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View Diary: Paved with good intentions: The folly of 'open' electoral primaries (151 comments)

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  •  We got the Open Primary System in Washington (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlochow, roadbear

    because the voters reacted negatively to over-reach by the parties, the GOP and the Dems acting in concert. We do not have registration by party in WA and our primaries for decades allowed voters to pick whichever party ballot they wished. The parties decided they wanted to kill cross-over voting and sued to force voters to pledge to vote for the party in the general if they chose the party's ballot in the primary.  The parties lost in court.  Then they tried to dictate the party choice of candidates, only candidates certified by the parties would get the party designation on the primary ballot, and lost again in court. At that point an initiative was passed for the Open Primary because of voter disgust with parties' attempts to manipulate the established primary system. It was a huge mistake by the voters, but an understandable reaction to a perceived power grab by the parties.  In retrospect the parties ended up in a much worse position than they had before bringing the lawsuits. In addition to all the problems enumerated by the Diarist, the open primary effectively eliminated all third parties from contention in our general elections.

    •  Why do you say the open primary system (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ratcityreprobate

      effectively eliminated third parties?  How did that work?  

      It seems to me intuitively that if anything, open primaries would favor third parties.  

      •  Only the top two advance to the General Election (3+ / 0-)

        whereas before, at least in Seattle, we would see a Socialist Worker candidate, Green Party candidate and an occasional Libertarian in the general. I think small "d" democracy has been diminished when only R's and D's make it to the General. Actually in Seattle, we may never see another R on the ballot in the General for the state legislature or Congress. The General will just be the run-off between two Democrats and in Eastern Washington a run-off between two Republicans.

        •  if you aren't in the top two (0+ / 0-)

          how can you win the election?  If Seattle elections are between a Democrat and a Greenie, and Asotin County elections are between a Republican and a Libertarian, how exactly is that bad for third parties?

          You seem to be entertaining the notion that candidates with no chance of winning have some business being on the ballot.  They don't.

          I want to see Snowden get a fair trial, an impartial jury, and the same sentence James Clapper gets for lying to Congress.

          by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 05:58:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Top Two destroys third parties (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zack from the SFV

        which is why it is being pushed by Republicans in Arizona.
        Top two means there are no third parties on the General election ballot, meaning that voters never hear of reasons to support them.

        Restore the Fourth! Save America!

        by phillies on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:51:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd find that claim more persuasive (2+ / 0-)

          if I thought there were a significant third party to be "destroyed".  But when third-party candidates get only single-digit percentages under the traditional system, I'd say the voters aren't finding reasons to support them, regardless of the voting system.

          For whatever it's worth, in the 2012 WA state legislative elections (98 house seats & 26 senate races), there were 9 third-party or "No party preference" candidates who made it into the Top Two, and thus onto the November ballot.  They included one Green, one Socialist, one "(R) Hope & Change Party", and 6 who called themselves Independent or said "No Party Preference."

          In addition, there was one "Independent-GOP" (who lost), and one "Independent-Dem" (who won).

          In 25 cases, a single major-party candidate ran unopposed, so a third-party candidate could have made it to the November ballot just by filing.  And in 14 races the Top Two candidates were in the same party.

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