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The 2016 presidential election and why primaries matter

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This week, Elaine Kamarck talks presidential primaries, congressional primaries, and the problems facing our current nominating system. She also offers predictions on the likely GOP and Democratic presidential nominees. Listen to find out who she’s tapped to win.

“Political parties are incredibly important,” says Kamarck,”They shape Americans’ behaviors. They are the best predictor of how Americans are going to vote. And there are in fact real and meaningful differences between the parties. You can’t really have democracies without political parties. Political parties are the sort of essence of democracy, but they’re also the part of democracy that voters love to hate.”

Kamarck is a senior fellow and founding director of the Center for Effective Public Management. She is also author of Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know about how America Nominates its Presidential Candidates. ”The primary method of nominating candidates increases polarization,” argues Elaine. “The place that you see it affect behavior most dramatically is in congressional primaries… So what happens is the most extreme voters tend to dominate and they pull the Democrats to the left and Republicans to the right. What a surprise then when they get to Congress and nobody can agree on anything.”

Also hear David Wessel give his regular economic update, this time on tax reform proposals from the campaign trail.


Show Notes:


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Elaine C. Kamarck is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know about How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates. She is a member of the Democratic National Committee and a superdelegate to the Democratic convention.

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