The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

Guide to the Primary Season

What the primaries are and how they work
Phil Roeder
People voting in Des Moines, Iowa during the 2020 election

Around one month from now, “primary season” will start, and the news will all be talking about the current presidential primaries.

The primaries are a series of elections in different states that help to determine who will be the nominees of the major political parties for president. These primaries are also a predictor for national politics and future elections. If politicians choose how to campaign in the primaries well, even if they are trailing in the polls, they can win an upset. This happened with Obama in 2008, as he was polling around 15% less than the current frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. He made an upset and would become the nominee and then President, serving two terms from 2008 to 2016.

These primaries do not directly select candidates but technically elect delegates bound to vote for a certain candidate. These delegates select the nominee officially at the national convention, though the nominee is already known by then. 

Also, not every primary is equal in its effect, as earlier primaries have much more influence than later ones because success can increase a candidate’s reach to the voters. This is how Obama made his upset as he won the first Democratic primary in Iowa and rose in the polls instantly. This is why traditionally, early primaries like Iowa and New Hampshire or, to a lesser extent, Nevada and South Carolina are so important. 

Another important time for primaries is Super Tuesday, a day where many primaries occur on the same day and usually decide who the leading candidate or candidates are.

In 2024, the primary system will be different for Democrats as they are changing the order of primaries to reflect the party at large better. The new calendar would start with South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Michigan, and Super Tuesday. However, New Hampshire decided to plan the primary first in violation of the Democratic Party’s new proposal. As the Democrats already have an incumbent, this election will likely get less press attention than the Republicans.

 While Trump leads in almost every poll in every state for the Republican primaries, other candidates like Governor Ron DeSantis and Fmr. Governor Nikki Haley will be fighting for second place. For example, in Massachusetts, Trump has led the polls, but Haley and DeSantis have been battling to be the biggest candidate opposing Trump. Who will win and if they could beat him or raise their political image is remains to be seen.

The current presidential candidates will be on full display during the upcoming primary season, even though the result will likely be a Trump v. Biden rematch. The rest of the results could be an important indicator of national politics. 

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About the Contributor
Ian Swanson is a sophomore at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School where he is a student journalist. He became a student journalist because he wanted to make sure his community was informed and connected and thought journalism would be a good way to achieve this.

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