My California readers now have a chance to see the result of Prop 14 manifest on their sample ballots.  I do not enjoy being proven right
in this case, but have to make sure that anyone who WANTS to understand this has a chance to have it explained, so here goes:

Look at the candidates for U.S. Senate on your sample ballot for the June primary.  24 candidates.  The same 24 are all on your ballot regardless of your party registration:

14 Republicans
6 Democrats
2 Peace & Freedom
1 American Independent
1 Libertarian

This is sort of a condensed version of the Gubernatorial recall election that we had back in 2003.  Remember that?  Of course, not.

60% of the voters don’t even remember their own zip codes.  How could they remember the names of any
politicians who aren’t blasted all over the tv every day?

Back in 2003, as the remarkably unpopular Gray Davis was being recalled, we had well over 100 candidates running to replace him.  Who won?  The movie star.  The guy with overwhelming name recognition.

So what will be the result this June, as only the top two vote-getters will be chosen for the general election in November?  Democrats will, for the most part, just scan for Dianne Feinstein’s name, the incumbent, the ONLY Dem on the ballot with any name recognition to speak of.

The only well-known name among the Reps is maybe Orly Taitz.  Remember her?  Google her if you don’t.  Really.  Stop reading right now and Google her.

The smaller parties’ candidates will get their usual 1 or 2%, maybe a little more, because there’s no Green running and the Greens will probably vote for P&F, but there are two of those.  No chance at all that a “third” party candidate will make it into the #2 spot.

It’s possible that, among the non-Feinstein candidates, no one will get more than 20% of the vote.  Do you understand what kind of nutjob could get 20%, if the nutjob has just the slightest bit of name-recognition against a bunch of unknowns?

Do I need to remind you that about 30% of Americans STILL think
Saddam Hussein planned 9/11?  There is a decent chance that we will see Orly Taitz vs Feinstein in November..

This is exactly what I was trying to tell everybody when the “Open Primary” thing was on the ballot.  It really should have been called the “Top Two” initiative.  There was also something glaringly missing in the summary given for it.  It DID say:.

…only the two candidates receiving the greatest number
of votes in the primary will appear on the general election
ballot regardless of party preference.

Here’s what it did NOT say:

…only the two candidates receiving the greatest number of
votes in the primary will appear on the general election ballot

If there were 1,000 candidates, and no one received more than 1% of the vote, only someone receiving 1% and someone receiving 0.9% would move on to the general election ballot.  That’s what Prop 14, which I know some of you voted for, says.  That’s the law in California.

Congratulations.  You got what you voted for.

If anyone really wanted a better election system, they would propose IRV, but there aren’t any big money interests that want a better system.  They want one they can control, and that means making sure only the best-known candidates, those with the most advertising behind them, even get onto the ballot in November.  That was the intent of Prop 14 from the start.  But they just might get an Orly Taitz out of it.

“But we’ve seen crazy nominees among the Reps in all kinds of elections.  How is this any more likely than under the old system?”

…I hear you say.

a couple of differences:

(1)  Crossover sabotage.  I have no doubt that many Dems, confident that Feinstein will end up in the “top two”, will vote for Orly just for the fun of it.  Under the old “closed” primary, only people registered with a given party could vote on that party’s candidates.  People connected to the party are more likely to listen to whatever they have in the way of leaders, who might have a clue who the non-crazies are.  With an “open” primary, active party members are more easily overwhelmed by votes from outside the party.

(2)  No “third” parties appearing on the November ballot at all, ever.  Under the old system, there was usually one candidate nominated by each of five or six parties on the ballot in November.  Now, there will never be more than two, and they might be from the same party.  Two things about this:

– Some day, both the Dems and the Reps are likely to come up with an Orly, or there could be two Orlys on the November ballot from the same party.  You might think all “third” parties are crazy, but Orly puts most of them to shame.  The chances of getting a non-crazy from among five or six is much greater than between only two.

– One way that a party maintains its ballot access is by receiving a certain percentage of the vote in a general election.  Primaries don’t count.  With no “third” party candidate ever being listed in a general election ever again, they’re left with only one way to stay alive, under the Elections Code:  registration numbers.

That last item is likely to have been a major motive for Prop 14 to begin with.

But what’s most important to remember, though I know voters won’t, is that Prop 14’s proponents told us that it would lead to “more moderate” candidates on the November ballot.

Yeah, we’ll see.

So comment.  Tell me I’m wrong.

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12 Responses to SEE IF I’M RIGHT

  1. sharon says:

    that is so funny and horribly true.

