30 March 2008

 

What Primary?

Repeatedly over the past few weeks or so, I've heard a non-trivial number of recognized pundits refer to the continuing "Democratic primary."

There is no Democratic primary.

There is a process consisting of caucuses, conventions, and elections conducted by the states, territories, and Democrats Abroad by which those entities select delegates pledged to particular candidates to the Democratic National Convention, to be held in August in Denver. At that convention, those delegates and the so-called superdelegates—elected Democratic officials each with one delegate vote—will select the nominee of the Party.

This process is not a primary, which is an election to select a candidate. It's not even clear to me that the various Presidential candidate preference elections ought to be called "primaries," because they don't really serve the same role that a primary in a statewide or district-wide election does; i.e., picking the Party candidate for the general election.

I know this is borderline pedantic, but using "primary" to describe the process by which the Party picks a nominee is clueless, or, in this particular year, playing into the preferred framing by one of the two remaining candidates. So-called pundits ought to know better.

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