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  1.    #1  
    I'm from the UK, and in the UK we have a "shadow prime minister" who is around throughout the parliamentary term of office. This means that people get used to him, his cabinet (inner circle) and their policies over a long period of time prior to the election.

    It seems that a big reason that Kerry lost was because he didn't gain the trust of the voters. It wasn't as clear to the American people what he stood for when compared with Bush.

    It strikes me that the democrats might be better off in 2008 if they held their primary immediately and then allowed 1 person and his running mate 4 full years to establish their credibility with the voters for next time.

    Is there any reason why they don't do this in the U.S?
  2. #2  
    Kerry's campaign focused on making Kerry the viable alternative to Bush, so there was no focus on making Kerry or his policies well known.

    Aside from that Kerry has been a member of the Senate for some time, so there has been engouh time for him to make himself known.
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  3. #3  
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe a party's shadow prime minister is actually an MP, right? Does that mean it is nearly impossible for a non-MP to grab the top slot in an election? Your points are definitely valid, but I'd say a benefit of the US system is that it's open to all (well, all those over 34 years old and born in the US).
  4. #4  
    Isn't the shadow pm also the leader of the party? The system in the US is to seperate the head of the party and the topline candidate.
  5.    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by KRamsauer
    Isn't the shadow pm also the leader of the party? The system in the US is to seperate the head of the party and the topline candidate.
    Yes, that's correct. But is this it just customary that things are done this way in the U.S., or is there some consitutional requirement that forces things to work this way. If there is no requirement, I would have thought that it might be better for the Democrats to take a different approach well in advance of the next election.
  6.    #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by KRamsauer
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe a party's shadow prime minister is actually an MP, right? Does that mean it is nearly impossible for a non-MP to grab the top slot in an election? Your points are definitely valid, but I'd say a benefit of the US system is that it's open to all (well, all those over 34 years old and born in the US).
    Also correct, but I'd say there are advantages with requiring that the person who leads the country has some experience of the political process of the country.
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    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tekara
    Aside from that Kerry has been a member of the Senate for some time, so there has been engouh time for him to make himself known.
    I agree. Kerry has been making himself known for the last 20-30 years and in the end the people rejected him. Even though he tried to "recreate" himself during the campaign his record betrayed him. You can't spend 20-30 years being anti-military and then convince the people that you will be a tough commander-in-chief.
  8. #8  
    I've been thinking about it for a bit. To the best of my knowledge, the primary system is not consitutionally mandated, but it may be federally mandated (otherwise I don't know how the two parties hold primaries on the same days, that would imply they agree on something!).

    I guess one reason we have primaries is because right now, I can tell you with virtual certainty that we will have a presidential election in 2008, 2012 and 2016. You cannot give me similar assurances as to the electoral schedule of the UK. It's almost as if the UK parties have to be ready to roll in a moments notice (though I know in practice there is quite a bit of accurate speculation as to when the next election will be called). And yes, the 4 year term is constitutionally mandated (Article II, Section 1 http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.html)

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