I thought it was just your run-of-the-mill shitty state-level open primary measure; you can tell from the setup what’s coming next but I was wrong. If Proposition 14 takes effect the federal offices — Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, etc. — will be among the ones to be elected in open primaries.
Gerrymandering and the dominance of the two-party system are problems but this is the worst sort of solution: house districts are (relatively) tiny and homogeneous, increasing the likelihood of voters being presented with two candidates of the same party; senate seats are contested only once every six years, meaning it could easily be decades before voters are presented with an actual choice in the general.
Now picture a party recruiting a second, unelectable spoiler candidate to siphon off votes in the primary–here it would probably be a conservative Democrat, in the South it’d be a liberal Republican*, etc. The party apparatus provides the resources and promotion to get them up and running just well enough to get demolished in the general, and if the public fails to vote responsibly when said election comes then, “So what? We still hold the seat!”
When the dust clears and the media is no longer paying attention a month or two later… just kidding; a couple days… hours… fine: as the winner is giving their victory speech**, the loser is appointed to a cushy job at the RNC/the DNC/some think tank/nowhere; they are taken out back and shot because dead men tell no tales/etc.
He proceeded to tell me that when he was running for state controller in 2006, he commissioned a poll to gauge the feelings of Republican voters in Orange County.
The poll came back showing him losing to the Democrat by almost 2-1.
“This is impossible,” Maldonado said. “Orange County is loaded with Republicans.”
They did the poll again and the results were the same – the Democrat won.
So Maldonado ran a little test. He had the pollster go back and give voters the same information as before – his age, that he’s a rancher and the like – but this time, he said, tell them the candidate’s name is Smith.
The result: Smith came out ahead.
So he ran another poll, a Republican named Garcia vs. a Democrat named Smith.
Smith won again, even among Republicans.
At that point, Maldonado said, “We’re not spending another nickel – there ain’t no way that anyone with a Spanish name is going to win anything in a Republican primary in this state.”
He was right, in his case at least – he lost the primary to Tony Strickland.
I’ll go with self-interested.***
*assuming they could find one. ZING!
**this joke would flow much more smoothly if my blog didn’t ignore me when I tell it to use strikethrough
***”you used the stupid vs evil frame and then showed maldonado acting like an asshole. that means the answer is evil.” no, and shut up imaginary blog critic. is it evil when a hungry person eats a sandwich? that’s self-interest. also I like the title and I’m not changing it.