End party primaries

The idiosyncratic nomination of a Neo-Nazi to Congress by a major party in Chicago illustrates the propensity of the primary system to produce ineffective and even dangerous candidates, “The Neo-Nazi vote,” (March 24). 

Proponents of primaries can admit of no cure for preventing rogue candidates from hijacking the best interests of political parties, particularly when there is low voter turnout and a divided ticket. The 2016 Republican presidential primary is a case in point, for only 17 percent of eligible Republicans participated in the first 12 primaries (12 percent of Democrats), according to Pew Research. This, combined with Trump’s 35 percent vote total in the first 16 primaries, effectively means he built his momentum with only 6 percent of party support. 

Primaries violate democratic principles by enabling crossovers to vote for unelectable candidates in opposing parties, which likely occurred in Chicago. They also violate civil liberties, because government is allowed to keep records of and make public our political affiliation. 

Let us end primaries and restore self-governance to political associations, which the Framers likely envisioned. We forget that America rose to prominence through independent, coherent and strong political parties.

Edward Kleinman


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