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LETTER: Primary process contributes to our political polarization

The Review Journal’s April 5 editorial noted an Associated Press Research poll that found “wide-spread consensus on America’s core values.” You then quoted Lilliana Mason, a political scientist from Johns Hopkins University, who said, part of our political polarization “is really our leaders are not reflecting the electorate, and they behave in a way that’s much more polarized than what the electorate is.”

The reason our leaders are more polarized than the American people is because of the way we elect our representatives. Closed party primaries produce nominees who appeal to the most extreme voters in each party, because those are the voters most likely to vote in party primary elections. Then a majority of those candidates run in non-competitive districts where victory is almost certain. The result is that our elected representatives are much more extreme than the American voters.

If we want our representatives to be less polarized, we must change how we elect them. Open primaries, not controlled by either political party, will result in candidates who appeal more to the middle of the political spectrum.

Nevada will have the chance this November to change how we elect our representatives, to elect representatives who are more open to compromise and consensus building and who reflect the core values of Nevada voters. I encourage everyone to vote to change our primary election process to open primaries so we elect less extreme candidates.

And I hope the rest of the nation follows us.

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