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Frenzy
05-29-2010, 06:39 PM
Proposition 14 (http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Proposition_14,_Top_Two_Primaries_Act_% 28June_2010%29) in the upcoming California election would amend the state's constitution (which is written in pencil, but that's another rant) to create open primaries. In a nutshell, the top two vote-getters in the primary, no matter what party they're from, will face each other in a run-off for the position.

The theory is two-fold: the candidates will have to be more moderate to appeal to a broader swath of the electorate, and it weakens the strangle-hold the 2 main political parties have on the government.

CA's government is pretty screwed up, especially the legislature. But i'm not convinced either of these two goals will happen. Mostly because the parties will likely control who gets to run in the primaries, to limit having to pay for two candidates running against each other in the main election. Also, even though CA is considered a blue state, the democratic voter base in the state is lazy. Yes the democrats have maintained a majority in the state senate & assembly, but they've only managed to elect 2 governors in the last 43 years. There are huge swaths of CA that are staunchly conservative, and the population centers of LA & San Diego are moderate, not liberal. It's only the SF Bay Area that's overwhelming liberal.

From what i've read, they do this in Washington and Louisiana. Louisiana isn't exactly the paragon of political innovation (the legal kind, anyway), and Washington hasn't seen a big shift in party representation since opening up the primaries. So it may be a net zero effect.

Though if it ends the bullshit gerrymandering, i'd vote yes for it in a heartbeat.

Thoughts?

Hopper
05-29-2010, 06:51 PM
My parents and my brother live in Washington, both in the Seattle area (Seattle and Kirkland). From what I've been told, you only need to campaign in the shadow of the Space Needle (what you can see from the top) to be elected.

Neilbert
05-29-2010, 07:05 PM
I'm from Washington and that's more or less true.

Of course you can't really talk about disproportionate representation without bringing up the Senate. It takes something ridiculous like 12% of the populations votes to effectively stall any legislation.

Sei'taer
05-29-2010, 07:54 PM
It sounds silly to me...but it is CA.

JSUCamel
05-29-2010, 08:01 PM
Though if it ends the bullshit gerrymandering, i'd vote yes for it in a heartbeat.

Thoughts?

Well, here's my question: is this worse than the status quo? Obviously the status quo isn't working -- I think we can all agree on that.

Hopper
05-29-2010, 10:28 PM
Destroying the status quo because the status is not quo.

Weird Harold
05-29-2010, 11:57 PM
The theory is two-fold: the candidates will have to be more moderate to appeal to a broader swath of the electorate, and it weakens the strangle-hold the 2 main political parties have on the government.

As a registered independant voter, I'd love it if Nevada would go to an open primary system because I effectively have no vote in primary elections to decide who will run for the substantive offices in the general election.

The upcoming election here has some forty races being contested; as an independant, less than four of them (non-partisan circuit court judges) are on MY ballot.

Sinistrum
05-30-2010, 11:06 AM
I can see both the upside and down side. I would love it if the radicals on either side lost control of the primaries. However, I could easily see a scenario where one or both parties attempt to actively sabotage the other's nomination process by trying to get nominated a candidate they know will not have a strong turn out in a general election.

Weird Harold
05-31-2010, 01:01 AM
However, I could easily see a scenario where one or both parties attempt to actively sabotage the other's nomination process by trying to get nominated a candidate they know will not have a strong turn out in a general election.

Tough choice there for party-line voters; vote for a loser on the other side, or vote for the annointed candidate on your side. I think they have to go for the Annointed One to prevent independents like me from boosting a moderate dark horse to the top of their party ticket.

Also, there is no guarantee that without every vote the party can muster their top candidate is going to be in the top two for the general election.

A downside that I see is that independents and third party candidates, who would not normally run in a party-primary, are going to be squeezed out of contention by the necessity of finishing in the top two or three of an open primary.

Another downside is the increased expense of campaigning; open primaries pretty much require all candidates to run in the primary instead of being nominated directly to the general election by "third-partie" that don't need a primary to select their candidate.

Bryan Blaire
05-31-2010, 07:07 PM
So, in effect, there is an election to see who's in the election?

I've never liked the primary system anyway, so I'd be down with it. Doubt it would affect TOO much anyway, there would have to be a LOT more work than that to break the hold the parties have on the political system.

Weird Harold
06-01-2010, 04:11 AM
So, in effect, there is an election to see who's in the election?

Yeah, kind of like group round-robins at the World Cup to thin out the field for the quarter-final and semi-final rounds leading up to the championship game.

What I don't like about closed primaries is the use of tax dollars to organize and manage what is a party function/responsibility -- let the parties winnow out their candidates at their own expense.

GonzoTheGreat
06-01-2010, 04:15 AM
Why have tax funded primaries at all?
Don't let the government interfere in any way in the selection of candidates. Just let every party do that on its own. Let the party members decide how they want to decide who to nominate on their behalf.

Of course, that attitude, if taken to extremes, can lead to some pretty wacky results. For instance, we have a Party For Freedom with one single party member, who thus decides on all the candidates his party puts forward for election. Which means he can't have all that many candidates, as he wouldn't be able to vet them properly so as not to get any embarrassing results.

Weird Harold
06-01-2010, 05:02 AM
Why have tax funded primaries at all?

For the four or five non-partisan races on my ballot; some of them sometimes have as many as twelve to fifteen candidates and need to be trimmed down to a reasonable chance for a majority at the general election.

In Nevada, winning only by a plurality means a run-off election is required. Special run-off elections cost more than regularly scheduled elections.

It is always possible to win an outright majority for a non-partisan race in a primary and save the cost of a general election campaign. A lot of minor local offices/issues are decided that way.