Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Top Two primary digest (what has been said)

First off, some bad predicting from Andrew up at the NPI blog:
They haven't won anything yet. If they lose - and they're likely to - the door will be slammed for good on that lousy system that no other state, save for maybe Louisiana, uses. The leaders of both the state Republican and Democratic parties have expressed confidence that the Supreme Court of the United States will uphold the lower court rulings invalidating the "Top Two" primary.
That hour of oral argument will be heard tomorrow morning, and in a few months, the Court will announce its decision in Wash. State Republican Party, et al. v. State of Washington, et al. If history is any indication, Reed and the Grange are bound to be disappointed when the Court's opinion is issued - and the rights of those who belong to a political party will be upheld.
The Other Side points out the funny election we would have had in 1996:
In 1996, the top candidates were Gary Locke, Norm Rice and Ellen Craswell. Under this new system, Gary Locke and Norm Rice would’ve made it to the general leaving no GOP candidate.
So, who were the real choices in 1996? A farfarfar right-wing Republican who eventually abandoned her party or a two King County political chieftains, one moderately progressive and other a center-left business Democrat? I'd say the Top Two would have had it right in 1996.

And, Goldy is swearing a lot, but here is one of his clearer points:
The whole purpose of a primary election is to enable the parties to choose their candidates through more democratic means, rather than via smoke filled rooms. Now that you’ve done away with that, and entirely removed the parties from the nominating process, we might as well skip the primary and go straight to a general election… that way the ultimate winner can be chosen on a ballot that folks actually turnout for.
He's right in the sense of the historical meaning of primaries, though the original intent of the traditional Washington primary was to remove parties and their smoke filled rooms from the primary election. Though he is wrong about the Top Two taking the power of nomination away from the parties.

They can still nominate, it just means that their nominee might not make the general. I'll write more about this later, but parties just have to make their nominations mean something.

And, some stuff I wrote back in the day:

The best argument against a closed primary
Open primary grandstanding
Participatory democracy and caucuses
So, who's to say that the parties can't live with the Top Two

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An instant runoff voting system (like Pierce County uses) would solve many of the concerns about ballot access the political parties have under a top-two system, solve many of the concerns the public has about self-identifying with a party, and solve many of the problems intra-party runner-up candidates have about the party-centric primary system. So why are we bickering about the form the primary takes? Why aren't we saving the millions of dollars and spending it on something useful?