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California to Institute Open Primaries in Win for Schwarzenegger

4 years ago
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Expect the unexpected in California politics. On Tuesday, voters took a step away from bitter partisan primaries, deciding to hold "open primaries" in the future, wherein the top two finishers -- regardless of party affiliation -- would face off in November elections.

Under the "top two" system, promoted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, Republicans could wind up running against Republicans and Democrats against Democrats in future general elections. A similar model is already in play in Washington state and has also been used in various local jurisdictions.
California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and Gov. Schwarzenegger
The idea is to diffuse the extremes in both parties that tend to influence primaries and push candidates farther to the right or left of the political spectrum. But there is little data to show whether that would be the result. "There's just not much evidence that it adjusts the ideology of elected officials that much," Public Policy Institute of California Fellow Eric McGhee told the Washington Post.

Party regulars on both sides opposed to the ballot issue and were dismayed by the vote. California GOP spokesman Mark Standriff told the Post, "We're going to disenfranchise 5.3 million Republican voters who should have a voice in who their nominee is." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, also argued against the change, which establishes the "top two" system for most state and federal contests, but not presidential races.

The proposition passed easily and could go into effect in the 2012 primary. But this being California, it isn't over; a legal challenge is a near certainty.

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9 Comments

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ddan8719

Not a big surprise from california..where anything is possible, including appointing a new king of california..that would retain complete control of there lives..This also would be no big surprise..

June 10 2010 at 11:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
middleground2010

Just as the article stated, there will probably be a legal challenge. Once again, forget what the people want, this isn't what the major political partys want, so let's challenge it and wipe it off the books. The reason is simple. With the new law, there is a chance that two people from the same party will be on the NOV ballot excluding all other partys and no political party wants that.
With the new law, we can now ignore party lines and vote for the person we feel is the best candidate. What I like most about this is that the far left and far right candidates will have a more difficult time getting votes from centralists. In my opinion, people to far to either side of the middle have put this state and this country in the dire position it is now.

June 10 2010 at 8:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
catalogsplus

Yeah, sure, this is going to 'diffuse the extremes' political parties go to, to get their candidates elected. lol It's far more likely parties will just start the nasty mudslinging sooner to try to eliminate their competition on both sides earlier.

June 10 2010 at 11:02 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
sroach8577

Califorina is so messed up it won't matter how, or who, they elect an official. No matter the party the state WILL HAVE TO CUT SPENDING. BIG TIME! Hey OBAMA, learn from Califorina, please!

June 10 2010 at 10:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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