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Golden Gate Bridge—San Francisco, CA (Photo by elfling)
Last Sunday, in advance of the June 6th primary elections, I posed three questions about Tuesday's California primaries.

The genesis of the piece was born in the new "top two" primary elections format that made its debut five days ago in the Golden State, which had aroused a fair amount of attention and scrutiny in the political arena in the run-up to the actual balloting.

Now that we have some actual data to deal with, what do we know now about the process? The elections created intrigue, to be sure, but also had some glaring flaws which were quickly exposed on Tuesday night.

Before we get to that glaring (but not totally unforeseen) circumstance, let's recap those three questions posed last week, and take a minute to analyze those questions. But first, a caveat—in a state as big as California, there are still loads of ballots to count, and some of the things that are being described here as foregone conclusions just might not be, when all is said and done.

Now, about those questions:

1. Will the new system embolden independent candidates, or kill them off?

The answer: By and large, kill them off.

Before this "top two" system was put in place, third-party candidates could participate in the general election, and could play a pivotal role in the outcome of the November elections, especially in races or districts that are closely contested.

Now, the only way for a third-party or independent candidate to be relevant is to crack that top two. Currently, four golden tickets to November were punched by a candidate who was neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Three candidates aren't even worth mentioning, because they are running in uber-blue or uber-red districts. Those are the kind of districts where the incumbents are often unopposed, anyway.

Only one candidate has the capacity to make things even marginally interesting. That candidate is little-known, but very well-heeled, independent candidate Bill Bloomfield in CA-33. Bloomfield is the wealthy owner of a real estate firm who dumped over $1.1 million in self contributions to his campaign, and earned 26 percent of the vote on primary day. He had several things working in his favor, however, that were somewhat unique to his case. For one, the aforementioned seven-figure bit of personal assistance is not something that many candidates are going to be able to swing. Another key factor: The blue-tinted district had a Republican Some Dude, which allowed Bloomfield to play up his fiscally conservative street cred to pick off Republicans that never heard from their party's lone candidate in the field, in addition to swing voters who might've been attracted to Bloomfield's "throw out the bums" message. Don't get me wrong, he'll be lucky to crack 40 percent in a district which has a distinct blue tint. But his money makes him at least worth watching.

However, three higher-profile (but lesser-funded) indie candidates failed to crack the top two. In two of those cases, Congressional candidates Chad Condit (CA-10) and Linda Parks (CA-26) had the advantage of some name recognition, but failed to crack the 20 percent barrier. The third indie, Nathan Fletcher (San Diego Mayor), was a former GOP state legislator whose candidacy was hyped to the moon and back. In the end, enough Democrats stuck with Rep. Bob Filner, and enough Republicans stuck with Carl DeMaio,  to relegate Fletcher to third-place status, albeit with 24 percent of the vote.

However, in fairness, that doesn't render those candidates powerless. Whether via official endorsement or not, the candidates that survived Tuesday will have to romance Fletcher, Parks, or Condit supporters, in particular the Democratic candidates, all of whom came in second place in round one.

2. Will June be a predictor for November in key races?

I won't belabor this point, because I already did it earlier this week in response to a piece by WaPo's Aaron Blake.

The short answer is: Almost certainly not. Turnout was pretty darned weak (it currently sits at 24 percent of registered voters, whereas turnout in 2010 was 33 percent, and turnout in 2008 was 28 percent. Furthermore, it was a skewed sample—51 percent of voters drew a Democratic presidential primary ballot (the only contest which, by rule, had to be restricted to one-party primary rules). 47 percent cast ballots in the GOP primary. Absolutely no one, in either party, thinks that will be the composition of the electorate in November.

3. Will this new system inadvertently screw Democrats?

Heh. This is where that big, but not totally unforeseen, flaw in this system comes to the fore. However, when I posed this question last Sunday, I looked at this purely from a campaign finance perspective.

That will be a consideration, still. Democrats are going heads-up in a handful of districts, though only a few of those (CA-15, CA-30 and CA-44) are liable to be big money affairs.

Republicans, meanwhile, look like they will have two such contests. One was foreseen, to an extent: the high desert district in CA-08. In a wild, almost absurd multi candidate field, Republicans went 1-2-3. However, the gap between Republican frontrunner Paul Cook and fourth place Democrat Jackie Conaway was less than 1000 votes.

The second contest was, in its own way, more absurd than the first. In the newly drawn and marginally Democratic 31st district, Republicans accounted for 52 percent of the vote and Democrats accounted for 48 percent. And yet, there will in all probability be two Republicans on the ballot in November.

How did such a catastrophe occur? Because there were only two Republicans on the ballot (incumbent Rep. Gary Miller and state legislator Bob Dutton), and a quartet of Democrats. Because there was little real estate between the two Republicans, they scored at 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Even though Democrat Pete Aguilar actually got about half of the Democratic vote, the three remaining Democrats in the mix claimed the rest. This left Aguilar at 23 percent, and out of the running.

