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U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) leaves after a Senate cloture vote on budget bill on Capitol Hill in Washington December 17, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTX16MDJ
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) wants to blame Washington gridlock on party primaries—and says that getting rid of them would “save America.”

His op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times parroted the standard Beltway talking points we’ve all heard before, that only by stopping “extremes” in both parties can we stop the dysfunction.

But it was Schumer’s defense of California’s top-two primary that revealed how clueless he is about my home state, and how getting rid of party primaries will only make things worse.

California was racked by polarization until voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2010 that adopted a “top-two” primary system.
Oy vey. Yes, it’s true that California’s government was dysfunctional before 2010, but that did not change because we passed the “top-two primary.” It was ending the two-thirds rule for passing a budget in 2010 that finally brought some sanity, and an increasingly blue legislature in 2012 changed things for the better.

But the “top-two” primary also created a whole new host of problems that has led to abysmal voter turnout, Republican-vs-Republican general elections and the rise of corporate Democrats in the state legislature. Oh, and the Tea Party is still a relevant factor in the state.

So no thanks, Chuck. Please don't export the Golden State's dysfunction. Lots more below the fold, written by someone who actually lives in California ...

California is a deep-blue state, and Republicans have a permanent minority in the legislature. But because the state constitution until 2010 required a two-thirds supermajority for passing a budget, the GOP decided to hold up the budget each and every year. Because they could.

We were a blue state with an Alabama budget—whose passage required giving up any tax increases whatsoever, atrocious cuts to social services, and then whatever political blackmail was required to get a couple Republican votes from Fresno or Santa Maria to get two-thirds.

One of those Republicans was State Sen. Abel Maldonado, who in 2009 only agreed to vote for that year's budget—if they put the top-two primary on the ballot, permanently changing how we elect folks in California. That passed in June 2010.

In November 2010, voters passed Proposition 25, which restored majority rule for passing the budget (although tax increases still require two-thirds.) And in November 2012, as California’s changing demographics kept getting bluer, Democrats achieved a two-thirds supermajority in the legislature. That is why, Sen. Schumer, you don’t see the same dysfunction anymore.

The move has had a moderating influence on both parties and a salutary effect on the political system and its ability to govern.
That’s what Chuck Schumer wants us to believe, but the facts in California say otherwise.

Top-two primary means more corporate Democrats

The top-two primary in California was supposed to rescue “moderate” Republicans like Abel Maldonado from the threat of a Tea Party challenge. But as state Democratic chairman John Burton predicted at the state party’s 2010 convention in Los Angeles, it was really more about helping big business elect more of their Democrats—with cross-over votes from Republicans.

Four years later, Burton’s prediction has proven right—as we have witnessed the rise of the corporate Democrat in deep-blue districts that should be electing progressive champions.

The rise of what might be called the Corporate Democrat can only be partly explained by shrinking GOP delegations in Sacramento. It is also the product of redistricting and effects of the “top-two primary,” by which members of the same political party can win the top two primary positions and then face off in November. Since then, powerful corporations, agricultural associations and other political high rollers have been turning away from their traditional Republican partners and placing more and more of their chips on the Democratic end of the table – specifically, on candidates like Marc Levine [of Marin County.]
Under the new rules, Silicon Valley Rep. Mike Honda may have easily bested Ro Khanna in the June 2014 primary—but the “top-two” primary means that corporate Democrat Khanna still has a second bite at the apple, and will attempt to beat Honda with Republican votes. Under the new rules, Republicans can even cross over and pick their Democrat.

We saw this happen in June in legislative races, such as California’s 4th Assembly district—a deep blue district in wine country (Napa County and surroundings), where Democrats enjoy a 20-point registration edge. Progressive champion Mariko Yamada was elected under the old system, and is stepping down due to term limits. But her replacement in November will now be a choice between a Republican—and an ex-Republican turned corporate Democrat.

That’s because there were 3 Democrats and 1 Republican on the June ballot, and the top two finishers regardless of party moved on to November. The Republican came in first with 26 percent of the vote, followed by Democrat Bill Dodd—an ex-Republican Napa County Supervisor with heavy funding from the Chamber of Commerce, who benefited because Republicans could now choose which Democrat moved ahead. Progressive Democrat (and labor-backed) candidate Dan Wolk came in a close third, and a fourth Democrat in the race played spoiler.

California will still have a solidly Democratic legislature, but enough corporate Democrats elected under the top-two primary recently colluded with Republicans to kill a fracking moratorium. Expect more of these losses in Sacramento, as Democrats from even deep-blue districts side with their corporate donors.

Top-two primary means Republican vs. Republican races in purple districts

Sometimes, the top-two primary allows for what could be winnable seats for Democrats into a November match-up between two Republicans. GOP Rep. Gary Miller of California’s 31st Congressional District (San Bernardino) dodged a bullet in 2012, when a crowded field of Democrats on the June ballot meant that he ended up facing another Republican.

Voters in that district, by the way, preferred Barack Obama over Mitt Romney—so coat-tails could have netted the blue team an extra House seat. But there was no Democrat on the November ballot, so it was a wasted opportunity.

Miller is retiring this year, and we almost had a repeat in that district. But Democrat Pete Aguilar managed to score a second-place finish in June (by less than 400 votes), so the blue team will at least have a Democrat on the ballot and have a potential pick-up opportunity.

But in California’s 25th Congressional District, where another Republican (Buck McKeon) is retiring, what could have been a possible pick-up for Democrats is now assured GOP representation until at least 2016 (if not further) in a district that is trending blue.

No, Chuck, top-two primary does not mean higher voter turnout
While there are no guarantees, it seems likely that a top-two primary system would encourage more participation in primaries and undo tendencies toward default extremism.
Sen. Schumer alleges that a top-two primary would result in higher turnout. That's exactly what Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abel Maldonado promised back in 2010 when California voters were asked to pass it.

But unlike Schumer, they didn’t have the hindsight to know its effects. Now we know the answer.

The 2014 California Primary Election will go down as the worst ever in terms of voter turnout.
Voter turnout in June was an abysmal 18 percent, which of course turns out the most committed and comfortable voters—who are disproportionately white, old and conservative.

In California’s race for state controller, we came dangerously close to another November run-off between two Republicans: Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, and conservative David Evans—who spent practically no money, and benefited from a healthy Tea Party turnout.

Originally posted to Paul Hogarth on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Schumer is an embarrassment (30+ / 0-)

    and a real problem.
    The last thing we need is jungle primaries (as this diary illustrates). The whole point of a primary is for the party to pick it's best nominee. Opening that up to ratfu(king is not a good idea.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:20:25 AM PDT

    •  Sen. Schumer is right for what he wants (0+ / 0-)

      Top 2 primaries decreases the power and influence of the left in the Democrats and the right in the Republicans.

      Sen Schumer wants to decrease the power of the left in the Democratic Party, this is one way to do it.

      So for what Sen Schumer wants this is the better primary.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 11:29:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Schumer also cited Louisiana (28+ / 0-)

    as a shining example of a top-two state. Louisiana.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:21:23 AM PDT

    •  Louisiana. California redistricting. (7+ / 0-)

      Louisiana has had the top-2 primary system for a long time. Yet they still regularly elect right-wing crazies. This is probably due to the LA electorate, which is different from the CA electorate.

      IIRC California also recently (2010?) got rid of redistricting by the legislature, and gave that job to a nonpartisan/bipartisan commission. The saner district boundaries have (no surprise) benefited Democrats on the Congressional level.

      Has redistricting reform affected the state legislature? If so--how? I wish the diary had explored this, aside from one brief mention.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:27:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Redistricting had the greater effect, IMO (12+ / 0-)

        The heavily gerrymandered legislative districts drawn by lawmakers yielded to districts drawn by a "citizen's panel" with pretty clear, non-partisan guidelines under a Schwarzenegger-supported reform of the process.  It'll take a few cycles to really know what effect on the politics of Sacramento less partisan-inspired district boundaries will have, but the reform had to be a shock to the system of incumbents and new candidates alike.

        I, too, would like the diary to have sifted the "lessons learned" from 2012's legislative elections viz. redistricting.  Perhaps there's another diary in it?

      •  Nonpartisan redistricting was a surprise becaus... (5+ / 0-)

        Nonpartisan redistricting was a surprise

        because, in a previously gerrymandered Democratic-majority state, it led to MORE Democrats being elected. Weird, eh? That's because when the Dems gerrymander a state, unlike the Rs, they don't just do it to maximize seats, they do it to protect incumbents. Turns out that included R incumbents. So when we got non-partisan districts, it ended up that the state naturally elected more Dems.

      •  The AD 10 seat is now safely in a corporate Dem's (0+ / 0-)

        hands until he is termed out.  If we did not have the top 2 primary, Dems had an excellent chance of getting a progressive Dem in to unseat him.  Because there were 4 Dems and 1 R, the R siphoned off 25% of the vote.   AD 10 is one of the bluest of blue in CA.

        •  think about that... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Limpbaugh

          Can't you see a Tea Partier making a similar complaint about a moderate GOPer getting elected in a reddest-of-red district? "That doggone Democrat siphoned off 25% of the vote." You're making Schumer's case that the top-2 system tends to make the legislature more moderate, less polarized.

          There may be other consequences I'm not thinking of. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I am glad we're going to have a bigger test of top-2 than just Louisiana.

          Me, I'd rather move the whole damn legislature to the left. But I'm afraid the only way to do that is to change public opinion.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 08:28:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

        One third of Louisiana Republicans blame Obama for the failed response to Katrina. Winston Churchill said something like, if you want to find out what the problem with democracy is, go talk to a voter.

  •  Schumer not a democrat (25+ / 0-)

    he belongs to the oligarchy party
    proper id should be Chuck Schumer, O-Wall Street

    support Thomas Lofgren, progressive candidate for Minnesota house of reps district 20A http://thomaslofgren.us/

    by mollyd on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:24:47 AM PDT

  •  Great run-down, and take-down (10+ / 0-)

    The system here in California does provide voters the representation they intended.

    I'm proud to serve as Director of Online Programs at the Courage Campaign.

    by Adam Bink on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:27:06 AM PDT

  •  I'm all for making the system as fair as possible (14+ / 0-)

    but this idea clearly doesn't fall into that category.  If voter turnout is his ideal, then there should be an Oregon-like plan (mail-in voting) proposed, not this top-two fiasco.

    -9.88, -7.44 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

    by wordene on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:27:14 AM PDT

    •  I like the in-person civic engagement (0+ / 0-)

      and better fraud prevention of voting at the polling place. Election days should be dedicated holidays.

      It's the responsibility of every citizen to vote—voting should be required. That used to rankle my freedom-loving mind, but I've come around on it.

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

      by Simplify on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 12:12:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I support this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify

        It will never pass a legislature because "freedom."

        But the diary is about the fact that political parties have forgotten why they exist.

        You cannot have political parties AND open primaries.  If someone wants to vote in the Democratic primary they should have joined the party some months before.  Any other system has built in chicanery with strategic party switching motivated by large advertising buys.

        To throw all primary entries into the same field with a run off by the top two will amount to an exercise in ballot box stuffing.

        All that said, I blame any problems (so far) in California on Democrats who stay in their races even though they can see that they will do nothing but enable Republicans to win.

        "...we live in the best most expensive third world country." "If only the NEA could figure out all they have to do is define the ignorance of the next generation as a WMD..." ---Stolen from posts on Daily Kos

        by jestbill on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 01:36:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Last evening he was in Chris' Mathews (27+ / 0-)

    show defending his op-ed. He basically argued that top-two primaries would stop extreme right and extreme left candidates from getting elected and bring both parties to the center. As he was saying this I asked myself, what extreme left candidates is he talking about? Sanders? (not even a Democrat and, really?) Warren? Really? Who?

    Anyhow, his bloviation last night told me a lot more about him and the "establishment Democrats" than anyone he was trying to portray. Message to Wall St. Chuck: that thing that you call the center ain't the center.

    "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -John F. Kennedy

    by basquebob on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:30:09 AM PDT

  •  If they had instant run-off voting (7+ / 0-)

    How often would we expect a similar result of a corporate Democrat beating a true progressive in a deep-blue district because the Republican/conservative alternatives are eliminated before the corporate Democrat is?

    •  Probably a very different outcome (9+ / 0-)

      In California's 4th Assembly District (Napa County), November will feature the 2 most conservative candidates in what was a 4 candidate field: the Republican and the ex-Republican now running as a Democrat with corporate money. Two Democrats came in third and fourth place. With instant runoff, the results would have been different.

    •  Instant-run off voting is the right track... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice

      Because it eliminates primaries, which are anti-democratic in themselves.

      However, as a voting method it has some flaws.  I'll take this as another example to promote range voting (which could work with or without primaries) - every voter rates every candidate on a scale, a la "Hot or Not" (if that reference isn't too dated).  Range voting eliminates having to choose the "lesser two evils."  And by getting rid of primarise, we maximize participation in democracy.  It's scandalous that something like 2% of all voters who votake part in in a primary run-off can determine the next __ in deeply red or blue states.

      Range Voting has a website! And there's even a great book!

      •  How are primaries undemocratic (0+ / 0-)

        given our system?  It is one thing to say our two-party system is undemocratic, on that I might agree.  But primaries under our system are not undemocratic.  Indeed, they are the only part of the electoral system that gives the people an opportunity to elect their perceived best candidate.  

        •  Turnout (0+ / 0-)

          And reducing the field by a system that most people don't participate in.  Systems that increase turnout are more democratic than systems that decrease turnout.  So, as primaries have far less turnout (and primary run-offs less still), I think it's fair to say they are anti-democratic.

          •  How does a primary contest (0+ / 0-)

            reduce turnout under our system?  

            I don't think turnout is the determinant whether a system is democratic.  You may certainly have a democratic system where citizens simply choose not to vote.  Voter apathy or engagement doesn't determine whether a system is democratic.  

            •  Why focus on how... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              orestes1963

              When you can see the result?  Primaries have lower turnout.  It's a fact that has been this way for a long time.  

              If democracy is government of the people and by the people, I think it's important that the people are actually taking part.  If we know that people are less likely to vote twice for the same position (in the primary, and again in the general election), we should just have one vote.  This is especially the case in deep red or blue states - in that event, you've got the vote we know will have the lower turnout determining the de facto winner.  If there's a run-off in the primary, a tiny slice of the population is picking winners.  

              I'm a big fan of Keep It Simple.  One voting day, one vote.  

      •  Nothing is perfect. (0+ / 0-)

        Arrow's Impossibility Theorem is straightforward.  Out of 4 desirable traits, you can only pick 3 in any electoral structure.  All electoral structures have some form of crazy results guaranteed.

        Arrow’s impossibility theorem, the General Possibility Theorem, or Arrow’s paradox, states that, when voters have three or more distinct alternatives (options), no rank order voting system can convert the ranked preferences of individuals into a community-wide (complete and transitive) ranking while also meeting a pre-specified set of criteria. These pre-specified criteria are called unrestricted domain, non-dictatorship, Pareto efficiency, and independence of irrelevant alternatives.
        [...]
        In short, the theorem states that no rank-order voting system can be designed that satisfies these three "fairness" criteria:

            If every voter prefers alternative X over alternative Y, then the group prefers X over Y.
            If every voter's preference between X and Y remains unchanged, then the group's preference between X and Y will also remain unchanged (even if voters' preferences between other pairs like X and Z, Y and Z, or Z and W change).
            There is no "dictator": no single voter possesses the power to always determine the group's preference.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 02:34:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just what we need (20+ / 0-)

    A nice rich creamy "center" made exclusively of yummy Wall Street money.

    Schumer's a tool.

    Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies, We were roaring drunk on petroleum -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:35:39 AM PDT

  •  I hate the term moderate ... (14+ / 0-)

    because it's used as a way to lie about our politics. The Democratic Party as a whole and the vast majority of elected Democrats are already very moderate if not downright right-wing sympathizers.

    The Republican Party is the extreme one and keeps getting more extreme every year. A system that favored 'splitting the difference' would move our politics even more to the right.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:40:28 AM PDT

  •  Out of his Gourd (16+ / 0-)

    Schumer is patently insane for suggesting such a system.

