Calvin Coolidge Says, August 21, 1930

Date: August 21, 1930

Location: Northampton, MA

(Original document available here)

A serious weakness of the direct primary is the cost to the candidate. The picture of an electorate, eager and informed, going to the polls to defeat all that is bad and to elect all that is good has proven an illusion. Human nature, in spite of legislation, is still human nature and functions accordingly. Securing good government by presenting good issues and candidates to the people requires work and money.

At an election this is provided by the party organization. In a primary the candidates must have their personal organization, involving a large expense in a large state.

Oftentimes in politics too much money defeats itself, but not always. Then when the person apparently elected with no violation of any state or national law is presented to take the oath of office, trouble begins. The Federal Constitution specifies the qualifications of officeholders and the method of selection. Yet when all these requirements are met admission to the Senate may be denied.

Large personal expenditures are an evil. Their necessity can be removed by returning to the original method of election. But it is even worse for the Senate to evade or violate the Constitution in an effort to apply “an extra legal remedy.”

Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Greg Harkenrider who prepared this document for digital publication.

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