And herein lies an institutional problem with the "top two" structure, one which might actually counteract one of the stated goals of the new system. If one of the rationales for this system was to weaken the influence of political parties, it may have failed miserably. Because one has to assume now that parties in 2014 will be working double time to clear the decks for their preferred candidates in the filing process. Whether it is indirect "take one for the team pressure," or a raft of party assistance being dropped in the laps of the favored horses in the field, one has to guess that the sting of losing a winnable district will compel the Democrats (and the GOP, if they were paying close attention) to interfere more in the primary process, not less.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, might be done to rectify this particular malady. The nightmare scenario of both parties running "fake" candidates of the opposite party, in an effort to enlard the ballot and split votes, seems to demand some kind of a fix. That fix could still work within the confines of the "open" primary structure—it could simply be the top two candidates, but moving on to the third candidate in the queue if the top two came from the same party, for example. Whether it will happen or not is an open question, but you can bet after the debacle in the 31st, people in party headquarters are going to be talking about it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Another Republican initiative (22+ / 0-)

    Let's remember the fact that every single alteration in how we vote in district elections in California was begun by the Republicans as a way to halt Democratic domination of the state legislature. Term limits, the "open" primary that was declared unconstitutional, the independent redistricting commission (that one sort of backfired), and this. All Republican initiatives hiding behind I don't even remember how they sold it to elect fewer Democrats. It worked to perfection in CA-31. So what if it didn't work anywhere else.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:10:52 PM PDT

    •  Yes Prop.14 the "top two" election rule was.. (2+ / 0-)

      ..republicans, insurance companies, and "centrists" - Prop. 14
      ...........................................
      top two candidates open

      Under the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, all candidates running in a primary election, regardless of their party preference, will appear on a single primary election ballot and voters can vote for any candidate. The top two overall vote-getters – not the top vote-getter from each qualified political party – will move on to the general election. Additionally, candidates are no longer allowed to run as “independents” or “write-ins” at the general election.
      This stinks. bluedogs and teabaggers united
    •  to expand on Dave's point (6+ / 0-)

         There was nothing inadvertent about the goal of the GOP backers of top two. While partially it was about making it easier for fake "moderate Republicans" like Ahhnold and Abel Malo to get into general elections, it was also set up to make it harder for Democrats, especially progressive Democrats to get elected.

         Top two increases the power of money in politics by making the campaigns last longer even in safe Democratic or GOP districts. In my districts both the U.S. House and CA Assembly races would be over under the old system; Brad Sherman would be the nominee for Congress and Adrin Nazarian would be the next Assemblymember from the east SFV  (AD-46) because both are safe Dem districts.

          Instead we will see millions of dollars more spent on the Congressman-Schmongressman race that could otherwise be used to fight against GOP candidates in other districts. The Assembly race is even wilder; it is one of a dozen or so races around the state where the outcome is not yet clear. As of the end of last week there is a two vote difference between the second and third place finishers. Not 2,000, not 200, only 2 votes are the difference between a quiet race in November (if the GOP guy who is currently leading stays ahead) and a sequel of the multimillion dollar primary fight that was waged by the charter schools candidate Brian Johnson. The only good that would come out of Johnson making the runoff is a further reduction of the US Postal Service deficit. There was an insane amount of mail sent out on the Assembly race, as well as the CA-30 House race.

           The one inadvertent effect of the top two is the increase in the numbers of close races we have. The neighboring "Fightin' Fiftieth" AD-50 has four candidates all clustered between 24% and 26%.  It's crazy...

      Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, age 53, new CA-30

      by Zack from the SFV on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 07:03:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How can it be a Republican initiative? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify

      It was first passed by a Democratic legislature as a proposed amendment to the California constitution.  The referendum that resulted was passed by an overwhelmingly Democratic electorate.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:27:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  read Zach's post above (5+ / 0-)

        Republican Abel Maldonado traded his budget vote for it

        “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.”- President Eisenhower

        by lordpet8 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:42:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's time to move to "automatic runoff" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          South Park Democrat

          The Dems stepped in it, but it's partly their choice. They join the Republicans in fearing the advent of the automatic runoff, which is the only sensible alternative, and one that would truly allow independents a chance. Yes, it's more work for the electorate, but since when was it acceptable to "dumb down" democracy?

          How does it work? If there's five candidates running for your party in the primary, you grade them from one to five. The winner advances to the main event, and once again you rank them by preference.

      •  The polite word is "blackmail". (0+ / 0-)

        Have you noticed?
        Politicians who promise LESS government
        only deliver BAD government.

        by jjohnjj on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:43:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Turnout was 24%??? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, trumpeter

      That's pathetic!

  •  U.S. Congress District 12 particularly sad (8+ / 0-)

    Pelosi wins a cakewalk and the Republican places 2nd. Given the politics of SF it seems like the Green Party candidate Hermanson is more representative. But in primaries the right wingers always turn out in disproportionate numbers. Worse, a bunch of left wingers endorsed the Republican John Dennis (who is a wackjob "libertarian" on most issues -- abolish departments of Education, Commerce, Agriculture; cancel all stimulus, etc)

  •  I'm somewhat skeptical that... (10+ / 0-)

    the kind of name recognition Chad Condit had could be considered beneficial.

    ;-)

    •  it is locally, just not nationally n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trix, Eric Nelson, trumpeter
    •  Well now that Ingmar Guandique is in prison (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trix, Eric Nelson

      The Condit name has rebounded.  Even back in 2002, Gary Condit was defeated for reelection but not by that much.  He still had quite the base of support.  I actually thought that if Chad Condit had made it into the runoff, he might have been able to run a legitimate contest against Jeff Denham.  John Hernandez, the Democrat and Astronaut, may be able to anyway as Denham was under 50% even with very beneficial Republican turnout.  

