CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

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highdesert
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CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#1 Post by highdesert » Thu May 31, 2018 1:34 pm

The latest voter registration numbers show the CA Republicans are now in third place statewide, CA Democrats and Independents hold the top two spots in registration.

Vox has a good article on the top two primary mess.
California's primary elections on June 5 will be one of the most consequential — and bizarre — contests of the entire primary season. The Golden State is crucial to Democrats’ effort to retake the House — Republicans currently hold a whopping seven districts Hillary Clinton won, and Democrats are eager to pry them away. The bizarreness, though, stems from California’s extremely unusual “top two” primary system — which pits all candidates of all parties against each other and lets only the first- and second-place finishers move on to the general election.

Often, the top two finishers are one Republican and one Democrat, setting up a normal partisan general election contest. But the top two can also be two candidates from the same party, which would lock in the partisan outcome of a race months in advance. This year, Democrats are anxious that they will end up shut out of several key House races where they have multiple candidates running — which could badly hurt their chances of retaking the chamber. Republicans, meanwhile, dread being locked out of the governor’s race, an open contest now that Gov. Jerry Brown is term-limited out. They fear that would depress their voters’ turnout this fall.

So naturally, both parties are furiously trying to game the system. Each is trying to make sure its votes are as concentrated as possible while the other party’s are divided. But those pesky candidates have minds of their own and often defy their own parties’ wishes. “It has the feeling of one of those civil wars in the Middle Ages, where the king is fighting against barons and there’s multiple alliances that form and collapse,” says Eric McGhee, a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. “It’s a lot less straightforward than just you got your Democrat, you got your Republican. It’s sort of organized chaos.”
But there is a way the top-two system can go quite awry. Sometimes, in districts that are politically divided, two candidates from the same party can end up making it through the primary, due to unusual vote splits. Let’s say there’s a congressional primary where about 51 percent of the vote goes to Republicans and 49 percent to Democrats. One would think a Republican versus Democrat top-two matchup would best represent voters’ preferences in this swing district.

But think of the total primary vote as a pie. The candidates are all trying to get slices of that pie, and whoever gets the two biggest slices wins. How much of the pie each party gets doesn’t matter. So if that 51 percent for the GOP is split among two candidates and that 49 percent for Democrats is split among, say, four candidates — then the first- and second-place finishers could well be the two Republicans. This isn’t just hypothetical — it happened in California’s 31st District in 2012. The two Republicans got 26.7 percent and 24.8 percent of the vote. The top Democrat got 22.6 percent, with the rest of the vote (totaling 25.9 percent) being split among three other Democrats, so the party was shut out of the general election for the House in a district Barack Obama ended up winning handily.
https://www.vox.com/2018/5/29/17381244/ ... -primaries


CNN looks at key races.
California voters go to the polls Tuesday in the state's top-two primary, where the top two finishers will advance to the November ballot. But with so many candidates running in the most competitive races, there's a chance the vote will be splintered among the Democratic candidates -- creating a scenario where two Republicans could advance to the November ballot. Will Democratic enthusiasm be a blessing or a curse? We'll find out Tuesday night in these races:
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/31/politics ... index.html
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#2 Post by featureless » Thu May 31, 2018 1:53 pm

The voting guide this year is a gawdawful mess. I worked on process of elimination last night to narrow it down.

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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#3 Post by highdesert » Thu May 31, 2018 2:44 pm

featureless wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:53 pm
The voting guide this year is a gawdawful mess. I worked on process of elimination last night to narrow it down.
Are you referring to the county one or the state one? I went through them both the end of May, not too many ballot propositions this time, we'll have more in November and then there is county and city ones. Looks like Newsom wants to run against Cox (R) and is trying to knock out Villaragosa (D) in 2nd place for governor. Latest polls show Newsom #1 and Cox #2.

https://realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#4 Post by DougMasters » Thu May 31, 2018 2:46 pm

With the Democrats doing what they've been doing EVERYTHING is a problem for democrats.

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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#5 Post by featureless » Thu May 31, 2018 3:00 pm

highdesert wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:44 pm
featureless wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:53 pm
The voting guide this year is a gawdawful mess. I worked on process of elimination last night to narrow it down.
Are you referring to the county one or the state one? I went through them both the end of May, not too many ballot propositions this time, we'll have more in November and then there is county and city ones. Looks like Newsom wants to run against Cox (R) and is trying to knock out Villaragosa (D) in 2nd place for governor. Latest polls show Newsom #1 and Cox #2.

https://realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/
The state one. I can't believe how many candidates there are. Many didn't even bother to prepare/pay for a statement.

Yeah, the three biggest turds are at the top. How unusual. I really can't stand Newsom. :ras:

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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#6 Post by highdesert » Thu May 31, 2018 3:22 pm

featureless wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 3:00 pm
highdesert wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:44 pm
featureless wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:53 pm
The voting guide this year is a gawdawful mess. I worked on process of elimination last night to narrow it down.
Are you referring to the county one or the state one? I went through them both the end of May, not too many ballot propositions this time, we'll have more in November and then there is county and city ones. Looks like Newsom wants to run against Cox (R) and is trying to knock out Villaragosa (D) in 2nd place for governor. Latest polls show Newsom #1 and Cox #2.

https://realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/
The state one. I can't believe how many candidates there are. Many didn't even bother to prepare/pay for a statement.

Yeah, the three biggest turds are at the top. How unusual. I really can't stand Newsom. :ras:
Same here and Villaraigosa is being kept alive by big donors who want more charter schools in CA. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction race also has charter school money supporting Marshall Tuck. My county guide also had missing candidate statements because candidates didn't pay for them. Frustrating and my mail is chuck full of political mailers, I get them for all the parties. Good Luck !
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#7 Post by eelj » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:19 pm

The California system seems to be a good system to develop a party machine. In Mn the primary election is open and it will determine one candidate for each office from each major party. Minor parties have other outlets to get on the November ballot. The only other place where I have seen elections where all of the candidates are from the same party is New Orleans, although I'm sure there is more.

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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#8 Post by highdesert » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:40 pm

eelj wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:19 pm
The California system seems to be a good system to develop a party machine. In Mn the primary election is open and it will determine one candidate for each office from each major party. Minor parties have other outlets to get on the November ballot. The only other place where I have seen elections where all of the candidates are from the same party is New Orleans, although I'm sure there is more.
IIRC the top two primary system in CA was the idea of a Republican lieutenant governor Abel Mladonado, who was a moderate. There is a petition circulating to abolish it "Stop Top 2", don't know how far along they got, it's bipartisan. It has to go to the voters to repeal it because it's a change to the CA Constitution.

https://www.stoptop2.com
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#9 Post by K9s » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:13 pm

I read recently that California republican party is now a third party (Dems and NPP are top two choices). The republicans might want that Stop Top 2 so they can pretend to remain relevant?

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/ar ... 961604.php

"Republicans now are the third largest “party” in California, with the fast-growing number of independent voters eclipsing the sinking GOP membership figures in a report released Friday by the secretary of state.

Democrats now make up 44.4 percent of California’s 19 million registered voters, with no-party-preference voters at 25.5 percent and Republicans at 25.1 percent. The GOP has 83,518 fewer members than the group of voters who reject party labels altogether."
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#10 Post by highdesert » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:06 pm

K9s wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:13 pm
I read recently that California republican party is now a third party (Dems and NPP are top two choices). The republicans might want that Stop Top 2 so they can pretend to remain relevant?

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/ar ... 961604.php

"Republicans now are the third largest “party” in California, with the fast-growing number of independent voters eclipsing the sinking GOP membership figures in a report released Friday by the secretary of state.

Democrats now make up 44.4 percent of California’s 19 million registered voters, with no-party-preference voters at 25.5 percent and Republicans at 25.1 percent. The GOP has 83,518 fewer members than the group of voters who reject party labels altogether."
Not really surprising, I think most people noticed it when Republicans weren't winning any statewide offices. For years the California Republican Assembly (CRA) dominated the CA Rep Party and Republicans who won office in more urban areas tended to run to the left of the CRA. Richard Riordan (LA Mayor) and Arnold Schwarzenegger were more moderate than the CRA. What the CRA believes: http://cragop.org/what-we-believe/

NPP (independent) voters have increased, but if you analyze independents you get partisans who consistently vote Democratic or Republican and a smaller set who do mixed voting. I wouldn't be surprised if NPP overtakes the Democrats and becomes the largest registration category sometime in the future. People want new ideas not the same tired old party talking points.
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#11 Post by eelj » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:46 pm

Anybody know the actual average voter turn out is for the primary in California?

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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#12 Post by K9s » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:51 pm

I think that might be a good thing. However, in some states, they have closed primaries so that Independents/NPP cannot vote in primaries. I think open primaries give everyone a better way to express their votes. At least that is how I feel about open primaries here.

California is very unique. What works there isn't for every state. I am glad we have California to balance out Texas and other ruby red states.
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#13 Post by K9s » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:53 pm

eelj wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:46 pm
Anybody know the actual average voter turn out is for the primary in California?
Good question. I can tell you that Georgia primary turnout was huge! I assume that we will hear all those statistics after the Tuesday primaries.
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#14 Post by highdesert » Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:18 pm

eelj wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:46 pm
Anybody know the actual average voter turn out is for the primary in California?
Yes a good question, according to this LA Times article it's been very low in CA.
By the time California's primary election day arrives in June, it's possible the state will be very close to having 20 million registered voters — a historic milestone that state elections officials reported last week is within sight.

Don't applaud just yet. The history of modern California politics suggests as many as two-thirds of those voters won't even cast a ballot next month.
A large part of the story is the disappearance of unaffiliated "independent" voters in primaries. The research suggests as many as 3.5 million of them might skip the June election. And because most of them lean Democratic (they are not nonpartisan, just loosely partisan), that's another boost for Republicans.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol- ... story.html
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#15 Post by K9s » Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:35 pm

Very interesting!

It states that 'history' suggests a low turnout. That's what we were told, but turnout was very high. I won't believe the low turnout forecasts until it happens.
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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#16 Post by eelj » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:36 pm

Not many people showing up is bad, apparently the primary is more important than the actual election.

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Re: CA's top two primary system could be problematic for Democrats

#17 Post by highdesert » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:26 pm

Some speculation by Chris Cillizza at CNN: "If the country used California's weird primary system, Trump probably wouldn't be President"
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/02/politics ... index.html
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