My readers know by now that my true passion is in analysis and not in partisan bickering. At the end of the day what counts more than anything is the impact your ideas have made on the real world. Internal bickering over members or the like tends to detract from that. The struggles of late within the LP have been keeping me away, for example, from taking a closer look at the budget battles going on in Sacto, for example. This is highly annoying to me.
But there are times when the world of legislative analysis and the world of partisanship collide with a sickening thud. Tbis is such a time.
The latest system being proposed to sort out candidates between the primary and November is called the “top-two” system. Basically you get to vote for anyone you want to in the primary, from any party, and the top two people get the slots for November.
Sounds like a nice way to save paper, right?
What we’re learning is that all it really does is two things. It just about totally prevents a minor-party candidate, even a relatively strong one, from having any chance at all. Since ballot access in many states is tied to electoral totals in November, it would effectively bar minor parties from competing for the foreseeable future. The other thing it would do is that in some areas and in some races, it would feature either 2 Dems or 2 GOP candidates. This could prevent a late challenger like Bill Hedrick from effectively challenging someone like Calvert. Hedrick didn’t succeed but he came very close. It could solidify power in areas that tend to be convincingly one way or the other.
We happen to know these are facts because unfortunately all of this passed up in Washington State and is currently in the litigation stage. Unfortunately the Demopublicans are seeing this as a new weapon to add to ballot access law to shut the third parties out of the national debate. They don’t want to lose their power plays and so this is their latest weapon.
Top-two is trying to spread. A Democrat named Peace down here had a ballot petition taken out but later rescinded it, For now, CA does not have a top-two proposal in the works. However Ahnold has indicated that he might be in favor of such a system so it probably won’t be long before we see something in the works.
And that’s just two states.
So here comes my plea. While we’ve been spending vast amounts of LNC time debating the actual threat of The Keaton, top-two proponents are threatening to shut down our Party’s effectiveness for good. While BTP people have been focused on a variety of internal problems, top-two could completely prevent their Party from even getting off the groumd. While I don’t know the internal threats of, say, the Peace and Freedom, the Greens, or the CP, I am sure there are struggles there.
We need to start forming a team of people interested in legislative matters nationwide. There is no longer any time to waste. Good lobbying efforts got a similar measure defeated in Oregon. This can be a good thing for Party building too because when you spend time looking at and speaking out on real life legislation, your reputation grows. Argue well, and you gain respect. I know this happened in Colorado, to the point where the Colorado LP has a standing executive spot for their Legislative Director.
Start talking. Talk to your friends. Let’s assemble a team to defeat top-two and other laws that threaten our very political existence, and work to defeat evil laws of all stripes.