      Check out my new blog: http://socalliberal.wordpress.com/

      by SoCalLiberal on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:31:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Talk about a solution in search of a problem. (14+ / 0-)

    Voting worked just fine before we screwed it all up, but I think Californians are so tired of their permanently sclerotic legislature (made worse by the two-thirds requirement for taxes and, at the time, two-thirds for budget too) that they would have voted to move the capital to one of Saturn's moons if that were to qualify for the ballot.

    In reality, the way to fix the state legislature is to reform the Constitution such that Republican votes are no longer worth twice as much as Democratic votes.  But in a state where state and local "centrism" is practically a recognized religion, repealing two-thirds budget was a miracle - I don't see how we get rid of two-thirds vote for taxes in the near future, but it needs to be the end goal for the party.  All roads lead back to this issue.

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:18:24 PM PDT

    •  The "top two" system was s'posed to encourage (5+ / 0-)

      centrist candidacies, the theory being that closed primaries favored the extreme, more partisan wings in low-turnout primaries, and that this open vote system will force candidates to a moderate, cross-over center.

      Fat chance, when only 24% of registered voters show up to vote.

      ps: I don't see many practitioners of "State and local Centrism" religion where I live, here in Southern California.  Maybe it exists in Shasta, up north, but I'm not gonna bet on that.

      •  Moreso by the talking heads. (4+ / 0-)

        The LA Times heavily promotes it and politicians don't want to be seen as being anti-centrist because of the big names who try to push it.

        But I agree, "centrism" is just a mathematic accident of which voters show up, and that 24% is scandalous.

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:40:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, that was the lie, not the reality nor (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trumpeter, auron renouille

        the goal.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:50:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It looks like the University of California (6+ / 0-)

    ...researchers in this study got snowed.

    University of California: Open primary ballot boosts moderate candidates
    June 5, 2012

    BERKELEY — The new "top two" ballot used in California's primary election today (June 5) appears to give moderate candidates in state races a 6 to 7 percent boost compared to the traditional, more restricted ballot, according to preliminary results of a new study by the University of California, Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS).

    "It looks like voters want to vote for more moderate candidates and will do so if the ballot provides the opportunity," said Gabriel Lenz, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of political science who led the survey for IGS.

    Although more analysis and study is needed, Lenz said, still more states may adopt similar ballots if the study results hold up.

    That certainly didn't work in CD 31.  As for whether more states will adopt this method, I now have my doubts.  If I were a member of one of the minor parties, I think I'd do everything possible to resist it after seeing these results.

    "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

    by Neon Vincent on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:20:40 PM PDT

  •  Repubs are disciplined. Dems are not. Oh, woe. (3+ / 0-)

    Singiser's observation that, "parties in 2014 will be working double time to clear the decks for their preferred candidates in the filing process" before the primary will undoubtedly work for the Republicans.  Democrats?  Not so much.

    I'm betting that Democrats will be diluting our vote between a cornucopia of Party hopefuls and losing "top two" slots to better disciplined Republicans regularly going forward.

    C'mon:  We're notorious for our lack of candidate discipline, bickering, and faction.  I'd like to see a break-out on how many R's vs. D's registered as a candidate for State Assembly and Senate seats in this first-run test of party unity. That may be enlightening as to what's in store for us, coming up.

    One thing I hope it DOES DO is make local Party clubs' endorsements and State convention decisions more formative of the process.  After all, in the face of our Teahadist, Citizens United-enriched opposition, our unity is not only our BEST defense, it's our only defense.

  •  The first point seems stretched... (6+ / 0-)
    Before this "top two" system was put in place, third-party candidates could participate in the general election, and could play a pivotal role in the outcome of the November elections, especially in races or districts that are closely contested.
    I'm sorry, but that statement is misleading as hell.  Yeah, before minor candidates could play a role in the process, but only as spoilers.  That is, a libertarian candidate could cause the Republican to lose, and a Green candidate could cause the Democrat to lose.  

    The minor candidate would only serve a counterproductive influence on the election by sabotaging the candidate with views closest to their own, much like Nader did to Gore back in 2000.  That sort of "influence" is not worth preserving.  

    In no case would the minor party candidate have any chance of winning before, so it's not like anything has been lost.  

    As far as the rest of the top two primary, the problem is it shouldn't be a primary.  We should have stuck with the old primary structure and then had this top two system in the general election for any candidate who didn't reach 50%.  Of course, IRV would be better, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.  

    •  IRV has at least one flaw (0+ / 0-)

      I suspect that in a large field, it will create similar problems as CD31 because voters won't rank all the candidates.  Many will only list their first choice.  Some on the center-left will rank the known conservative and leave off unknowns who are close to their personal views.  (Something like this actually happened in a Wisconsin gubernatorial election that allowed voters to list a second choice, because the progressive vote was split between two candidates but a non-progressive won because not enough progressive voters listed a second choice.)  In a closely divided electorate, IRV will probably favor the side is more compact and doesn't split its vote initially between more candidates.

      That is why my modified IRV idea would be to use IRV to determine the top two in a primary who would face each other in a head-to-head general election that would confer legitimacy by forcing the winner to have a majority of votes.