    For starters, and I cannot stress this enough:

    There are absolutely, 100%, Zero candidates for any Federal Office that come to the "Extreme" side of the political continuum of this country from the Left-Of-Center side of the aisle. Full. Stop.

    On that premise alone, I cannot take any such suggestion seriously.

    It's bad enough that the data suggests the system is not really beneficial.

    But what irks the shit out of me is this continued insistence and/or negligence of the absolute fact that there is exactly One out of the Two major political parties that is responsible for the lack of governance occurring in this country right now.

    And, ostensibly, it's not the party that Chuck Schumer claims to belong to.

    The narrative of bullshit has got to stop. This is part of the reason why it's hard to sway people to vote Democratic. Why should they if they're just as culpable for the problems we're in as the Republicans?

    Arrrrrrgh!

  •  The "People want us to work together" meme (9+ / 0-)

    then again people want to win the lottery and lose 20 pounds.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:43:43 AM PDT

    •  Ex-freaking-actly. (7+ / 0-)

      I don't want bipartisanship. I can't even get close to the toilet where I would give a sh!t about bipartisanship. I am only interested in the laws that get passed. If for some bizarro world occurred today and the House Reps passed a "Free Money Tuesdays" bill, I would love it just as much as I would if it was a Dem-only bill or a bill passed by purple monkeys. It doesn't matter to me one iota--and I would bet everything I own that a large majority of people in the country feel the same way as I do--who passes anything; it's the end result only that makes a difference in our lives. People who don't get that are either lying or they are fools.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 09:01:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A sane opposition is necessary (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, JML9999, unfangus, Odysseus, zoom314

        to keep the Democrats from becoming complacent and corrupt (well, it could be argued they already are at the corrupt state).

        The problem is the current opposition is not sane. When someone like Eric Cantor is drummed out of office for being too liberal, you've got a serious disconnect in your ranks.

        I'm from the era when Republicans and Democrats could work together to craft solutions. I'd like to get back to that sort of thing, and be a proud liberal without being told I'm going to burn in Hell or to leave the country where I was born 55+ years ago.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:45:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I remember when the (0+ / 0-)

          Democratic party was the "war" party and needed competition to reform.

          "...we live in the best most expensive third world country." "If only the NEA could figure out all they have to do is define the ignorance of the next generation as a WMD..." ---Stolen from posts on Daily Kos

          by jestbill on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 01:43:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Schumer seems to be becoming more overt in his (8+ / 0-)

    support for the Oligarchy. It's time for him to go.

  •  With friends like Schumer (13+ / 0-)

    You know the rest.

    California's screwed up primary system was a con job dreamed up by a Republican in a last ditch attempt to get more Republicans into office.

    As was said in the diary the reason California has prospered is because the Republicans, in spite of the horrible primary system, have been trounced so completely they now have almost no say in anything.

    And viola! California prospers - what a surprise.

  •  The real electoral problem is not primaries. It... (7+ / 0-)

    The real electoral problem is not primaries. It's gerrymandering. A vast majority of the House enjoys Soviet Politibureau-like tenure. By taking redistricting out of the hands of legislatures and building more balanced and less bizarrely shaped districts, some improvement might be effected.

    •  And that's what we've got (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anne Elk, Odysseus

      in California with the bipartisan redistricting commission. We saw their work in 2010; it will be interesting to see the results from the 2020 census, and if any borderline Republican districts are pushed into the Democratic camp thanks to changing demographics.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:48:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The controller's race was nearly a disaster (16+ / 0-)

    The electorate clearly prefers a democrat in that seat, but they couldn't decide which one to vote for, which very nearly led to an R vs R race - ie, no rational choice. The top-two primary makes it very expensive to allow voters a full range of choices in the primary, and makes it much more important to do behind-the-scenes deals so only one major/viable candidate runs per party. That's not democracy.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 09:07:33 AM PDT

    •  Well it makes sense (2+ / 0-)

      in Schumer's world - where the Dem is just a slightly more compassionate (as long as it doesn't interfere with financial corporations making a killing) version of today's GOP.  Yes liberal on issues that really shouldn't be issues - Gay marriage, women's health etc but after that.... not so much.

      "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

      by newfie on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 09:24:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't a "behind-the-scenes deal" aka arm-twisting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      what many Democrats on this site defend want when they say that Nader should have dropped out?  Also how does the top-TWO primary imply parties are forced to restrict their participation in the primary to ONE major candidate?  Safety would recommend that Democrats field no more than TWO, but why just one?

      •  Because what we see in practice (8+ / 0-)

        is that if there isn't a balanced count of candidates by party, the party with fewer candidates is certain to get at least one of the berths for the general.

        You're right to correct me on the one vs. two moment. Still, the dynamics of some districts will mean that one candidate is the right number (heavily R or leans R) and the dynamics say that giving voters a wide open choice of multiple candidates, as for example my congressional district had when the seat was open, becomes dangerous for the overall goal of ensuring there will be a Democrat (or another left-leaning candidate) on the November ballot.

        This is the controller race, for example:

        California State Controller primary election, 2014 
         
         
         
         
         
        Party Candidate Votes %
        Republican Ashley Swearengin 1,001,473 24.8%
        Democratic Betty T. Yee 878,195 21.7%
        Democratic John Pérez 877,714 21.7%
        Republican David Evans 850,109 21.0%
        Green Laura Wells 231,352 5.7%
        Democratic Tammy D. Blair 200,532 5.0%
        Totals 4,039,375 100.0%

        Early on, it looked like we'd have two Republican candidates go on EVEN THOUGH there were more total votes for Democratic candidates. Had there been four Democrats on the ballot, it's nearly certain that would have happened.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:14:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Elaine, thank you for finishing my diary ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling

          I was gonna add numbers from the Controllers' race, but it was already too long. You complemented my diary very nicely.

