“Top Two” Primary – Destroying Voter Choice

2010 was the year when the Republican Party nominated horrific choices for Statewide Offices such as Meg Whitman who believed she could buy her election, Abel Maldonado who decided to ditch his taxpayer pledge with Grover Norquist, Steve Cooley, who believed Proposition 8 should be defended because it was passed by the voters, but if marijuana legalization passed with Proposition 19 Steve would refuse to defend it, which made Steve look foolish.  There was also Mike Villines, was bought and paid for by the insurance lobby and also broke his pledge to Grover as well.

the choice of a lifetime, douche or turdMany of us ended up voting for the Libertarian Party that year because we were fed up of the choices the Republican Party gave us. And thanks to Abel Maldonado and Charles Munger Jr, they gave us the turd sandwich known as Proposition 14. If you do not like what the establishment feeds us in June we have to choose between giant douche and turd sandwich in November with no ability to write in a choice.

Because of Proposition 14, we are going to have less third parties, as the Green Party, Libertarian Party and the Peace and Freedom Party will likely lose their ballot access. Minor party candidates have more roadblocks to getting on the ballot now thanks to Proposition 14,since they have to get the same amount of signatures required as Republicans and Democrats to get on the ballot for no charge – 1500 signatures for State Assembly and 3000 for congress and state senate. Before Proposition 14, minor parties only needed at most 150 signatures to get candidates on the ballot for legislative races.

Since Top 2 destroys the chance for a minor party candidate to get nominated in a general election, getting 2% in a statewide non-presidential general election, it will be much harder for parties to maintain their ballot access. If we want to preserve Top 2 and preserve ballot access, it should also be based on the minor party’s presidential candidate or the performance during the Top 2 primary to determine ballot qualified status.

Many of us do not want to live in a world where it is just Democrats, Republicans and opportunistic Decline to States who express no party preference. Third parties help deliver new ideas and help keep the major parties on course. If people do not like the war on marijuana or do not want nuclear power, they can take advantage of the different ideas expressed by the third parties in our state.

I may like Charles Munger’s quest to make the California Republican Party more electable, but Proposition 14 is more like throwing the baby with the bath water.  Even though the base of the California Republican Party may believe they are the Utah Republican Party, having third party competition does help hit home that the Republican Party does need to evolve or die in California if they want a Republican revolution to hit our state in the near future.

For Democrats living in the Republican dominated Assembly District 74, they will be likely facing two Republicans Leslie Daigle and Allan Mansoor running against each other this November. Even though proponents say this will force the candidates to reach out to non Republican Party voters aside from them sending countless political mail and robo calls, they are not doing much to find common ground with Democrats to win their vote.  Meanwhile, parties who are out of contention are just relaxing,  hoping that the fratricide ends up draining the bank accounts of their opposing party.

Top 2 is a fraud and I hope the courts end up tossing this experiment down the trash can. Forcing voters to choose a vote that they cannot believe in is very dishonest.  At least in Washington state’s Top 2 system, people who don’t run in the Top 2 primary can become write-in candidates in the general election.

Matt is a contributing writer here;  his home blog is Inland Utopia.

About Matt Munson