    •  IRV is an anti-democratic, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalLiberal

      anti-majoritarian fraud.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:53:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  how so? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 07:12:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can either read (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SoCalLiberal

          this thread skip to the end, but you might as well read it all so you and I don't wind up repeating it, since a lot of the pro rankest-choice rhetorec seems to be boilerplate.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:43:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not anti-democratic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            South Park Democrat

            I read what you wrote there, and simply because people can't change their second, third, etc. choices after the fact does not make it anti-democratic. It's different in that people have to think ahead on their subsequent choices, but they still get to make those choices, which means it is democratic.

            Daves Redistricting: 50 states + DC & PR w/ 2010 data. 42 states + DC w/ election data.

            by dgb on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:14:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Misread it, you mean. Only some have (0+ / 0-)

              their second votes counted, which is anti-democratic, and violates one-person-one vote.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 08:00:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Ok, thanks. I see your point. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            Not sure I agree, but I understand your argument.

            "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:45:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  In the example you provide of towns A and B, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            South Park Democrat

            you have the Green party supporters using the same political calculations regardless of which voting system is used. If the voters understand how the system works, I don't see any reason why supporters of the Green agenda would vote Democratic as their first choice, and not their second. The "propaganda" about wasting their vote only applies under the system of town A. In town B, if they vote Green first and Democratic second, then the Green party would get 60% and there would be no runoff.

            The question is, how does it work in reality? There are several places that use IRV or a similar system. Maybe someone can analyze the results of these elections rather than dealing with only hypotheticals.

            "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:58:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The "wasted Vote" argument isn't really (0+ / 0-)

              purely that one's vote is wasted, but that the GOP will win IF one wastes one's vote on a third party. Thus, in both towns A and B, there is a threat of a GOP win on the first round and hence a need to vote anti-GOP, which means vote Dem.

              In town A, there is a real runoff, so everybody votes in the runoff, and since there is no longer any GOP candidate, the Greens can vote their real choice.

              Under IRV, in town B, only the GOP voters have their second choice votes counted. Nobody else's second choice counts, those votes are thrown away, whcih is why it is anti-democratic.

              In the bad old days, in the south, certain votes, when successfully cast, were simply discarded, the ballots were destroyed. That is the effect that IRV has.

              You ask for examples - Quon, Mayor of Oakland. Both her supporters as well as supporters of IRV bragged that her election was solely due to IRV, and that in a traditional election with a real runoff, whe would've lost. They saw this as a great victory, even though it is an admission that she wouldn't have been able to win majority support in a real election.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:48:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Can states really have this much control (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, dgb

    Over the primary process?

    Primaries are how political parties choose their candidates.  

    political parties could flip a coin if they wanted to

    •  I think that was true in the 1800s (3+ / 0-)

      but then the parties were so corrupt that the people got the state to step in.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:35:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Register by party (0+ / 0-)

      In a lot of states (most? not sure), people register to vote as a member of the party. The parties like that because they don't get crossovers. In WA voters don't register by party, which was the start of how we ended up with Top Two.

      Daves Redistricting: 50 states + DC & PR w/ 2010 data. 42 states + DC w/ election data.

      by dgb on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:10:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As I understand it, it isn't really (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chipoliwog, Samulayo, Simplify

      a "primary process." It's a two-round general election with no primaries.

      The state has no authority to mandate how the Democrats or Greens decide to publicly endorse. But the state has no obligation to give that endorsee a special place on the ballot.

    •  Who's stopping them? (0+ / 0-)

      they could have chosen whoever they wanted.

      all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

      by happymisanthropy on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:13:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The big parties litigated (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dgb, Sharon Wraight, Simplify

      like hell to overturn the "top two" primary in Washington State. So far the courts are letting the states decide. But the parties still have writs' of certiorari pending before the SCOTUS (for the second time...)

      The case against the top two primary has been winding its way through the courts for years. Both the U.S. District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have rejected arguments by the Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians that the top-two primary violates their constitutional rights.

      The top-two primary easily survived an earlier challenge at the Supreme Court, which ruled that it was constitutional on a 7-2 vote but left open the possibility of a later challenge.

      In a statement, secretary of state Sam Reed said, “Our system, which is a model for other states, really honors the way Washingtonians want to vote — for the person, not the party label. It really fits our populist, independent streak and allows people to split their ticket, rather than be confined to one party’s candidates.”

      http://publicola.com/...

      Link to history/files of WA top-two litigation.
      http://www.sos.wa.gov/...

    •  ballot access (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, AmericanAnt

      Where is it written that political parties are the ones to send candidates to the general election?  Who has access to the ballot?

      Is it written in the Constitution?  The Bible?  The Koran?  Where?

      This open primary law says that it is not the political parties that have access to the general election but candidates who are one of the top two vote-getters in the primary election.

      This is how we elect members of the Board of Supervisors and there is no reason to believe that, over time, it won't work out just fine for all elections.  

      Do another post-mortem after 10 years.  Right now there is too little data to make conclusions.

    •  Party leaders chose nominees in CA until 1903 (0+ / 0-)

      ... but those "party leaders" were railroad bosses and banking trust operators. The Primary Election was instituted during the Reform Era to ensure that nominees would be chosen by each party's voters - not the bosses.

      The conduct of Primary Elections and the authority of county-level party Central Committees is regulated by CA state election law. Some states use other methods, like caucuses.

