Candidates, why the rush to drop out?

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Let me start by pointing out the obvious. To be nominated by the Democratic Party for president, you need to get 2,382 delegates. To be nominated by the Republican Party, you need to get 1,237 delegates. This will not change!

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I bring this up because I firmly believe that the nominating process for both parties is fundamentally flawed. Right now, if you lose one caucus or one primary, you are considered by the media as permanently damaged goods. (Anybody but Texas Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump enters new debate frontier Pence offers Cruz 'heartfelt thanks' for Trump endorsement Cruz: Trump hasn't apologized for personal insults MORE, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPost piles on: ‘Beyond debate’ Trump is unfit for office Clinton, Netanyahu have ‘in-depth’ conversation about US-Israeli ties NYT lays out argument against Trump for president MORE, Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonPost piles on: ‘Beyond debate’ Trump is unfit for office Clinton, Netanyahu have ‘in-depth’ conversation about US-Israeli ties NYT lays out argument against Trump for president MORE or Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersClinton, Sanders to campaign together in New Hampshire Sanders discourages third-party votes: 'Not the time for a protest vote' Trump: Sanders supporters 'like Trump on trade, a lot' MORE). Right now, if you exceed expectations (Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenate rivals gear up for debates Rubio: End of Obama's term could be 'most damaging yet' Fifteen years since pivotal executive order, STORM Act could help fight terror finance MORE, Ohio Gov. John Kasich), you are on the rise and a sudden contender. It should not be that way and it doesn't have to be that way.

Let me make once again a college basketball comparison. The college basketball season is a long one. The 351 Division I teams play about 30 regular season games. Then they all (with the exception of the Ivy Leagues) participate in a postseason conference tournament. Then, if they are one of the 68 teams that make the cut into March Madness, they can play up to six more games (seven if they are one of the "play-in" teams).

The national champion who will be crowned in the first week of April will have played more than 40 games. It's not over in an instant. One or two or a whole bunch of bad games won't eliminate you from getting into the coveted tournament. But in this crazed political setup, a few bad losses eliminates you from staying in the game and going to the convention and competing.

I'll be more specific. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent more time in New Hampshire than any of the other Republican candidates. He finished a "distant sixth." He has decided based on that one experience to "take a breath" and suspend his campaign. Whatever I think of Christie and his views, I urge him to stay in there.

The same goes for Kasich, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Rubio; even dreadful Carly Fiorina (who has since also dropped out) and uninformed Ben Carson. They should not allow the media to push them out just because of a few bad showings. If their candidacies have merit and substance, they should have enough confidence to continue and fight on. If they believe in themselves and the issues they are raising, they should seek to get an audience for those views.

The nominating season is not just to achieve instant glory and success, but to educate and inform, convert and convince. I just can't stand the idea that a few early wins by Trump or Cruz finishes off the rest of the field. There are later primaries where some of the candidates can do well and even win, but we and they will never know if they drop out.

As for the Democrats, why can't others drop in? For instance, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWATCH LIVE: Warren campaigns for Clinton in NH Fifteen years since pivotal executive order, STORM Act could help fight terror finance Wells Fargo scandal should be major campaign issue MORE of Massachusetts, Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownLawmakers play catch-up as smartphone banking surges Overnight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas House votes to eliminate Olympic medal tax MORE of Ohio, Sen. Tim KaineTim KaineKaine predicts race will be 'close right up to the end' Kaine participates in Native American powwow Sunday shows preview: Both sides gear up for debate MORE of Virginia or Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharOvernight Defense: US attempted hostage rescue in Afghanistan | Defense hawks brace for spending fight | Trump slams 'lies' about Iraq war stance Senators want military separation policy to address trauma-related behavior Senate Dems reignite fight for hearing on SCOTUS nominee MORE of Minnesota. Both conventions are in July. There's plenty of time for them to mount a campaign and make their case and let the delegates look them over and make a reasoned judgment. What's the hurry? We are nominating someone to be president.

Call me naive, unsophisticated, unrealistic. I would love to see an open convention where men and women of independent minds and hearts examine the candidates and their views and then make a sound decision. It doesn't have to be on the first ballot, either. The general election follows in November. Why does everything have to be settled so fast? Life doesn't work that way. Why does picking a president have to be any different?

This whole process is not supposed to be just for the convenience and benefit of the candidates, the Republicans and the Democrats, and the networks. No, it's supposed to be for the people of America. Let's for once try it another way. It very well might produce far better candidates and, in the end, a better president.

Plotkin is a political analyst, a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner.