Thursday, December 03, 2009

Primary Colors

Tennessee's political parties should consider closing our primaries-and in the long run, paying for part or all of the nominating process on the party's dime:

State law already allows for a political party to choose its nominees for office in a way other than by primary, because how a party chooses to nominate candidates is ultimately up to that party and its governing body. Yet by custom and tradition, primaries are the preferred method to nominate candidates. Because the process is a party political one, parties may throw out a perfectly good result at will, or accept a questionable one as they see fit (not that doing either is the right thing to do).

Closing the primary in Tennessee seems the logical way to insure that candidates pass either party's rules of muster-and in a closed primary system, the major parties must enact such standards of legitimacy and keep them. Without a closed primary and set standards, our parties engage in a "pick and choose" standard with no criteria but anger for the enforcement of that standard. However, if the political parties are going to exercise the franchise in the form of a primary to nominate, parties ought to foot the bill.

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