On August 24, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap proposed that the state legislature abolish primary elections. He says the state can’t afford the $300,000 every other year for primaries, and says that the parties are capable of nominating by caucuses, at their own expense.
I actually think this would be a great idea. Maine puts the cost of primaries around $300,000, but I suspect the costs go much higher. The rational of Maine being primary free is, political parties are independent organizations and currently are too entrenched with the power of the state.
In order for Maine’s proposal to work we must first acknowledge two political-electoral systems; intra- party and inter-party. In an intra party system most of the competition occurs within the party itself. For example, in many localities around the U.S. whoever wins a given primary more or less wins the office itself. The general election is more of custom than any real importance. On the other hand, an inter-party system will have competition between political parties.
As one might anticipate abolishing primaries and instituting IRV must go hand and hand. The most immediate effect of abolishing primaries, is a multitude of smaller political parties or the smaller ones we currently have getting stronger. Given this reality, it is essential that general elections become majority rather than plurality based. Unlike our current system, we must have a system where every vote counts, there is not spoiler effect, and majority rules.