General Question

gorillapaws's avatar

Does sheltering an incumbent candidate from debates and a competitive primary hurt or help the party's chances of winning the general election?

Asked by gorillapaws (30689points) 3 weeks ago

I’ve heard people argue, especially in the mainstream media, that it’s important to protect a candidate in the primaries and that having a vigorous primary fight ultimately weakens your side. I’ve also heard that an intense primary fight will result in the most battle-hardened candidate emerging who will be the best one to represent your party in the general election. Perhaps there are other ways to think about it?

Would the Democratic Party have had a better chance of beating Trump if they’d allowed Biden to debate in the primaries? to not have canceled the primaries and just outright declared Biden the winner without a vote as the DNC did in many states?

What are your thoughts? Obviously the recent debate is an inspiration for the question, but it’s intended to be a discussion that would apply more broadly as well.

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7 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I think the Democrats should have held a primary, but I don’t think we usually have one when an incumbent president is running, do we?

What’s happening is crazy. I think the left leaning political media pushed the narrative that Biden is great and his age doesn’t matter, and now they are ready to push for him to step aside. Tomorrow they might be saying a bad debate doesn’t mean he can’t govern.

Imagine if the DNC just decides to put someone else in? After Democrats have spent years saying we should have a direct vote and horrified that Republicans are trying to overturn the vote of the people or just simply appoint their candidate.

filmfann's avatar

Can you cite a State that declared Biden the winner without a vote?

gorillapaws's avatar

@filmfann Florida and several other states.

This is the party that is “fighting to preserve democracy.”

seawulf575's avatar

The Dems don’t like primaries. They choose their candidate long before the national convention. It should be noted that Biden is still not officially the candidate for the Dems.

I don’t think that having debates or a vigorous primary should be bad for a candidate. That is the time when you get to put forth your ideas for the position for which you are running. Your opponents can detail their views as well. Voters get to see where they land with the candidates…whose views they agree with, who they feel has the most likeability, etc. But this all only works if (a) you have actual positions to articulate (b) you can be civil in your debate and© you don’t split your party irreparably with rhetoric.

I believe that dodging debates or hiding in the basement is a really weird way of running a campaign. Imagine, a politician that doesn’t want to be in front of the people or to run their mouths.

janbb's avatar

Just a question because I really don’t know. If the incumbent of either party wants to run again, is it common for there to be primary challenges?

gorillapaws's avatar

@janbb There were debates in the past, particularly when the incumbent has low approval ratings. For example, Ted Kennedy challenged and debated Jimmy Carter several times. The only other times where your question would have been relevant to the DNC would have been Clinton in 1996 and Obama in 2012. I’m not sure about the RNC or even for other elections in foreign countries.

Pandora's avatar

I think debates today aren’t like debates in the past. There was a certain amount of respect but that has gone away and has become a sh-t show. People only walk away repulsed by all the choices presented in the end because too many people of our nation want to watch something like the Beverly Hill Housewives but don’t want people like that for President. So I think it’s a waste of time. No really important issues end up getting discussed in the end and its just a lot of hollow promises without any realistic plans. So it just becomes about personality and no reality.

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