‘Money Primary’

For most of 2012, President Obama has been running in the Democratic primary. I know that seems odd, given that he’s essentially running unopposed — though don’t tell that to West Virginia Democrats, who cast nearly half of their votes for Keith Judd, an inmate currently serving time in a Texarkana, Texas, prison. Judd received 41 percent of the vote; in 1968, Eugene McCarthy received 42 percent of the vote in New Hampshire and forced incumbent Lyndon Johnson from the race.

But that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s important to remember that primaries serve other functions than just picking the nominee. Primaries force party bosses, activists, and strategists to test their messaging, update their databases, and, most especially, get the party’s fundraising apparatus going.

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