        •  A couple more things to add (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Paul Hogarth, Odysseus

          This was a really low information race, to the point where I was scrambling around to figure out who to vote for on election day, and finding hardly any information (I found some great stuff, alas, posted after I voted). And I work in politics!

          I would say from the research I did that there's little practical difference between Yee and Pérez in terms of their politics. You have one from the north, one from the south. Gay latino v. asian female, former Speaker v. former Board of Equalization. Little personal information from either in terms of how well they'd manage the Controller duties and then there's the question of whether Pérez was running because he had a burning desire to be Controller versus just 'this is an office that is open and he's termed out of his current job.' Versus, which one has a brighter future in politics looking ahead to 8 years when this job terms out.

          So... in many ways, a coin toss for a typical voter.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 01:23:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  FWIW, I voted for Yee and the choice was easy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elfling

            John Perez is Speaker of the State Assembly, who was just looking for a statewide office to run for as a "parking spot" before he runs for Governor in the undetermined future. We already have too many politicians like that in California.

            Betty Yee is a number-crunching nerd who has served on the Board of Equalization for the last 10 years, and truly wanted to be State Controller. I like nerds and policy wonks, so I voted for her. She's like Derek Cressman who ran for SoS.

            There's nothing inherently wrong with having ambition for higher office, but at a minimum run for these obscure low-level positions because you actually know something about what it does. If you prove yourself, then you deserve to be elected to higher office.

        •  Yup. The fault is not top-2 primary (0+ / 0-)

          The fault, is as usual- that the left just loves to shot itself in the foot. Just because it's an open primary, doesn't mean every democrat should jump in the race. That just ends up splitting the vote, and republicans wins.

          •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

            I think it should be okay for multiple people of any party to put their hat in and have a shot. That allows voters to hear the candidates and decide, rather than the fundraisers or the party bigwigs to make the choice for us.

            When our house seat was open after redistricting, I quite enjoyed the array of candidates who were in play and getting to listen to them all.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 11:34:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is the teapublikkans are evil and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zoom314

    want everything their way.

    Can't get anything done when the other side says "NO, my way or the highway".

    There is not such thing as a moderate R. They are all extreme in some fashion.

    Their base turns out. They win. They're winning.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 09:14:36 AM PDT

  •  Seeing that Cuomo has been challenged, he must ... (4+ / 0-)

    Seeing that Cuomo has been challenged, he must be fearful he's next on the list of corporate cronies we want to get rid of.

  •  I don't understand (0+ / 0-)

    Schumer says it has had a moderating influence, and you're backing that up by saying more "corporate Democrats" are being elected.

    You don't like that and want Democrats who are more Progressive elected, but that doesn't mean Shumer is wrong on the moderating effect of the change right?

  •  As a resident of CA-31 (11+ / 0-)

    I can attest that Top Two sucks big time.

    And we almost had two Repugs again thanks to that idiot Joe Baca.

    What Top Two means is that the party has to get tough on wanna-be and progressive candidates and force them off ballot, else we end up with another CA-31 situation.

    Maybe that's what Schumer is wanting, actually.

    Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome. uid:21352

    by pucklady on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 09:23:10 AM PDT

    •  CA-18 checking in...agree 100%. (7+ / 0-)

      looking at CA-17...Honda vs. technocrat Ro.

      Honda a real progressive...would have easily won the primary...then moved on to easily win the General.

      late entries on the R side...possibly done by Ro...diluted the leading R's vote allowing Ro thru to the General...polls had shown Ro in 3rd place behind Singh before the late entries.

      Now the D vote will split between Honda and Ro with the R vote probably going to Ro...they really dislike CPC member Honda.

      I still believe Honda will win because we are so blue here and Ro has shown himself to be a nasty a$$...but this open primary system was forced on us when we needed one R vote to pass a budget...it sucks.

      my biggest complaint is it takes away party members' ability to nominate who we desire for the General.

      We are not broke, we are being robbed. ~Shop Kos Katalogue~

      by Glen The Plumber on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:00:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Khanna's team was really putting on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber

        the "hard sell" in the latter days of the primary -- totally turned off both myself and Mr. Scribe. And while he talks a good game, when push comes to shove I worry about his real masters, the ones in the corporate boardrooms, most of whom probably don't even live in this district (quite a few Atherton and Woodside addresses in Silicon Valley).

        I hope you're right and that the voters don't go chasing the new shiny that turns out to be fool's gold.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:55:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  An instant run-off system is what we need. (7+ / 0-)

    If people could vote their preferences, in order of preference, we wouldn't need to vote to prefer a moderate candidate as our first preference, and I think it would turn out that we would elect a lot of better Democrats.  But even if we didn't, the winners wouldn't be any worse than the ones we get now.

    •  Finally someone point out a better idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker

      Our two party system here in California combined with our gerrymandered districts got us hyper-partisan representation.  The combination of the two changes seems to this Californian to have improved the political environment.  But an instant run-off system would be even better.

