45 million 18-29 year olds will be eligible to vote in this year's presidential election, representing the largest potential voting bloc in the country. Learn more about the issues, register to vote and get involved with MTV's Power of 12. Today, we've got another "Jargon Buster" for you.
primary, noun: an election that happens before the big general election, serving to narrow and choose candidates particularly within political parties
As we've learned over this semester's vocab lessons, our political system has a lot of measures in place to ensure that candidate selection is fair and democratic. Caucuses and conventions help focus in on a party's potential nominee; primary elections do the same. Here, the people get a vote -- but the people's states dictate just how flexible that vote can be.
An open primary lets any registered voter throw their pick into the mix. That means that even if Voter John is a registered Democrat, he could still choose to put his primary vote toward a Republican candidate. The pro: He gets a say in the ultimate Presidential stand-off, even though, since Obama's our incumbent, Voter John already knows who'll be representing his party in the race. The con: If enough Democrats decide to do the same, they could stir the pot by voting for the least strong Republican candidate. Hmmmm... strategy....
A closed primary only lets registered party members vote for their party's candidates. Democratic Voter John will only be able to cast votes for Democrats this year. Sorry V.J. Likewise, Independent voters can't cross over into red or blue turf. They're in voter purgatory and will just have to wait until the big show-down in November.
We have a handful of primaries left to go before Obama's opponent is made official -- but as you can see from the results already in, we've got ourselves a front-runner...