What Can PICKING FRUIT Tell Us About our Primary Election Process?


As we engage in another presidential primary, it is somewhat embarrassing that we now have five final candidates on the Republican and Democratic sides that the majority of us common people simply don’t want in the oval office.  If we are to believe our political polling, here is the general consensus of the America people.

Clinton vs Trump – Clinton winning by 9.3%
Clinton vs Kasich – Kasich winning by 7.8%
Sanders vs Kasich – Sanders winning by 4.0%

I understand that polls are not elections and are subject to change.  However, of the five remaining presidential candidates, most Americans prefer that Bernie Sanders be our next president in 2016.  The runner up is John Kasich.  The sad news is that both Kasich and Sanders have no shot at being the nominees for their respective political parties.

So here we are.  In July, Democrats and Republicans will all meet to crown Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump their nominees respectively.  One of these presidential candidates will then be our president from 2017 to 2020.  In the latest polls, Hillary Clinton has a 39% favorable to a 56% unfavorable rating among all Americans.  Donald Trump has a favorable rating of 30% and an unfavorable rating of 64%.

If you have paid a attention to most of my posts on ReEngineeringPolitics.com, you will know that I am not a fan of political parties.  However, this situation proves my point.

Picking Fruit

Some people don’t get this principle on its first reading, so I will give you an example.  Let’s say that you have 20-people.  These twenty people all have their favorite fruit selection.  You now have five fruits to pick from; an apple, a banana, a grape, a plum and an orange. Five of the people like oranges and they hate apples.  Five people love apples and they hate oranges.  The remaining ten fruit lovers are all over the place.

Rather than having a traditional primary election, I ask all twenty voters to give points to their desired fruits.  Each voter has 10-points they can award to whatever fruit they want.  I create a chart and total all of the points in a table that looks like the image shown below:

Fruit National Race

Based on my table, if I total all of the points for each fruit, the banana is the clear winner.  They won 59 points with the grapes a close second at 49 points.

Now let’s think about what happens in our primary election process.  The Apples have their primary election; and the Oranges have their primary election.  Apples and Banana candidates participate in the Apple Primary; while Grapes, Plums and Oranges participate in the Orange Primary.

Fruit Primary Race v2

In the primary election, not all voters participate.  In fact, most non-affiliated voters are prevented from voting in partisan primary elections in most states with closed primaries.  With only the party loyalists participating in the election process, you get much different results.  The Apple wins the Apple Primary election, but there is an upset in the Orange Primary. with the Plum winning over the Grapes and Orange.

In both processes, the voters never changed the points they awarded any fruit.  However, there is a completely different outcome.  In fact, the two most popular fruits among all voters never make it to the general election.   Now let’s change from fruits to politicians (as if there’s a big difference).

Presidential Primary Race v2

According to the poll results that I outlined above, this is almost exactly what is happening in our 2016 presidential race.  Hillary Clinton will with the Democratic Primary (Apple Primary); and Donald Trump will win the Republican Primary (Orange Primary).  In the eyes of rest of the country, we get to pick between our 4th and 5th place choice.

Does anyone else see this obvious problem with our primary election process?

What Can We Do?

I am guessing, I am not the only one who has a problem with our current primary presidential election process.  For that matter, we have similar problems with almost every primary election process.  Here are my proposed solutions:

  1. Get rid of political parties.  The primary election process further strengthens our current two political parties.  Most Americans do not side exclusively with either party and are therefore not represented well by our current Democratic and Republican parties.
  2. Use a ranking system rather than a single vote.  In my example, people were allowed to give proportionate amount of points to their favorite candidates.  I believe this is the way most Americans think.  Most voters are not digital thinkers… They do not feel like one candidate is better than all candidates, most Americans have relative preferences.  Without such proportional voting, we tend to vote for one candidate we feel will beat the candidate we want to lose; rather than voting for the candidate we agree with the most.
  3. Use a two or three-step general election voting process; not a state-by-state primary.  This process would work by voting for a field of ten candidates who manage to get the most petition signatures in a presidential election season.  The top three candidates will then be voted on again with a point system process.  The largest point total wins the election.

I would love to hear any ideas you have as well.  Please join the discussion on my Facebook page.