      Have you noticed?
      Politicians who promise LESS government
      only deliver BAD government.

      by jjohnjj on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:56:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It sometimes helps independent candidates (0+ / 0-)

    In certain, rare scenarios.  An independent has a greater chance of being relevant in a district where both Democrats and Republicans have multiple candidates.  It might actually be worth it for independent parties to run fake candidates in the major parties if it can create the sort of chaos where you don't need 20% to qualify in the top two.

  •  The logic that sold me (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Asak, v2aggie2, Zornorph, lordpet8

    was that with redistricting and a top two ballot, the extremists would be forced out.

    Previously, the districts were all gerrymandered for party control, which meant the extremists win in the primaries, and moderates of that party stayed loyal. So it rewarded extremism.

    The result was legislative gridlock. California requires a 2/3 majority for any tax increase, and it just wasn't gonna happen even after we fell off the cliff and have had tens of billions of budget shortfalls annually.

    Our legislative process was the prototype for filibusters and parliamentary tactics at the national level. (California needs about 3 Republicans to jump ship for any tax increase). And our tax code needs revision badly. It just can't happen under the current government structure.

    This is just the first experiment under the new system. It will take a few cycles for our State reps and senators to be termed out (name recognition gone then) and hopefully more moderates to come in (and by moderates I mean democrats) as every district becomes a swing district.

    I am cautiously optimistic, but if it means we can break the deadlock, we might get something done. What I would hate to see are concern trolls (not pointing fingers at anyone) screaming that it didn't go 100% the way we would all like it to be after just one election cycle.

    I think the Republicans went along with it, because in their blindness (being in hardcore republican districts) they felt they would win by the benefit of their ideology, not realizing that not everyone in the State thinks the same way as them.

    For years, Republicans have stated that Government is incompetent. Now they are in charge, and proving it.

    by B Rubble on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:34:35 PM PDT

    •  I agree... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      B Rubble, v2aggie2, lordpet8

      The new system is far from perfect, but it's not like the previous system was working.  

      •  Now I know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Asak

        How the person who spoke before Lincoln's Gettysburg Address felt.
        If I recall, he said that the President said in two minutes what he himself spent two hours trying to say.

        Well said.

        For years, Republicans have stated that Government is incompetent. Now they are in charge, and proving it.

        by B Rubble on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:42:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't that window dressing? (4+ / 0-)

      The only way to get majority tax is to get those Republicans out of of the State Senate.  Doesn't matter if those three are of the Lincoln Chafee or James Inhofe variety, they all vote as a mindless bloc against majority tax.  There's a forest/trees issue there.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:44:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How Does this Prevent Extremists (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davethefave, lordpet8

      Primaries are very low turnout which means a motivated minority of voters can pick the candidate of their choice. If most of the Republicans vote for Crazy Candidate and the sane voters split their votes among the various other choices, then Crazy Candidate is going to make it to the ballot.

      This new system is much worse. It guarantees that the incumbent will always win (bar being arrested)  I looked at all of those names on the ballot and I had no choice but to vote for the Democrat most likely to win. There is zero chance I am going to vote for a third Party candidate or a Democratic Party challenger and risk splitting the Democratic vote and open the possibility that a Democrat doesn't even make it to the ballot.

      All this new process does is eliminate participation by shutting most of the candidates out the general election when far more people will be voting.

    •  Republicans didn't go along with it, they (0+ / 0-)

      thought it up and sold it.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:55:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What's so bad about "extreme" left? (0+ / 0-)

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:15:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  money could play a role (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo

    I'm guessing that if an outfit threw a lot of money behind a candidate, they could essentially buy second place in this kind of primary, especially if one of the parties has multiple candidates dividing the vote between them.

    Say one party has a single candidate getting a plurality of votes but not a majority. And the opposing party has multiple candidates, none of whom command a plurality of the vote. A well funded candidate, perhaps in league with the first party, could buy enough publicity to win second place. Then that second place candidate could sit back and let the first party candidate win the general election with almost no opposition.

    Join the 48ForEastAfrica Blogathon for the famine in east Africa: Donate to Oxfam America

    by JayC on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:35:50 PM PDT

  •  Inadvertently? (5+ / 0-)

    Republican state legislator Abel Maldonado got top two as his price for voting for the budget, in the Ahnuld days when that took 2/3.

    Also, the cross-registering thing was a problem up to the 1950s, when candidates could run in both primaries. We have been here before, unfortunately.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:39:24 PM PDT

    •  Ha! That Had a Specific... (0+ / 0-)

      point, though it grew into a larger point. In the original piece last Sunday, I was referring to the unintended consequence of having the top two be from the same party, creating expensive repeats of primary races (Berman-Sherman, in particular).

      Though, yeah...now that we have seen it in action, you could take it a number of ways.

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:54:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That may well have been intended (0+ / 0-)

        with the idea that the moderate candidate would be backed by voters of the other party.

        Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, remorseless supporter of Walker's recall. Pocan for Congress and Baldwin for Senate!

        by fearlessfred14 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 07:56:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, it was intended (0+ / 0-)

          by Maldonado personally.

          U.S. Congress District 24 - Districtwide Results
          as of June 8, 2012, 5:53 p.m.

          Lois Capps        (Party Preference: Dem)    70,044    46.1%
          Abel Maldonado    (Party Preference: Rep)    45,323    29.9%
          Chris Mitchum    (Party Preference: Rep)    32,708    21.5%
          Matt Boutté    (Party Preference: NPP)    3,711    2.4%

          Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

          by Simplify on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:17:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually a slight surprise to me (0+ / 0-)

            I thought it was intended to prevent the John Birch wing of the CA GOP from purging less extreme members in red districts, but I guess this makes sense too.

            Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, remorseless supporter of Walker's recall. Pocan for Congress and Baldwin for Senate!

            by fearlessfred14 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:35:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  A same-party contest in November (0+ / 0-)

        is not the problem. I'd willingly entertain the idea that all of the electorate gets a say in the best choice of candidate.

        The problem is that it wrecks the process of choosing by party, while it still leaves the spoiler problem in place.

        The speculation is that now you'll see parties try to "clear the decks" to get to a single candidate per party by means other than a publicly run primary election. It's turning back the clock to the 1800s.

        Parties should choose candidates. Otherwise, they're not parties. Candidates can still run independently if they so choose.

        That, and ranked-choice voting.

        On paper ballots. Hand-counted. In public.

        We can do it. Democracy is worth it.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:23:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mixed bag (3+ / 0-)

    We've had the Top Two here in Washington State for a couple of cycles. From my perspective it's a mixed bag.

    The reason we ended up with it is because no one registers by party. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but it was a twisted path. A law was passed (by initiative, perhaps...there were a couple and I can't remember which was passed which way) so that on primary day each person could select a Dem or Rep ballot, but you couldn't mix and match. I believe that was struck down by the court. In any case, a Top Two was passed and that's now what we have.

    The one thing I do like about Top Two is not having spoilers in November. Florida 2000 still hurts. 52,000 people voted for Ralph Nader. Ouch. Yes, it can work both ways. Many think Maria Cantwell would have lost to Slade Gorton that same year had it not been for a spoiler. Nevertheless, people getting elected with less than 50% just bothers me.

    But, the situation you point out CA-31 does suck and you are correct that parties will adapt to the Two Two to their advantage.

    There is a solution, which has been adopted elsewhere in the world (Australia) and (I think) some cities in the US, which is Ranked Choice Voting. A Ranked Choice Top Two would have solved this. Of course, Ranked Choice is mostly discussed as being the final (not primary) and it works there, too, to avoid spoiling. But of course, that has the the money problem you point out -- multiple candidates from 1 party dilute the money needed to fight the other party.

    As far as third parties go, Top Two is not really any help and, as you point out, the CA test didn't refute that. Some kind of Proportional Voting is really the only way to open up the system to third parties.

    Daves Redistricting: 50 states + DC & PR w/ 2010 data. 42 states + DC w/ election data.

    by dgb on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:02:43 PM PDT

    •  Bringing up the San Diego mayoral race (4+ / 0-)

      doesn't seem all that relevant to the discussion of the open primary, since it wasn't affected by that. The race is technically non-partisan, and if no candidate breaks 50%, it goers to a runoff, which it did before the open primary as well.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:12:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  sorry, previous comment was meant to be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dgb

      a comment to the main post, not a response to your comment.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:24:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or the other candidates could cede their votes to (0+ / 0-)

      one of the other candidates to reverse what could be a spoiler. It allows other candidates to run on issues as a form of straw-poll and then let a more popular person win who is closer to their preference than another popular vote-getter. Of course, that might be prone to abuse and corruption, unless the position has the authority to make appointments, in which case it could resemble parliamentary coalition cabinets.

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:35:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  3 cheers for Ranked/Alternative/Instant Runoff (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dgb

      If not proportional representation, then a ranked list (aka Alternative Voting or Instant Runoff Voting) is the way to go.

      The "top two" system is nuts, for the reasons Steve points out. (In WA, Dems are lucky that a 2nd serious Republican contender hasn't joined John Koster, or they could lose the top two, against the field of five Democrats.)

      If you were running for an important competitive seat, why wouldn't you ask a friend of yours to run as a Republican 'against' you, to split their vote, if you can get away with it? (And vice versa.)

      The nightmare scenario of both parties running "fake" candidates of the opposite party, in an effort to enlard the ballot and split votes, seems to demand some kind of a fix.
  •  Got a call that was just short of a push poll (4+ / 0-)

    The number was (202) 599-9102.

    They asked me what me who I supported in November. But after that they asked a bunch of very loaded questions. Many of them were like this. "Because Obama supported gay marriage, lesbian marriage, and transgender marriage I will be less likely to support him. Yes or no?" "I have a unfavorable opinion of  Barack Obama. Yes or no?" "I want my taxes and those of other lowered next year, and job killing regulations eliminated. Yes or No?" "I support the NRA's defense of the 2nd amendment" "I don't believe the President is a strong defender of the second amendment?" "I think the Presidents policies have made thing worse than they were 4 years ago. Yes or No?" So on and so forth for 14 questions.

    This was an automated call. But I seemed to notice a click when it asked me if I was a Democrat or a Republican and who I was supporting, it then went through these questions. After the first couple questions inquiring who I was supporting and my party affiliation, it didn't prompt me when I hesitated to answer a question but it went on to the next "talking point".

    I googled the number and it seems other think this is a Tea Party group, and that they have received it too. This was on my cell phone.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:11:20 PM PDT

  •  A disaster (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dgb, dfe, Mindtrain

    All of these election and voting "improvements" are tricks that undermine the foundation of democracy - all in the name of efficiency and expediency.

    What is the rush?  

