Tag Archives: Open Primaries

Don’t coopt the voting rights movement to whine, “independent” voters.

Wherein I express my annoyance with a certain type of holier-than-thou “independent” voter”

The New York primary took place Tuesday and a big story about it, at least on cable news and social media, was how massive numbers of “independent” voters suffered “voter suppression” due to not being able to cast a vote in the partisan primary. The deadline to change one’s party affiliation in New York (as opposed to a new voter registrant, which was last month) was all the way back in October.

I will say, from a purely partisan standpoint, that such an early deadline is a terrible rule as it impedes party building. Most people are paying little attention to the Presidential race a full year out from it, so New York political parties who agreed to the onerous deadline out of concern for voters from one party tampering with another party’s primary elections were missing the forest for the trees. Those kind of shenanigans rarely change outcomes anyway so it’s not a good idea for parties to foreclose their ability to use the Presidential primary as a way to recruit new registrants via conversion. Continue reading

Diligent voters are now the “angriest mob”, per Paul Johnson

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

johnson top two
Paul Johnson, Open and Honest Coalition

It used to be, not long ago, that voters who never missed any election were known as “good citizens”. But as the country has become more polarized and increasingly ungovernable, thanks entirely to one party (the GOP) being overtaken completely by rabid reactionaries, there is an increasing tendency by the Serious People to blame the voters for what they sat back and allowed to happen for decades*. This has certainly been the strategy of the people behind the Open “Primary”** initiative (AKA Top Two) in Arizona, which is currently getting signatures for the 2016 ballot.

The Arizona Republic has relentlessly promoted Top Two for years now, running numerous favorable articles and editorials on it since the first version (which failed) was introduced in 2012. Last Saturday, there was this softball interview with former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, a main backer of the initiative.

Why did the Open and Honest Coalition form?

The existing system discriminates against the 1.2 million voters who choose to not affiliate with a party, the largest group in Arizona. All taxpayers pay for primary elections, but independents are barred as candidates from those ballots and forced to choose a party ballot which they have already chosen to reject. Arizona had a 30-year record-low voter turnout in 2014 because voters aren’t given the freedom of choice. Continue reading

So it turns out voters want labels after all

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com


On Monday evening a Dem consultant and I got into a lengthy argument on Twitter with Chris Herstam, a former GOP legislator and current lobbyist, over the Top Two Primary proposal. Herstam was a big supporter of the measure that failed in 2012 and appears to be taking an active role in crafting and selling the “new and improved” one. Herstam is well known in Arizona political circles as a very nice guy and he has made it clear publicly that he is appalled by the hard right direction the Republicans have taken in the past several years. He seems to have a good faith belief that changing the primary system to give non-affiliated voters easier access to it will lead to more of the kind of centrists he prefers getting elected in Republican dominated districts.

After much back and forth on Twitter, it looked as though Herstam decided to delete all his tweets for some reason. I’m not sure why because he hadn’t said anything embarrassing or offensive and he was capably getting out the talking points. Herstam’s tweets were all saved in my phone, though, and one statement he made piqued my interest:

Chris Herstam (@chrisherstam) tweeted at 7:16 PM on Mon, Nov 23, 2015: @DonnaDiva @XXXXXX. Polling demonstrated that citizens preferred some guidance via registered status.Of course Sen Begay screws that up.

Continue reading

GOP chair paints Top Two Primary and anti-Dark Money initiatives as the work of dirty hippies

Robert Graham
Robert Graham

Per AZGOP Chair Robert Graham in the AZ Capitol Times:

The Arizona Capitol Times recently reported the same people behind the failed jungle primary initiative in 2012 plan on taking another run at it in 2016. Only this time jungle primary supporters intend to team up with another group of liberals pushing an aggressive regulatory agenda designed to relieve Arizonans of our free speech rights—all under the guise of eliminating so-called dark money.

Ouch! That’s bound to leave a mark on the carefully-crafted “we’re so above the extremists on both sides!” image of the Open Primaries people. Graham’s oped is clearly signalling how conservatives plan to defeat both Top Two primaries and Terry Goddard’s Dark Money initiative – by painting both as acts of desperation by sore loser leftists.

No, really, Graham says so (though he admits the two measures are unrelated):

The supporters pushing this initiative are losing candidates who have proven incapable of winning elections in Arizona. Paul Johnson and Terry Goddard, the two people behind the jungle primary and the attack on free speech, have a combined staggering six losses in statewide races. Continue reading

What is Terry Goddard thinking??

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

open primaries dark money
Already trying to make them look similar. Except they’re not. Not even remotely.

Ugh. (Emphasis mine.)

“They both help each other,” [Paul] Johnson said. “The polling was very clear. If they both end up on (the ballot), even through independent efforts, they both help each other.”
More public support may be just what Open Primaries Arizona needs. When Johnson ran a top-two primary measure in 2012, it suffered a landslide defeat. Two-thirds of Arizonans rejected the plan, which garnered only 33 percent of the vote. Johnson’s group is making some changes to the top-two plan, which he said will make it more palatable to voters.

Open Primaries Arizona has commissioned several polls on the top-two primary and other election reforms, including requiring dark money to be disclosed, as other election spending is. Chuck Coughlin of HighGround, which Johnson’s group has retained (!), said polling has shown a lot of support for both ideas.

Continue reading

So many people with much disposable income want to spend it on behalf of white supremacists

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

david duke

Remember how we’ve been told, lo these many years, that the reason for all the “extremism” in Congress and in state governments is that unwashed yokels wrested democracy from the capable hands of Serious Business People™ and were somehow able to put their petty culture war concerns ahead of The Very Important Things That Serious Business People™ Care About. Thus we are told we must eliminate public campaign financing (at least from states, e.g. Arizona, whose benighted voters are deemed unable to handle it by NYT columnists). We are told that primary elections must be changed because the conventional wisdom (which is never wrong) holds that yokels voting in closed primaries are ruining everything. Above all, we simply must impress upon these truculent yokels the need for civility in our public discourse! These things, surely, will lead to a glorious era of temperance where country club Republicans politely sip tea with centrist Democrats!

Sure they will. Continue reading