the “minor” candidates do?

Anyway, I don’t see how you can force the parties to go along with this system. Each party would still try their best to concentrate all their supporters’ votes into their “main” candidate.

Besides, I’m not sure if there is a problem that needs to be solved. As it is, many primary voters seem to base their vote on which candidate is the most electable (i.e. most likely to win the general election). And we generally end up with nominees who at least pretend to be moderate and centrist.

Well the general idea is to moderate the parties by fixing the exclusive primary system, not simply to make more viable candidates although that would be the effect. The 2nd tier candidates may not be that much more electable than an independent, but I would argue that a 2nd tier Republican would get more votes than the Libertarian or Independent candidate, especially depending on the year.

There’s no inherent mandate that parties only elect one person to be the representative in the general election. This is a self-imposed rule the parties follow for maximum visibility and votes.

It’s no more a special privilege that candidates now are part of the party they eventually represent. Primaries are an internal mechanism within parties to choose the best person to run in the general election. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a rule somewhere that says the person has to run as that party’s representative. McCain, for instance, probably would not be the Republican nominee if he had renounced his party status and run as an independent while still believing everything he believed, making the Republicans without an official nominee for 2008. Though I must admit I don’t know exactly what each party’s rules are in this specific manner

Right, because of 2 reasons:

One, the main candidate would be someone the party wants and supports in the first place, so I don’t think there is a question of whether this person’s loyal or not to the party.

And two, the 2nd tier candidate may have a large impact on the election, and if they want to represent a party (and not just be a joke candidate and act as a spoiler or a mole from the other party), it should be certain that as least they are an elected official from that party.

Oh I have no doubt the parties wouldn’t support it due to it diluting the power of the party bosses. This is simply an exercise to see if this way of doing primaries would moderate the nominees

Given the depths to which the Republicans have sunk to recently, I doubt that you can hold on to that belief for long. If Palin gets nominated in 2012, and has a legitimate shot at winning, I fear for this country. I’m open to confessing that this is not about getting more viable candidates but moderating the party extremists who dominate the primaries. If they can get their own candidate and suffer losses (instead of claiming the party’s nominee is not extreme enough), it may give the party moderates political cover to ignore the psychos and tell them to their face that they’re views are wrong

Honestly, wouldn’t a much easier way of making the primary system less exclusive just be to have third parties have their own primaries once they reach a certain size, rather than forcing candidates on parties that don’t want them?

Sure. And if votes for third parties went to the incumbent instead, the incumbent will get more votes. You’ve failed to establish why redistribution of votes is good, for one.

So why is it your decision to tell the parties how to run? Why is forcing candidates on them appropriate or necessary?

No, they’re not. They’re about the party choosing their candidate.

I’m not sure what you think the problem is, or why your approach will solve it. For that matter, I’m not even sure what your proposal is. Recently, Connecticut elected as Senator “Joe Lieberman, Independent.” In your proposal he would have been “Joe Lieberman, Democrat”, I guess, perhaps making him more likely to win the election. He did win the election anyway; was that clearly a good thing? Nader and Perot did affect elections and could have achieved the prerequisites for Dem/Rep labeling had they wanted to. Is that what you’re suggesting? 3- or 4-way elections would be “better” than 2-way? FWIW, Perot would have rejected either major party label; he wanted to appeal to both.

For many years America had two parties each with broad centrist support, and selected candidates centrists could view with respect. Eisenhower and Stevenson were both great men; Ike won, in part, because he was more centrist. Nixon, the first Bush, and Clinton were all selected by the primary system and were all competent Presidents. (I’m no Nixon fan, but any rationalist would prefer him over present GOP candidates.)

Elevation of know-nothings like GWB and Palin is a relatively recent phenomenon, but has much deeper roots than just extremist-helping primaries. I would rather blame irresponsible media and a general climate of ignorance. Voter apathy is also a big problem: that’s a big reason why extremists can dominate primary elections.

I keep hearing how “extremists” run the GOP. But who have the Republican Presidential nominees been? Darlings of the Religious Right? No! John McCain wasn’t the choice of the “extremists,” nor was Bob Dole, nor EITHER of the George Bushes.

Who’s currently the GOP frontrunner? Pat Robertson? No, Mitt Romney, a longtime liberal who’s trying hard to pretend he’s actually a conservative.