    Top 2 primaries - disenfranchise voters who want alternatives

    Electronic voting machines and tabulators - proven untrustworthy and prone to fraud

    Ranked choice voting - tilts close races to candidates not preferred by any majority (witness Jean Quan in Oakland, the third place vote getter now rules as mayor, disasterously).

    Why the rush?   So news and media can announce results faster?  So parites can roll their campaign warchests over sooner?  

    I have never seen any benefit to voters or the integrity of elections from these so called "improvements".

    Elections are critical - literally matters of life and  death.  What is the rush to stifle debate, eliminate candidates, announce the results?

    What is wrong with taking all due time and care to have open ballot counts that can be witnesses and verified?

    What is the downside to having more candidates, parties and options?

    This is a disaster.

    •  Ranked Choice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify

      The thing about about ranked choice is that it comes into play exactly when no candidate is preferred by any majority. You can get situations like that you pointed out, but it does reflect what voters want. In the Oakland case, when candidates who were 4th and up were eliminated and those who voted for them asked for their choice of the remaining 3, Quan was not then in third (by definition of how it works).

      I do agree with you on electronic voting machines. Having a paper trail and taking the time to ensure the votes are correctly counted is essential. There's nothing wrong with making everyone wait to get it right.

      Daves Redistricting: 50 states + DC & PR w/ 2010 data. 42 states + DC w/ election data.

      by dgb on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:52:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seriously. No. Seriously? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, Eric Nelson, Mindtrain
    It will be interesting to see what, if anything, might be done to rectify this particular malady.
    You think CA can fix this?  You think CA can fix anything?  Not until they repeal Prop 13 and reign in the referendums, imho.

    Seriously?

    Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

    by EdMass on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:25:30 PM PDT

    •  rein in the initiatives (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davethefave, hankmeister

         "Reign" is to rule as a monarch. Rein in something comes from horse riding, using the reins to guide the horse.

         "Referendums" (more properly pluralized as referenda) are when people get signatures to get a law that was passed by the legislature put on the ballot to allow the voters to overturn or reaffirm the law.

         "Initiatives" are new laws that are proposed by voters, and placed on the ballot by petition signatures. Top two was an initiative; it was not previously passed by the legislature.

      Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, age 53, new CA-30

      by Zack from the SFV on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 07:26:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Generally I like it (0+ / 0-)

    The process cannot be judged in the first go-around.  Give it a few times to see what it's implications are.  But generally I like the idea of getting a third-party person a chance in a big wide field -- that's a chance which third-parties and idea-candidates don't have in general elections with the two money bag parties stomping all over people with ideas and passion.

    •  Riiiggghhtttt (0+ / 0-)

      And then you woke up.

      The Berman-Sherman race has reportedly cost over $5 million already.  I don't have figures in front of me, but I suspect a few other races went over the $1 million mark, and probably every single seriously contested primary was well into six figures.  In that context, do you really think people are listening to Mr. Smith's 12-point plan for a boys' camp?

    •  Your wish will be granted. We're stuck with this (0+ / 0-)

      turkey for a few years yet. But as we watch and assess, please observe the effects that incumbency and big-dollar campaign funds have on the Top-Two system. I think that the table has been tilted in their favor.

      Have you noticed?
      Politicians who promise LESS government
      only deliver BAD government.

      by jjohnjj on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 12:05:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Given that the major parties (GOP, Dem, Libs) are (0+ / 0-)

    vigorously litigating against top-two primaries for years, it seems that they believe it is better for independents.

  •  a "pre-primary" convention? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdMass, Eric Nelson

    I think Minnisota has a pre-primary convention of their parties in which the participants agree to abide by the conventions choice in return for assuring the party's support in the general.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:48:08 PM PDT

  •  Solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalLiberal

    Democrats can hold a primary of their own and select the candidate who will get the party nomination for the top-two system. No state involvement at all, since, y'know, political parties are not technically agents of the state government.

    NH4JL DIT '04, NHDP DIT '08!

    by realnrh on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 07:11:07 PM PDT

    •  Like in the 1800s, (0+ / 0-)

      when the party chieftains rigged the elections for themselves.

      That's how we got the state involvement.

      Fix enough problems, and eventually we've gone in a circle!

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:17:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Second preference voting ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dgb

    ... would eliminate all or most of the split field effect.

    Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

    by BruceMcF on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:19:43 PM PDT

  •  voting is just not the simple affair we would like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dgb

    it to be. I would like to see an instant runoff type system with a single election that eliminates the low turnout primaries and their expense (my gf worked the polls and said there were 18 different ballots in the mix - ridiculous!) and exposure to gaming (in open primaries). Instant runoff (which has many variations) is itself not perfect, but I think closer to the actual will of the people.

  •  If you just go down to the third candidate (0+ / 0-)

    if the top two are from the same party, then you've got one party splitting their vote and the other one not splitting their vote.  So you've got the same problem you had in the 31st district, but you've got it at general election time.

    The heck with it.  Both major parties should have the right to run a candidate of their choosing, and independents can always run also if they want to.

  •  analysis of effect downballot (0+ / 0-)

    The major effect may be on the state assemble  and other local candidates not congressional candidates

  •  Single Transferable Vote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary J

    is something I find interesting.  I'm most familiar with how it is used in Northern Ireland, where it does a good job of creating an assembly that actually reflects the way the electorate thinks.

    How does it differ from "ranked choice" voting?

