Sunday, May 22, 2011

California Top Two Open Primary: Now You're in a New World!

California's first top two open primary results (and lest we forget, the activity and the hard-fought grassroots movement that spoke to our national increasingly independent political dismay over the past 15 years, the people who gathered thousands upon thousands of signatures to get on the ballot and engineered a win by referendum (California Proposition 14) in a partisan primary in the state of California, to allow independents to vote in primaries -- INDEED, let's try to be straight here -- to include all voters and attempt to do away with partisan primaries and party privilege altogether, AND which WON at the ballot box in June 2010, has now seen its first practical results last week.

And not surprisingly, made some select headlines this week, notably: "Now you're in a new world..." and "leading the people in the purple T-shirts to push the Republican Party to the middle..." Note to Dan Morain and Ben Tulchin -- good luck gaming Top Two for Dems, Repubs and ideologues (aka "moderates"...)

Word to the wise:  Talk with some independents who are building the real on-the-ground movement of serious political independents who don't so much cotton to "moving" any political party anywhere. That's a partisan fantasy. We're looking to take over the political means of production. We're talking to each other and making plans. We're grassroots and gathering numbers, strategy, strength and, frankly, a national moral high ground. Pay attention! Look!


CALIFORNIA TOP TWO OPEN PRIMARY
  • Analysis: Brown returns to inside game of wooing Republicans (By Steven Harmon, Contra Costa Times) "There might be some protection money to protect a moderate vote," said Ben Tulchin, a Democratic pollster. "Before, with a closed primary in a conservative district, you couldn't do anything to dislodge them. But you're in a new world now. We'll have new districts and with open primaries, the threat from the right is smaller ---- you won't get taken out in a primary. If you're a moderate, you'll have a better chance of winning."
  • Dan Morain: SEIU leader wants to prod GOP to the center (By Dan Morain, Sac Bee) Although the 2012 primary is a year away, Kieffer is focusing on new open primary rules, understanding that the system can be gamed in ways that could force conservatives into losing fights with moderates... For 20 years, the SEIU has played almost exclusively in Democratic politics. More than any other interest group, the union drove the party hard to the left. Now Kieffer is leading the people in the purple T-shirts to push the Republican Party to the middle, understanding, as he does, purple is a combination of red and blue, the colors of the two parties.
And in the meantime, below is the usual negative commentary from Richard Winger's anti-Top Two campaign which he promotes on his otherwise excellent round-up of practical, legislative and media sources that might fuel a movement to turn the country around and open up the political system... Too bad...
  • Commentary on California’s Experience with “Top-Two” in Recent Congressional Election (Ballot Access News) SEE following 3 articles linked to BAN
  • California’s Open Primary: An Open Can of Worms? (BILL WHALEN, Advancing a Free Society, Hoover Institution/Stanford University) Judging by the results, Californians might want to take a mulligan on last year’s Prop 14 vote. In a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 18%, the surprise outcome was a July runoff between . . . a Democrat and a Republican. Not a principled Democrat who ran on health care or foreign policy, mind you, but one whose strategy was to purposely dilute the progressive vote. As for the Republican, he’s a little-known advertising exec whose stem-the-tidal-wave-of-red-ink ad was music to the Tea Partiers’ ears: two kids at a lemonade stand, getting socked by a $427,000 tax bill (each kid’s share of the $14 trillion national debt). In other words, a runoff between two pols not to be mistaken for a couple of holier-than-thou moderates.
  • Open primary in CA: adios, democracy (T.A. Barnhart, Blue Oregon) I have been unstinting in my criticism of “open primaries”. I voted against a Portland School District candidate because he had been endorsed by Phil Kiesling, who keeps trying to flog this anti-democratic idea in Portland. I have argued against “open primaries” (which can take various forms but all have the same outcomes) for two reasons: political parties should be free to select their nominees for public office without intrusion from non-members, and small “third” parties will be obliterated./
  • Legal case against Top Two Primaries, Proposition 14 and SB 6 - Richard Winger and Gautam Dutta (Green Party of California co-spokesperson Michael Feinstein YouTube Channel)
UTAH OPEN PRIMARY VS. CAUCUS
OUR VIEW: Voters should choose candidates (By Standard-Examiner Editorial Board) Utah's political parties should move to a primary system to select candidates for office. A state convention that allows a tiny percentage of party members to select candidates is exclusionary. An open primary winner would better represent the values and beliefs of the voters he represents.

ARIZONA OPEN PRIMARY
Arizona's political center yet to find a voice (DAILY SUN EDITORIAL BOARD) In other words, at least two-thirds of the lawmakers in the next session are likely to come from districts where the outcome is not only decided in the primary but decided in favor of a party ideologue -- moderate candidates just can't seem to turn out enough supporters in August to finish any better than second. That's why we continue to push for an open primary for all parties, with the top two finishers going on to the general election in November. That way, the second-place finisher in a primary in a lopsided district -- the norm in Arizona -- at least gets a chance to appeal to a broader electorate not once but twice -- in the primary and the general election.

NEW YORK
  • NY-26: At T - 3 Days, Poll Says Hochul Leads (BY CELESTE KATZ, Daily News/Daily Politics) Siena: "Viewed more favorably than Corwin or independent Jack Davis, Hochul has moved  from trailing Corwin by five points, 36 to 31% in Siena’s April 29 poll to having a lead three days  before the election. Davis has dropped as the choice of likely voters from 23 to only 12%." Green Party candidate Ian Murphy registers 1% support, with 7% of respondents undecided.
  • Analysis: Gay marriage in NY hits stumbling blocks (by Michael Gormley, AP, Seattle Post Intelligencer) Frank MacKay, the influential chairman of the state Independence Party, told The Associated Press last week that he personally supports gay marriage. He noted the state's third largest party opposes "discrimination and prejudice in all its myriad forms." That could counter pressure from state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, who said lawmakers voting for gay marriage won't carry his line.

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