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Barton Article on Eliminating Partisan Primaries Published in The Fulcrum

July 28, 2023

The Fulcrum

Richard Barton

Richard Barton

"No election system is an island: Why more states must eliminate partisan primaries," written by Richard Barton, assistant teaching professor of policy studies and public administration and international affairs, was published in The Fulcrum.

"There is growing mainstream consensus that partisan primaries are one of the main causes of government dysfunction. They disenfranchise voters, promote division, and gridlock legislatures," says Barton. "Recognizing this Primary Problem, Alaska, California, Louisiana and Washington have eliminated partisan primaries. While each state’s system is slightly different, the evidence so far suggests nonpartisan primaries are decreasing polarization and improving governance," he says.

"But given how partisan and ideologically extreme most politicians still are, are nonpartisan primaries really enough to save American democracy? While we’re already seeing improvements in the states that have them, the tide won’t fully change until a critical mass of politicians are freed from partisan primaries at the state and national level," Barton says.

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