Tag Archives: top two primaries

Democrats appear to be in a good position after California primary

Ahead of Tuesday’s primaries there was a lot of anxiety about California’s jungle primary could prevent Democrats from taking back the House, but the early returns are cautiously optimistic (there are still many ballots to be counted).

Based upon the current results of the California primary, it appears that there will be a Democrat running in every statewide race, and in almost every congressional district (Democrats appear “locked out” only in the East Desert District 8).

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the favorite of the California Democratic Party’s core liberal base, got the matchup he wanted with John Cox, a carpetbagger multimillionaire Republican perennial candidate from Illinois who recently moved to California and hitched himself to the far-right policies of President Trump. The results are a stunning defeat for former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, representing the fall of a politician who embodied the growing power of the Latino electorate when he was elected mayor in 2005. It’s Newsom vs. Cox in November as Villaraigosa tumbles in governor’s race.

The Los Angeles Times editorializes, What the June primary tells us about California’s top-two system:

It’s the day after California’s primary election, and although dawn broke on clear winners in some races — most notably the gubernatorial race, where Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox prevailed — others are still up in the air and may remain so for days.

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Robert Robb is correct, but also mistaken, in his analysis of Top Two Primary.

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

johnson top two
Photo: Arizona Republic

Robert Robb makes a logically consistent, persuasive, and correct argument (sort of) in favor of the 2016 Top Two Primary initiative in Arizona:

The principal objective of the top-two primary initiative shouldn’t be sugarcoated.

It isn’t to increase voter turnout or eliminate discriminatory barriers to independent candidates. Those might be desired byproducts. But they are not the main event.

The principal objective, the main event, is to reduce the influence of conservative Republicans in state government and politics. Those who don’t like the outcomes of Arizona elections want to change those outcomes by changing the rules.

It’s really about reducing conservative power

Plainly stating the principal objective shouldn’t settle the argument, even for conservative Republicans. For there is something else that should be plainly stated: The current system of partisan primaries doesn’t fit today’s political demography in Arizona.

Under the current system, state law establishes conditions for having a political party recognized. Taxpayers pay for recognized parties to hold primary elections to select their general election candidates. Parties get other advantages, such as preferential access to the voter roll.

Robb is correct that claims of Top Two increasing turnout or helping “independent” candidates get elected are howlers to people who pay anything resembling close attention to Arizona elections but possibly plausible to those who don’t, hence such claims being at the forefront of selling the initiative to the general public and certain gullible pundits.

And Robb is on point with his assertion that the traditional primary system does not reflect current registration figures (a third of the state’s voters are not officially affiliated with any party) and the case he makes for removing taxpayer funding of partisan primaries is a solid one. It is objectively the best argument for changing to an open primary system.

So far, so good, but here’s where even Robb, who has thus far evaluated the initiative in the most clear-headed manner of anyone in the news media, gets it wrong: Continue reading

ASU’s Morrison Institute pushes Top Two Primary with study on “independent” voters

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com


The inimitable Jay Smooth explains, via rapper T-Pain and Sean Hannity, why you can’t possibly know more about politics than people who pay attention if you don’t pay attention.

In case the embedded video doesn’t play.

ASU’s Morrison Institute issued a study of the elusive “independent voters” in Arizona. It was commissioned by the Clean Elections Commission and was pretty comprehensive (albeit with what I consider to be some gaps that I’ll get to in a bit) in that it included several focus groups and surveys and it asked what I believe is the pertinent question about this group of voters:

Are independent voters truly an untapped resource that could determine elections, aiding in the transformation of Arizona from a conservative “red state” into a “purple” moderate state or even more progressive “blue state?” Or, with no organization and a track record of poor turnout in both primary and general elections, are independents a much-ado-about-nothing “party” of non-participants?

I’m going with the latter, and not just based on my own frustrating personal experience with these voters. Oh no, thanks to this study we now have empirical evidence to go on. They not only don’t vote:

We know actual voter turnout is significantly lower than survey respondents indicate because voters tend to overstate their voting behavior – primarily because it is socially unacceptable to admit to not voting. 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

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