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Rolling Stone: The Way America Picks Presidential Nominees Is Dumb

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

Michael Maiello, contributor for, published an article Tuesday titled, The Way America Picks Presidential Nominees is Dumb, concluding that party primaries are the biggest scam in the presidential election process.

Maiello decries a primary process that he argues puts political parties ahead of voters. He says that primaries instill an importance in two major political parties that "is unearned and, aside from the right of assembly, has no place in the U.S. Constitution."

"The idea that the most qualified or effective president and federal representatives would be those chosen by either the Democrats or Republicans to go head-to-head in the general election is a sham. Democrats and Republicans may have dramatic differences, but they have colluded to bamboozle the country. The primary process is Byzantine, undemocratic, un-American and ineffective."

Maiello cites extensive research done by IVN authors on the impact closed primaries have on all voters, including the growing number of voters who are choosing not to affiliate with either major party:

"The Independent Voter Network estimates that between 2000 and 2013, New Jersey taxpayers paid $100 million to administer primary elections. So unaffiliated voters in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere are paying for elections in which they are not even allowed a say."

In 2015, the Independent Voter Project, who publishes IVN, led a coalition of nonpartisan organizations and 7 individual plaintiffs who sued New Jersey over its use of a closed partisan primary system. Similar to Maiello's argument, the coalition argued that the closed primary violates the individual’s fundamental right to equal and meaningful participation in all integral stages of the voting process, thus giving a decided advantage to the two major parties and their members over elections.

A petition was filed before the Supreme Court to hear the case after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court's ruling to dismiss the lawsuit, echoing the state's argument that if voters feel disenfranchised by a process that conditions their right to vote on joining the Republican or Democratic party, then they should "simply join a party."

Read more about the New Jersey lawsuit here.

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