Here is a blog post that suggests a problem with too pure a democratic system. The subject is Afghan elections, but I thought this part was interesting:
In 2005 there were so many people running for parliament in many districts that the winner may only have obtained a small percentage of the vote. In Kabul, for instance, 30 of the 33 winning parliamentary candidates won with less than 3 percent of the vote. Nationally, 64 percent of Afghan voters cast their votes for candidates who lost. (These figures are drawn from Thomas Johnson’s brilliant paper analyzing the 2005 Afghan elections in the March–June 2006 Central Asian Survey, readily downloadable on the Web.)Once could say "hold a primary" but that seems to narrow democracy.
And if one holds a primary, what is the cut off? Narrow it to two? So, then the one elected is one of two who got less than 3% if the primary? And at what point would the primary be needed? More than two candidates, more than five candidates, more than ten candidates?♥
I would agree with a plan to hand primaries back to the political parties and not put the expense on the taxpayers. And, even if we don't, I would favor a process that said that those not registered party members do not get to vote in the Primary Election. I would mechanize that as current voters need to be registered with the party at least 90 days in advance and new voters may declare their party affiliation when they register, right up to the day of voting, including the day of voting.
Regards — Cliff
♠ As the Solid South of my youth did with cross filing. But, my memory may be failing me. The Wikipedia entry talks to California having cross-filing and even mentions Richard Nixon running unopposed in the 1948 Republican primary and also running in the Democratic Party primary and winning that nomination also. Interestingly, California just voted to essentially do away with parties in primaries, with Proposition 14. My personal view is that this is a step in the wrong direction.
♥ And, how solid would that be? I would hope it wouldn't be like Lowell elections, where the City Council takes an Abrahamic like approach and keeps saying, well, let's cancel the primary, even though there is one more candidate than twice the number of seats, but let's cancel because there is one more than one candidate, but what if there was one more than one more ... lets cancel.