    •  I like instant runoff (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      but there's also the problem of having to rank a whole slate of candidates intelligently... it takes a lot more time and information to do so than to just pick one.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:36:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  America needs to be saved from Chuck Schumer (5+ / 0-)

    Yeah, I know he's a D vote, but he's behind every constitutional-wrecking "security" measure that ever comes up.  One would think a blue state like NY could do better.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 09:33:29 AM PDT

  •  The clown was on Tweety's show last night (4+ / 0-)

    He talked about this whole top two primary malarky before lapsing into a litany of Israeli talking points with regard to the current conflict. Should make a great AIPAC lobbyist when he retires from the Senate.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 09:37:32 AM PDT

  •  whats wrong with democracy? (0+ / 0-)

    If California Dems and Cons are stupid enough to elect corporate Dems, then they get what they deserve. Just like with the Cons in Red states. Red states deserve their terrible poverty, health, and education levels because thats what these people voted for.

    Elections have consequences.

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

    by Auburn Parks on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 09:37:35 AM PDT

    •  Nothing is wrong with democracy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orestes1963, brunoboy

      Jungle primaries, where one party can mess with the other party's candidacies, isn't it.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:21:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If people could be bothered to care and to vote (0+ / 0-)

        the relatively small number of cross-over voters would not matter.

        On the other hand, I'm not really big on voting regulations. Everyone can and should vote (once) for whomever they want. Party affiliation is irrelevant.

        "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

        by Auburn Parks on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 02:41:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Top 2 is a direct attack on freedom of association (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orestes1963, zoom314

      Voters take party labels to mean something.

      Say a group of like-minded people get together to accomplish things in society. They meet, connect, unite, develop a platform, advocate, organize. They call themselves a party, "ABC Party." The public hears about them and decides what they like and don't like. Party ABC has an election among its adherents to choose a candidate for the general election for public office. The public associates a meaning with the ABC label and votes accordingly.

      But in California, instead of all of that effort and meaning, somebody just slaps "ABC" next to his/her name on the ballot.

      In that case, ABC is robbed of its meaning. Candidates can hijack others' efforts with abandon, and they can more readily deceive voters.

      Much as Republicans in Democratic clothing did when they were allowed to double-enter primaries in the 1950s. Very cute, when the same name was listed as the candidate for both major parties...

      On a jungle primary or open primary ballot, it would be more honest to disallow party affiliation listings. But then it would be harder for the voters to know who to vote for, if it's just a list of names. Exactly.

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

      by Simplify on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 12:45:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So like intellectual property theft? (0+ / 0-)

        You make a really good argument, I simply disagree. If one party wants to surreptitiously run their own Manchurian candidate under the other party's label, and they pass all the qualifications necessary to make that happen, have every right to do that.

        Political parties and their monopoly on the voting process combined with Man's tribal instincts to blindly follow their "team" is probably one of the biggest problems we have in this country right now.

        "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

        by Auburn Parks on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 02:45:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's a vote on a policy issue (0+ / 0-)

          Some people vote "yea," some people vote "nay." If the "yea" votes make up a majority, then the policy goes into effect.

          The "yea" voters are a team, as are the "nay" voters. People on either side organize and try to win. Voilà, those teams are parties.

          To pretend we can have a party-free society is to deny reality.

          That fallacious hope was one of the founders' biggest shortcomings.

          :: ::

          And no, there's no inherent right of a group to run fake candidates under the other group's name. If that were true, closed party primaries would be illegal.

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

          by Simplify on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 02:58:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I never said we should have no parties. I made (0+ / 0-)

            the point that today's 2-party system and their monopoly on the voting process combined with our psychology and tribal instincts are the problem.

            But then again, the people only seem to want two parties.

            I and my group should have the right to run any candidate in any election we wish.

            Closed primaries are a terrible policy as they reinforce the Us vs Them nature of political teams.

            All candidates should be on the same ballot on the same primary day and as many people as possible should vote for whomever the hell they want.

            As few regulations as possible. Not party ID's, no closed voting, no registered and unregistered voters. Online voting, mail-in voting, weekend voting, national holiday voting, pay people to vote, anything and everything should be done to encourage as many people as possible to vote.

            "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

            by Auburn Parks on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 04:17:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  It has its advantages though. (0+ / 0-)

    It forces candidates to appeal to all voters, and not just to their narrow bases. This might mean less Paul Brouns.

  •  How about getting rid of the winner take all (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, Odysseus, roberb7

    system and try proportional representation?  

    •  That guarantees representation of even worse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      nutters. Check out Israel.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:22:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Electoral systems have consequences (0+ / 0-)

        The Israeli system is an extreme example of a proportional representation system, with all seats allocated in a single national district with a very low threshold to secure representation. There are many other proportional systems, which do not operate in the same way.

        It is also the case that similar electoral systems may operate differently in different societies.

        It seems that the major factor in designing a proportional or semi proportional electoral system is district magnitude. If each district returns three members it will produce a less proportional result than in fifty member constituencies.

        On the other hand individual candidates would count for more in the smaller districts, particularly if the detailed rules allow the electorate to choose which candidate of their preferred party is elected (one of the other problems of the Israeli system is ordered party lists, which gives minority factions which lost out in seat allocations a perverse incentive to split the party and create a new one - as opposed to a first past the post system where bolting is often a route to political irrelevance).

        What I am trying to point out is that attacking the idea of proportional representation, by pointing out the perceived adverse consequences of a particular system, being operated by a certain country in a given period of time; is not conclusive.

        It would be interesting if some American state designed and tried out (in state elections) its own proportional system. That would probably give a much better idea of how things would work in a US context than academic arguments based on foreign examples.

