“The current system may seem as if it’s simply an expression of democracy, but it’s not. It’s one version of democracy. And it’s one that virtually no other country uses. In other democracies, political parties have more sway in selecting the nominee, and voters then choose among the major nominees. Until recently, the United States also gave party leaders a larger role in selecting nominees.
Today’s leaders have abdicated this job, afraid to do anything that might appear elitist because it substitutes the judgment of experts for that of ordinary citizens. The irony is that the new process may actually do a poorer job of picking nominees whom ordinary citizens like, as research by Dennis Spies and André Kaiser, looking across countries, suggests.
How could this be? When voters are given the dominant role in choosing a nominee — as with primaries here — only an unrepresentative subset tends to participate, which skews the process. Party leaders, on the other hand, have a big incentive to choose a broadly liked candidate. Just think about American history: Nominees chosen by party leaders have included Abraham Lincoln, both Roosevelts and Dwight Eisenhower.”