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June 09, 2010

California Passes Proposition That Effectively Destroys Political Parties

I think this will be found unconstitutional, but I'm nowhere near informed enough to really have a good idea about that.

The new law is this: There will be an open primary before the election. Everyone can vote in it. And they can vote for any candidate.

The top two vote-getters -- whatever their party-- go on to a two-man general election in the November elections.

What's wrong with that? Well, basically, it outlaws parties, because no candidate now has to win the Republican nomination (or the Democratic one -- Democrats are against it too).

Furthermore, we could -- and would -- wind up with general elections featuring two Democrats, or a Democrat and a Green, or a Democrat and an Independent... if a Republican doesn't make the top two in an open primary, he's not on the ballot for the actual election.

Although the writer of this article says it won't happen, or won't happen often, the new proposition means that it's possible -- and in some years likely -- that there will be no Republican candidate in the general election.

I'm having trouble understanding how this proposition -- or law, I guess, now -- isn't just the majority of the voters deciding to strip the minority of voters of their right to vote for candidates they support.

CA voters want their options back, and last night they passed a proposition that would once again give them the ability to pick and choose their candidates across party lines during partisan primaries.

Despite opposition from party leaders, voters approved Proposition 14 by a 54%-46% margin. The measure would allow voters to pick candidates from any political party during a primary; only the top 2 candidates would advance to a general election, regardless of party.

Supporters of the initiative said it would result in greater voter choice, and that it would lead to more moderate picks for state legislature by bringing independent voters into the primary process. But opponents said the measure would hurt third parties and independent candidates, and that the smaller number of candidates on a general election ballot would end up costing voters a choice.

Now, both parties are lawyering up, openly discussing the prospects of new lawsuits aimed at dismantling the new system before it goes into effect next Jan.
It might seem like a bizarre ploy to elect more Dems -- CA is heavily Dem, and some believe more primaries would result in Dem-versus-Dem general elections. But in fact, it's the latest battle in a decade-long war over the very meaning of political parties.


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posted by Ace at 02:27 PM

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