Thursday, June 07, 2012

California's New Primary System Sucks As The Old One-And Even Worse

Tuesday, out of a sickbed, your humble blogger literally took a walk across the street from the RVFTLC Bunker to do my civic duty and vote in the California presidential primary.
Well, there was absolutely no drama in that part of the vote.
Mitt Romney squeezed by the listed GOP candidates by a measly 60% over the second place finisher, Crazy Uncle Ron Paul. FTR, Mr. Romney had 80% of the Republican vote. Here is the link at the California Secretary of State website.
And the Dear Leader, President Obama, in true one-party fashion pulled off 100% of the vote as there was no other candidate on the ballot.
And how about the other races on the California ballot?
You know, for congress, senate, state assembly and state senate?
Well, it was interesting.
This is the first election in which new rules were instituted as part of the reform package regarding redistricting.
This time, no matter what party you belong to, there is one ballot for all the candidates. Thus, here is the page for all the United States senate candidates, regardless of party.

So, although not a great photo, all 24 candidates were on one page. The incumbent senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, is sixth from the top. And the Republican that one (and I voted for), Elizabeth Emken, was just below her eighth from the top.
Oh, here is how all that works.
Out of the 24 candidates, the top two vote getter's move on to the general election in November.
Now, if you go to this link at the California SOS website, you can look and see that Sen. Feinstein was the overall top vote-getter. And in second place was Mrs. Emken. So, in this case, it will be a classic Democrat vs. Republican. And if you look and shriek that Mrs. Emken only got 12.5% of the overall vote, consider that there were 14 Republicans out of the 24 candidates. and the overall percentage of the vote was 37%. Which is about seven percent more than are registered Republican in California.
Keep  this in mind. That it is the two top vote getter's, regardless of political party that move on the the general election.
So, humble blogger, does that mean that it is conceivable that two Democrats can run against each other? Or two Republicans?
Why yes dear reader. And in fact, in two So Cal congressional districts, that is indeed what has happened.
In the California district 30, two very influential Democrats that were in different districts were merged together. And of course the two big egos have to duke it out to see who would carry the Democrat banner in November.
Howard Berman, who has been in congress since 1983 and Brad Sherman, in congress since 1997 were, until this election, in separate congressional districts. Both are liberal Democrats and Jewish and represent their districts as to be expected. If there is any real difference between the two, it is a matter of style. But this time around, they had to make a choice. One of them could have ran and one outright. It is a very safe Democrat seat. But, as noted that did not happen. Both ran and as these results show, Congressman Sherman finished first and Congressman Berman finished second. Both Democrats.
Say, what about the Republican candidate, Mark Reed?
Remember, it is the top two regardless of political party that get to the general election.
Do you realize what happened here?
Republicans are totally disenfranchised because their candidate did not finish in the top two. It is not that the party chose not to run a candidate. They did and still do not get to the next round.
OK, you may say well, humble blogger, you're a Republican and it is just sour grapes.
Sort of true I guess. But no, I do believe that certain voters are disenfranchised because of the process, not the political party.
So, here is example number two to read about.
In California congressional district 31, a Republican incumbent wanted to run for another term. But, the state Republican leader in the senate also wanted to run. And like district 30, this is a very Republican district.
The players on this stage are incumbent Congressman Gary Miller, who has been in congress since 2001 and state Senator Bob Dutton who has been involved in state politics since 2003.
Like ego-driven politicos that they are, both men decided to run for the same seat, knowing that one could lose outright.
But, surprise, surprise.
Both made it to the next round as you can see here. Congressman Miller got the first spot and state Senator Dutton got the second.
Guess who's missing?
If you said the Democrat, you are correct.
Poor Pete Aguilar got screwed. Just like Mark Reed for the Republicans in district 30.
OK, this new arrangement was supposed to create more competitive districts. We are supposed to see this boat load of "centrists" from both parties emerge out of the woodwork.
Really, is that what happened here?
No. In fact, it is more protecting the two major parties and insuring that incumbents will not have to face serious challenges in the future.
Explain to me how in the 30th congressional district with two liberal Democrats running in the general election are Republicans going to care who wins? What is the incentive for either candidate to actually attract. . .Republicans? There is none. This is a Democrat district and a Democrat will win. One of these men will get some cushy job, just won't be a member of congress.
And take the above paragraph and just change it to conservative Republicans and Democrats not caring who wins.
This is not a good reform.
A better reform would be to no longer register voters by political party. It is done that way in over 30 states. Thus everyone is independent. It is up to the party to make the rules how people participate in the choosing of their candidates for elected office.
I do not like any of it, but this is not a good reform. It will not bring the "center" together.
I hope that there is a change in this for the next presidential election in 2016.

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