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Daniel Gulley

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Increasing voter turnout in primaries would dramatically improve the American system and result in more candidates with moderate positions.

It occurred to me that if I placed a bell curve over this simple linear model of politics I could show the distribution of American political attitudes.

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Reactionary/Conservative/Moderate/Liberal/Radical

I divided the moderates such that conservative moderates are located from center to 1 standard deviation(SD) to the right of the mean and liberal moderates are from center to 1 SD to the left of the mean.

What this shows is that the majority of Americans are in the middle of the political spectrum.

This is where I may coin a term "the 68%". The 68% are the majority of Americans. They are working class Americans, students, teachers, parents, grandparents and veterans. They are by definition moderate being somewhere to the right and left of center and everywhere in between.

The two parties usually employ sensitive issues to fire up the base and to divide and distract those people in the middle of the political spectrum, the 68%. They agree on virtually all accounts except for abortion, and maybe gay marriage. Regardless these two issues are deployed every election cycle to divide and distract, and after every cycle the status quo, the state of affairs on abortion and same-sex marriage, remains the same.

But if most Americans are somewhere in the middle, why do our candidates come from the left and right of center?

Voter turnout in the primaries is very low compared to during the general election, and sometimes it is as low as 1% or lower (it averages probably around 10-15% but can get as high as 25-30%).

The result is the simple truth that while those in the middle of the political spectrum, the moderate majority decides who will be our president, it is those people on the far left and right (the fringes) that decide who the two candidates will be. In essence the 68% do choose who will be President but it is the 1% and the 10% that decide who will run.

Primaries are just as important as general elections!!!

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    Dec 16 2012: I disagree. There was an editorial on Nightline years ago that's stuck with me since. It was summed up in the end as "If you don't care, don't vote," which strikes me as a good summation. There are only so many people who are passionate enough about the election to educate themselves on the issues. If it's 1%, so be it. But let those voters, the passionate, educated voters, and only those voters, determine the outcome of the election. Rousing hoards of uncaring voters to the polls does not strike me as patriotic, it strikes me as a very bad idea.
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      Dec 16 2012: My argument is logically valid (the conclusion follows from the premises) and it is deductive in nature, meaning that if you accept the premises then you must accept the conclusion. So to reject the conclusion is to reject 1 or more premises, so which premises do you reject?

      With all due respect your argument or more precisely your summation of Nightline's argument is what in logic is called a fallacy of composition.

      "This line of reasoning is fallacious because the mere fact that individuals (within a class) have certain characteristics does not, in itself, guarantee that the class (taken as a whole) has those characteristics." http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/composition.html

      A hidden premise in this argument is that all primary voters are passionate and educated on the issues, and anyone who does not vote in the primaries is not while this is most definitely true of some it can not on its own merit serve as a basis to make such a broad generalization about every primary voter or every general election voter who did not vote in the primaries.

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