Primary Elections vs. General Elections

The way we choose candidates and elect them is really screwed up.

Just because someone does well in the primary/caucus stage doesn’t mean they would be the best candidate to take on the other party in November.

We can see this perfectly in this election cycle. Just about every poll shows that Sanders would be a better candidate in November against any Republican, and Trump would be the worst possible choice for the Republicans.

Clinton is currently doing better with the delegate selection, but many people seem confused at the way the system works and are only paying attention to the number of states won by the candidates. This primary/caucus season is not like the electoral college where the winner of a state takes it all. If you win by a small enough percentage, you could have two candidates coming out of the election with the same amount of delegates.

But there’s something else to consider. Look at this map showing who has won the various states on the Democratic side so far:

demo map

When I first started thinking about this, I said, “Who cares that Clinton won Alabama or that Sanders won Oklahoma? Those states are never going to vote for the Democrat in November.”

In November, we Democrats are assured some states but need to win some of the “purple” states that can go either way. On this map (of the states that have already voted), those would be Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Nevada. While all four of those have gone Democratic in the last two elections, they were close and easily could have shifted Republican.

Sanders won two of those states and Clinton won two. So does that tell us anything?

No, not really, and that’s the problem. While I was hoping to show that Sanders has a better chance in November in the purple states, instead I find an inconclusive result.

If we didn’t have that stupid electoral college, things would be much different…

The way we choose candidates and elect them is really screwed up.





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