        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 Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 02:01:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand the gripe about a 2nd bite (0+ / 0-)

    at the apple in this situation. Let me first make clear that my preference is for instant-runoff voting or ranked-choice. I also would prefer Mike Honda over Ro Khanna. But I'm not in their district, and the choice is up to voters there. If Khanna can get more votes in the top-two runoff at the general, he should be elected, even if some votes are Republican -- the purpose of the runoff is not to be a Democratic primary. (Equally, I think it was fine for Cochran to win his primary in MS with the help of Democrats.)

    We recognize that in a multicandidate field a candidate that gets the most votes may not be the one that's acceptable to the greatest number of people, because of the (inappropriately named) spoiler effect.  Primaries are one way to mitigate that, but as we have seen closed primaries elect extremists.  California's system does not seem to have that problem.

    •  But what if some people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orestes1963

      would rather vote for a Republican in the general? My mother would have hated the top two system; she may not have liked some of the Rs she had to vote for (Pete McCloskey a big example), but she still voted for them religiously. As much as we might think their choice silly, they still deserve a choice.

      My biggest issue is that once the primaries are done, that's it -- no other candidates on the ballot, not even third party, which means many voices are silenced in the general election which is when most people tend to pay attention to politics.

      Certainly we don't elect extremists under this system -- but we never really did anyway other than a few idiots like Issa who are so entrenched we're not going to get rid of him any time soon. But it just sets up more middle-of-the-road candidates that excite voters as much as lukewarm mush. And especially with younger voters, they look at the choices and say, "Why bother?"

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 12:04:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What if some people would like to vote for a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        Socialist in the general?  Will all respect to your mother, she is not more entitled to have a candidate of her party on the general ballot than a Green or a Libertarian does.  In the Honda/Khanna race all Republicans together didn't come near 50%.  Why should they be guaranteed a spot in the general?

  •  Hawaii has OPEN primaries (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orestes1963, Simplify

    Which accomplish the same thing as most of the Republicans vote the Democratic primary which causes us to have "Democrats" like the one running for Congress, Donna Mercado Kim.

    Supported by the Family Forum
    Anti-abortion
    Anti-gay
    Anti-union
    Anti-environment
    Anti-regulation

    http://NotDonnaKim.com

  •  not convinced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexasTom

    Top-two still seems more democratic to me. Of course, my perspective is a little different, living in a deep-red state.

    •  How would that be more Democratic in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Scribe, orestes1963

      a deep Red state, where it would guarantee that Democrats would never have a candidate in the General?

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:23:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would give the Democratic minority... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        ...more of a voice in the primaries is how it would help in a deep red state.

        Right now, there are many Democrats in deep red states who vote in the Republican primaries simply because it is the only way that we'll get any say in who is running our states.  But our votes get overwhelmed by the tea party types most of the time, anyway.

        In a top-two scenario, we might at least get one moderate Republican out of the primaries, and might be able to help that moderate win over a tea party candidate in the general election.  

        If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

        by TexasTom on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:55:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a novel idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LuvSet

    Let's just try to get rid of Gerrymandering so rather than politicians picking their voters, voters pick the politicians. Allow fairly drawn, competitive districts to choose their candidates in primaries and may the best person win in the general. How hard is that?

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:17:15 AM PDT

  •  Top two sucks. Beyond that, the idea that (6+ / 0-)

    we need moderation is silly. The GOP/Teabag types don't have a moderate faction. Moderation, meaning meeting the other party halfway, simply means right-wing, because the GOP won't budge. We've seen that in CA too.

    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 Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:45:27 AM PDT

  •  Schumer is the best money can buy (0+ / 0-)
  •  Political parties are a permanent fixture (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify

    of the dysfunctional system concocted by the founders of our republic. George Washington was dreaming when he stated in his farewell address,

    All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.
    Political parties had already risen in England in the late 17th and early 18th Century and would become a permanent fixture in the political landscape of Europe and the US.
    Taking away power from the tea bagger and corporate republicans and the corporate democrats would go a long way to smoothing out this dysfunction. It seems counter intuitive that the way to deal with this dysfuction is more dysfuction by moving to a multiparty system but I feel that this is the way. Much of the problem is that the republican and democratic parties at the state level do all they can to prevent the rise of third parties. This is what must end.

    Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

    by harris stein on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 10:50:27 AM PDT

    •  Multi-party democracy means giving (0+ / 0-)

      the complete nutters even more representation. It means for starters always letting explicitly racist splinter parties into the legislature, as in France and Israel.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:28:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does that include giving the left nutters (0+ / 0-)

        a voice too? Then so be it.

        Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

        by harris stein on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 12:15:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Racist nutters already have their own little (0+ / 0-)

        political party. It's colloquially called the G.O.P. The idea is to get the racist nutters out of the republican party. So what if they have their own little group of 10%. They'll become so nutty that their followers will drop below 10%.

        Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

        by harris stein on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 12:30:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The national front in France (0+ / 0-)

        has 70 thousand members. The population of France is 66 million. In the French national assembly it holds 2 seats out of 577. In the French senate it has 0. It controls 118 out of 1,880 regional councils. What does this tell you? The racist nuts can be marginalized in a multi party system.

        Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

        by harris stein on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 12:44:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As a fellow Calli (0+ / 0-)

    you nailed it and thanks

  •  fairly drawn district lines (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, Cali Scribe, Simplify, Odysseus

    had a lot to do with California's improvement. Even with Dems in charge the redistricting was being crafted as an incumbent protection racket - which meant that incumbent Repubs also got favored.

