Monday, June 14, 2010
Open primaries--an antidote to what George Washington warned us about
California voters just enacted an initiative that sets up an open primary system in our state, modeled after Washington State's.
We voted one in years ago, but the Republican and Democratic parties joined forces to defeat it in the courts.
Apparently the people's will means nothing to either party's poo-bahs.
Now we did it again, and the Washington State law it's modeled on was vetted by the courts. Not that the Democrats and Republicans won't try to kill this one, or at least tie it up in the courts for as long as possible.
Makes a fella wonder--are these our parties or are we supposed to be their pawns?
The initiative sets up a primary process where the two top vote-getters--regardless of party--will be the two, and the only two, in the fall election.
Naturally members of the splinter parties have their tightie whities in a twist over this. But none of them have enough members to elect anyone for any state office, making their concerns purely theoretical. Of course, most of them are theoretical-type people, so for them this is the End of Western Civilization.
Among the major party faithful condemning us citizens for voting this one in was conservative eminence George F. Will. In Proposition California ensures electoral blandness he abandons any pretense of independence and stands shoulder to shoulder with his Party.
"Listen to the Fool's reproach--it is a Kingly Title."
The word "fool" doesn't mean "idiot." You can be highly intelligent and still be a fool. As this column illustrates.
Mr. Will has now made it clear that he puts his party before his country. Many Republican and Democratic zealots do this, greatly harming our country.
Well it's time to break the zealot's deathgrip on government. They do not represent a plurality of the electorate--moderates do. And this measure helps both conservatives and liberals, even as it hobbles the two parties that claim to represent these philosophies.
I'm a Democrat living in a deeply Blue congressional district in a Blue state--and married to a very conservative Republican. Up to now she has had no voice in California or national politics. In our winner take all system, her vote has zero influence.
But under prop 14 she'll get to choose between two Democrats running for state and national offices. She'll be able to vote for the more conservative candidate, and, since this is neither Berkeley nor Frisco, her choice could well win.
The Republican party is not conservative, nor is the Democratic party liberal. Each is a congeries of stances and obligations, and factions, often mutually contradictory and opposed.
My spouse is conservative, and now her conservatism has vastly more chance of being expressed politically.
Both Democratic and Republican party hacks loathed this proposition, because it opposes them interposing their organizations between the people and their government. Adopted nationwide, this law would help the minority party's voters--whether Republican or Democratic--in a majority of states.
Now we should go on and adopt, nationwide, proportional Electoral College representation. So instead of California sending all its delegates to vote for the Democratic presidential contender, and Texas sending all of its delegates to vote for the Republican, both would split their delegates proportional to the vote, district by district.
Then the parties would have to campaign in every state, and Congress and the President would be forced to address the needs and wishes of all Americans instead of just the ones in the 17 battleground states. I don't say any of this as a Democrat.
I honestly don't know whether any of this will help my party per se. I say it as a patriotic American who wants our representative government to be more, well, representative.