Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Andrew on: His thoughts on the Top Two

If there was any question at all about how Andrew from Redmond feels about the Top Two primary, that's all cleared up. The guy hates it.

And how.

Ok, so he writes a very long post about how the Top Two is very bad, so I'm just going to wade into this and see where I end up. It looks like we'll just go rant for rant.

One of the problems with how the Top Two is rolling out is that the parties are asking local organizations to hold nominating conventions. I've said, and others as well, that these conventions are a tool to be used later when the parties move to have the Supreme Court reconsider their decision.

Andrew is much kinder to the state Dems intentions, saying rather they are "gamely fighting to ensure that there will be somebody carrying the party's banner." Oh, I'd say they're creating an official record for the court that the Top Two hurts their freedom of association.

Later on, Andrew writes this:

Meanwhile, the 36th Legislative District has refused to even hold a nominating convention. The two Democrats running there are John Burbank and Reuven Carlyle. Its leaders, who aren't giving their district's precinct committee officers much credit, argue that having only PCOs pick the nominee isn't democratic.

I enjoyed reading that local party leaders thought giving a decision over to PCOs would be undemocratic. Which, it really would be. If the 36th LD holds to the average of King County, their PCOs really weren't elected in a Democratic fashion. Last time I checked, less than a third of the possible PCOs positions across the county were elected and less than 2 percent of all the positions available were contested. The rest of the PCOs now serving in the 36th and across King County are appointed.

I wish it weren't this way, but handing a decision over to PCOs to decide is necessarily undemocratic because of the lack of participation in PCO elections.

There is a central question that I run into when I talk about this issue with folks who aren't involved in party politics. They wonder why the state of Washington should pay for what party activists argue is a private party function.


The choice belongs to the people of our party. It's too expensive to hold special caucuses in every jurisdiction every year. And they don't attract the numbers that a presidential caucus does. That is why we really need the open primary.
The choice belongs to the people of the party, but we can't pay for it. We need the state to pay for our private party function.

Well, I'll agree, we don't have enough money to pay for precinct caucuses every time we want to nominate someone. We also don't have the volunteers. We do have enough money (collectively) to run campaigns, put televisions ads up and pay consultants.

What we don't have the structure, resources or people to actually get people involved in our organization. We may sound grassroots, but we're not. Very few people actually participated in our caucuses as compared to voter turnout in other elections, and we barely had the capacity for that.

I can see why people don't like the open primary, or any system that gives too much control to parties in Washington. They don't trust us because they aren't part of us.

No comments: