The Primary Solution

Rescuing our democracy from the fringes
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THe Primary Problem Explained
Illustration of a voting ballot

In a divided America, the biggest solvable problem fueling political extremism and dysfunction is hiding in plain sight: party primaries. The Primary Solution shows how to fix them.

About the Book

Congress has become an unproductive and unaccountable mess. Polls show that only 20 percent of Americans think it’s doing a good job — yet 90 percent of incumbents are reelected. This shocking discrepancy is a natural outcome of our system of party primaries and their polarizing incentives.

Party primaries were invented over a century ago to democratize candidate nominations, but today their exclusionary rules and low turnout guarantee the exact opposite: only a small fraction of voters wind up deciding the vast majority of our elections. The result is a Congress that, rather than representing a majority of Americans, is instead beholden to the fringes of both major parties. This is the “primary problem” in our politics today. Fortunately, the solution is both powerful and practical.

Nick Troiano, founding Executive Director of Unite America, makes a bold proposal to abolish party primaries in our country. Doing so does not require a Constitutional amendment or an act of Congress. In fact, several states have already replaced party primaries with nonpartisan primaries that give all voters the freedom to vote for any candidate in every election, regardless of party.

As America heads into another critical election year, The Primary Solution offers voters across the political spectrum a realistic roadmap to a more representative and functional democracy.

News & Analysis

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The latest The Primary Solution press hits, analysis, explainers, partner storytelling, and more.


What others are saying

See what leading voices from around the reform community are saying about The Primary Solution.

"This book offers thought provoking ideas to terminate polarization and extremism in America. We need more people like Nick Troiano focused on solving the polarization problem in America."

Arnold Schwarzenegger

38th Governor of California

“The Primary Solution is the one book every American should read first this year. Nick Troiano uses stories and anecdotes to make a compelling argument that ‘open primaries’ are the most cost-efficient and most viable of the many possible solutions to our dysfunctional political system. Buy this book, read it, and then immediately give it to a friend!”

Senator John Hickenlooper


"The Primary Solution shows how our political system is designed to empower extremists, how we can fix it, and how the vast majority of Americans stand to gain from more open and democratic elections that lead to more sensible and practical government."

Michael Bloomberg

Founder of Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mayor of New York

"We voters are trapped and disempowered by a party primary system that means that 8% of voters elect 83% of Congress and also deliver 'lesser of two evils' presidential candidates. Adding insult to injury, the party primaries we're trapped by are funded by our own taxpayer dollars. It's time to abolish party primaries and replace them with election models used in Louisiana, California, Washington and Alaska. Troiano makes an urgent and compelling case for why and how. A must read for anyone who wants a sane democracy."

Danielle Allen

professor of political philosophy, ethics, and public policy, Harvard University

"Our election systems are the envy of the world but we cannot take for granted that they will always remain so.  In his book, Nick provides unique insight and thoughtful analysis into national and statewide elections.  So as we face a new and different paradigm this century, we must understand and value what makes our democracy an inspiration for other nations."

Senator Bill Cassidy


"This book offers thought provoking ideas to terminate polarization and extremism in America. We need more people like Nick Troiano focused on solving the polarization problem in America."

Andrew Yang

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About The Author

Nick Troiano is the founding executive director of Unite America, a philanthropic venture fund that invests in nonpartisan election reform to foster a more representative and functional government.

Since 2019, Unite America has invested over $50 million to help win three major statewide ballot initiatives and over a dozen state legislative and municipal policy victories. In 2014, Troiano ran for the US House of Representatives in Pennsylvania’s 10th District and was both the youngest candidate of the cycle and the most competitive independent Congressional candidate nationally in over two decades.

Nick earned both his BA and MA in American government from Georgetown University and, as an undergraduate, cofounded an endowed Social Innovation and Public Service Fund. He regularly provides commentary to a range of media outlets on topics of democracy and politics, and he has been featured in three documentaries: Follow the Leader, Broken Eggs, and Unrepresented. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

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