    The fair drawing of district lines has further enhanced California's move toward the Democratic Party - it's just that Dems have to fight a little harder without the cushion of extra votes tweezed off Republican-leaning districts.

    The top-two primary on the other hand is offensive, I agree.

  •  I had qualms about "top-two" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    when it was on the ballot -- not just because of the chance of not giving voters a choice in the general, but because it stifles debate by cutting out third parties from the general election process, where they can get their issues at least out there in the discussion. (Sure, the chance that they'll win is slim, but open and honest debate of the problems facing us as a state and a nation is always a good thing.)

    But I wonder if the "top two" was really the reason for the low turnout, or if part of it was the lack of any major propositions -- for all we bitch about the initiative process around these parts, sometimes voters get more excited about issues than candidates.

    (Hope you caught some of that 14 inning Giants game last night; Buster Posey's homer was exceptionally handsome. ;-) )

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:34:21 AM PDT

  •  I live in CA-25 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zoom314, brunoboy

    And I'm pissed!

  •  Washington State experience (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    Washington State has had a 1st two past the post primary for quite a while and it has had ALL vote by mail for the past 4 years.

    The result is Washington is experiencing higher voter turnout and the results of elections have tended to favor Democrats (so far) but often those not necessarily anointed by parties.

    --United Citizens defeated Citizens United...This time. --

    by chipoliwog on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 12:36:20 PM PDT

  •  They're getting worred about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zoom314

    the increasing public dissatisfaction with the political system and need to cut off the potential for populist politicians to rise out of that dissatisfaction.  That's what the top-two and open primary systems do.  They dilute the power of party voters to get the candidate they want and increase the odds that a corporate-friendly candidate will win.  This plan is a response to the anxiety among the powermongers that they could lose their grip on the system.  

  •  As A Californian Who Doesn't Like This (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Hogarth, zoom314, brunoboy

    I agree this is top two primary system is bad news.  At least until Citizens United is gone and the electorate turns more liberal.

    But can we also say a word to would-be officeholders on the Democratic side in CA?  In a perfect world I think the more the merrier.  However....with this primary system in place...having too many Democrats run in the wrong district is hurting us.  Apparently some of these races have ended up with two Republicans on the final ballot because too many Democrats have run.

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

    by Bring the Lions on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 01:22:41 PM PDT

  •  The 2014 Primary Turnout (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Hogarth, zoom314

    has convinced me that top 2 is a joke.  A peculiar June primary turnout with Jerry Brown at top of the ticket assumed winner and non-controversial propositions.  It's almost as if the only chance we have is to put forward a progressive friendly proposition to have any hope at all strategically.  Also between 2012 and 2014, after hearing hype that this is an opportunity to get a progressive candidate in this way, with exceptions of very progressive districts I have not seen it happen.  And I have seen what I can best describe as "stealth" "independents" and "recent Democrats" get their way in.  I also still see joke cards claiming to be a Democratic, progressive, or even green slates still endorse in some areas very corporate interests and have yet to see true reform to get that teeny, tiny print on those cards be more prominent so of the dedicated turnout including progressive democrats still sometimes vote the wrong way, thinking these cards in the mail are official.

    Finally, at my college, a young person was pleading with me to sign the six states initiative on the ballot, even though he doesn't believe in it, because he needs to get paid.  I asked him how much it cost for a signature and started taking out my wallet, and he said he can't do that it's unethical/illegal.  I walked away and said, "well, unfortunately what you are doing is not illegal, but I'd question the ethics."

    So there's lots of room for reform in California and it is NOT top two.

  •  "Just" change the voting system... (0+ / 0-)

    All candidates from all parties go on the ballot. Voters choose all candidates they approve of. Winner is the one with most votes (possibly only if getting majority approval or some other threshold proportion of voters).

    Chances of this happening? Zero.

    This is not a sig-line.

    by Joffan on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 01:31:43 PM PDT

  •  At Large Seats by State for the House (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    A more balanced and diverse house could be developed if H of R was elected at large from states.  Each Iowan would have 4 votes to spread out among all the candidates.  The voter could split their 4 votes however they choose.  This would eliminate gerrymandering and each Rep would represent the entire state.  A Iowa City guy would get lots of votes from there and a western Iowa girl would get votes form there.  This could limit the influence of fringe groups in the primary process.

  •  The primary electorate is older and whiter than (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brunoboy, a2nite

    General. This insures disproportionate influence of whites in a state that is majority of color. Top 2 was designed to head off the increasing power of people of color who are to the left of whites generally.

    I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. Barbara Jordan

    by Lcohen on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 04:34:05 PM PDT

  •  A proponent of Top 2 in AZ admitted on TV (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Hogarth

    That they didn't care if it increased primary turnout. Former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson said it during a debate with an opponent of top two when it was pointed out to him that it has never increased turnout anywhere.

  •  As a California I disagree on nearly every point (0+ / 0-)

    That's all I have to say.

    "An egg is not poultry.” An old Blues tune's brilliant insight into the notion that a zygote can, in any sense, be "a person."

    by carbonman1950 on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 11:04:35 PM PDT

  •  I'm not sure this primary system wouldn't have (0+ / 0-)

    merits. But I do have a strong opinion about Chuck Schumer. His support of sanctions against Iran on the verge of a treaty told me that he will send your kids to die in a stupid and unnecessary war, if it means Israeli PAC and war profiteer money for him.

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