Causes Of Primaries

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As demonstrated by the quote from Hirano, Snyder, Ansolabehere, and Hansen, the popular theory of activists controlling primaries suggests that activists not only force candidates to ideological extremes to win primary elections, but they also compel newly elected officeholders to remain more extreme than they normally would. This forces the party to risk losing the seat, because moderate candidates do better in general elections. Activists find primaries easier to take over than general elections because there are fewer voters to contend with, as most people do not bother voting in primaries. Primaries are not large enough to bring in the large sums of money needed to catch the public eye, and those who do vote in primary elections tend to be more involved in politics. People involved tend to have issues they care about or reasons to remain loyal to a specific party, otherwise they would not be involved. (Brady, Han, Pope, 2011)
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The data gathered in this article can also suggest other major causes of polarization. If the political elite had the greatest sway over the candidates, there would be very little turnover because most candidates would have no reason to be ousted except when they were removing themselves from their party. In this case, a low level of turnover could be expected regularly. Similarly, if the electorate base had the most influence in who was elected, a moderate level of turnover could be expected regularly in primaries. In times of scandal, a very low level of turnover could be expected, as more incumbents would be defeated in re-election. The electorate would remove bad candidates and push ones more reflective of their viewpoints to the forefront of their parties over

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