    •  STV and IRV (0+ / 0-)

      The difference is that IRV applies preferential counting rules to a single member district, whereas STV uses them in multi member districts.

      The very best you can do, with a single member district, is to ensure that the person elected has more support than any of the other candidates.

      In a multi member election, an STV counting method can split the representation of the district in accordance with opinion in its electorate.

      The key to how exactly the representation mirrors the electorate, is how many seats are to be allocated. In a two member district the quota for certain election is one-third plus one of the total valid vote. In a three member district it is one quarter plus one and so on.

      There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

      by Gary J on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 02:49:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not a fan of this system (0+ / 0-)

    I think it was kind of a solution looking for a problem.  But it's not the end of the world.  I'm far more comfortable with it now that I know that the top two finishers in each primary advance to the general, regardless of whether one gets over 50% of the vote.  Because that would have been a way to elect a lot of radicals, especially radical Republicans, to office with very low turnout.  Now, I don't think this is as great a possibility.  

    I think that people may get tired of this system and opt to change it when they stop getting the chance to have primaries that end Congressional races and find themselves without the choice to vote for their preffered party for Congress.  

    In terms of results, the very low turnout by Dems is what killed us in CA-31, a seat we would have almost certainly won in November.  Part of the problem is that in that seat, the bulk of our vote is Latino.  Latinos are primarily election day voters.  Given the low turnout statewide, I think the reason Dems finished ahead was due to vote by mail.  So this probably didn't help in CA-31.

    I'm a little worried about Henry Waxman, who received under 50% of the vote.  I think he'll still handily win reelection although the new CA-33 is less Democratic than the old CA-30.  

    Check out my new blog: http://socalliberal.wordpress.com/

    by SoCalLiberal on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 12:21:01 AM PDT

  •  When the Olympic games begin this summer (0+ / 0-)

    we will see winners selected by contests that feature multiple "heats". Party primaries allowed something like that: a chance for candidates to prove themselves against similarly-ranked competitors before moving up to run against stronger challengers.

    Primaries allowed newcomers the time to raise money, recruit volunteers and build an affordable campaign aimed at a reasonable number of voters. It was part of an evolutionary process.

    Now all candidates must compete in a single, compressed, "do or die" contest that demands huge wad of cash to reach a much larger pool of voters. The Top-Two angle seems to insure that the incumbent (or "designated heir") floats serenely above the fray, while #2 and #3 bloody each other.

    I'd rather see everybody vote by mail and have a Top-Eight "Primary" and a  Top-Four "Secondary" before the Top-Two "Final", all spread over a period of six months.

    Perhaps IRV would be simpler and just as effective.

    As for "moderates"... you don't level out a tilted see-saw by adding weight at the center point. To pull Congress back to "the center", we need to elect more liberals and progressives.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 12:26:23 AM PDT

  •  It was a stupid idea from the get-go. (0+ / 0-)

    Let's cut to the chase: voters don't actually "deserve a choice" in districts that are heavily one party of the other.  The choice is the primary, not the general.  If people don't like it, they should change party, either at the primary stage to influence the dominant party's candidate, or at the general election by voting for the other party.  This notion that the state has to intervene to manufacture choice in certain situations is repugnant even in the absence of aberrant and patently antidemocratic (or, if you prefer, antimajoritarian) outcomes as we've seen.

    Romney '12: Bully for America!

    by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 04:04:07 AM PDT

  •  Top-two: transformative but in the wrong way! (0+ / 0-)
    Because one has to assume now that parties in 2014 will be working double time to clear the decks for their preferred candidates in the filing process.
    But one should also expect big money to drum up and finance bogus candidates designed to sap votes away from candidates the fat cats don't like.  That's been tried in some of the recall elections around the country and there's no reason to expect that it won't appear in California once they've figured it out a bit more.  When you can't win on the issues you try to befuddle or suppress the voters

    Another casualty is the primary challenge.  It's one thing to attempt to replace a Democrat in the primary or even to simply use the primary to bring them back to heel, but if the likely outcome of doing that is to turn the seat over to the GOP, then it becomes a somewhat dubious undertaking.  So another potential outcome of the top-two approach is to make incumbents even more secure—the voices shouting out that the incumbent is flawed but much better than any GOPer will only get louder in the top-two world.


    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    Give 'em hell, Barry—Me

    by KingBolete on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:19:21 AM PDT

  •  Another case where (0+ / 0-)

    they were able to sneak one past the voters.  Every time the vote is restricted (and this definitely and clearly restricts the vote) Democracy loses.  And the authoritarians win.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 10:05:06 AM PDT

  •  I'm in CA-31, and yes, I'm bitter. (0+ / 0-)

    I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies. - Kos

    My political compass: - 8.38,-6.97

    by pucklady on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 01:08:12 PM PDT

  •  Congressional District 8 is undecided. (0+ / 0-)

    Congressional district 8 still has not been certified by the SOS.  We had 15 candidates and the one independent was nearly a no show on the ballot.  As it looks now, the top two are Republicans and the non Republicans have no representative in November.  Not sure this "Top Two" is anything other than an attempt to dilute the Democrat vote.  I am waiting for the certified results.  

    "Ignorance can be fixed, stupid is forever." and "There are good decisions and bad decisions but you never know until you make them." and finally, "Wisdom comes from experience and experience comes from making mistakes" My 8 year old daughter, 1985.

    by Veritas1 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 06:53:19 AM PDT

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