  2. Tian says:

    One of the fundamental tenants of science is that gravity sucks. Every time I drop a coin the sound of it hitting the ground reminds me again that the laws of physics still work. Doesn’t matter how good you are at explaining it, that’s still true.

    • Tian says:

      A good thing about top two is that anybody can vote for any candidate, and anybody can sign anybody’s ballot access petition. Makes party matter a lot less in some ways. I think the solution for the greens is to be the movement party. Stop voting for oil companies at the gas pump! One dollar one vote real time democracy!

  3. When did things go so wrong? So terribly wrong? I’m flabbergasted. NYS doesn’t allow propositions on which people can vote during general elections. I always thought that was wrong–limiting the voice of the masses. I’m beginning to rethink my position on that.

    • kitchenmudge says:

      An initiative CAN be a good thing except for three things:

      (1) The number of signatures required to put it on the ballot is so high that only by paying an army of signature gatherers can it be done.

      (2) Anyone with enough money can hire enough signature gatherers to do it.

      (3) The title and summary, which is all that most signatories or voters will read, is subject to the Secretary of State’s discretion, and can be deceptive.

      The first two could be easily cured by lowering the number of signatures required to something within the reach of a good unpaid grassroots effort and outlawing the payment of signature gatherers.

      I don’t know what could be done about the third. Almost none of the voters will ever read the whole text of a proposed law, or understand it, and SOMEONE has to decide whether the title & summary are ok.

  4. The silver lining? I left SoCal in the late 90’s. I always thought I’d move back, but this kind of “crazy making” just makes me want to move further away.

    I had to google Orly Taitz. OMG! Is it just me or are the candidate we have to choose from bigger and bigger nut jobs each passing year?

  5. Orly Taitz will place no higher than a distant 4th. It’s a wide open race for 4th.
    1st Senator Feinstein
    2nd Elizabeth Emken the California Republican Party endorsed candidate, who’s name appears on all of the ‘slate cards’, and who spent $304,000 will place 2nd. Elizabeth Emken has name recognition.
    3rd Dan Hughes, spent $158,000 on his campaign, (the next highest money is $56,000). Dan Hughes has name recognition.
    4th Place is wide open, Orly Taitz spent $3,700.

    Robert Lauten

    • kitchenmudge says:

      You might be right, but the link you give to polls only seems to give two-way polls between Feinstein and individual Reps. If you have any recent ones about the whole primary, I’d be interested.

      A couple of hundred thousand is just enough to target frequent Rep voters, which is only one segment of the people voting in the primary. Remember the crossovers who would be bored voting for Feinstein in a primary.

      • Correction Federal Elections Commission

        I am not aware of any other survey; in the mentioned survey Emken – 16%, Ramirez – 20%, Hughes – 21%, Taitz – 25%
        If one could wager on the US Senate race I would play the Superfecta (the top 4 finishers).
        1st Feinstein (D)
        2nd Emken (R)
        3rd Hughes (R)
        4th “ALL” (24 – 3 = 21)

        2nd Bet
        1st Feinstein )D)
        2nd Emken (R)
        3rd “ALL” (24 – 3 = 21)
        4th Hughes (R)

        With a 43% vs. 30% Democrat registration advantage, one of the 5 Democrat challengers could place 3rd. I’m assuming that Feinstein wins 50% of the Democrat vote and that the Republicans Emken and Hughes together win 50% of the Republican vote, I assuming little crossover voting.
        The Orange County Registrar of voters predicted a 40% turnout. I also know of a 30% turnout prediction base on the number of ‘Vote by Mail’ ballots that have been received to date. The outcome depends on who shows up to vote.

        I’m going with Bet #2, since it would offer the highest pay-out. “See-If-I’m- Right”
        I’m a candidate for US Senate; and I know entirely too much about handicapping horse races.

  6. kitchenmudge says:

    I don’t know where you’re getting these numbers from:
    Emken – 16%, Ramirez – 20%, Hughes – 21%, Taitz – 25%
    I don’t see any overall primary poll in Real Clear Politics. Where should I be looking?

    • kitchenmudge says:

      Oh, now I see. You’re looking at two-way polls against Feinstein and thinking that somehow translates into performance in the 24-way primary. That’s a lot of assuming you’re doing. But we’ll see tomorrow night, anyway.

  7. kitchenmudge says:

    Ok, I found a recent poll for the whole primary here:
    The percentages for all except Feinstein are so tiny, so easily shifted by a handful of respondents from the sample, that I have to say this poll is meaningless. I still think Orly will make a good showing.

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