Saturday, April 30, 2011

California Democrats: We Can't Let the Voters Influence Elections Too Much

The LA Times PolitiCal blog reported yesterday on a proposal by California Democrats to allow local party insiders to choose legislative and congressional candidates. One problem with this: it would subvert Prop 14, which voters approved in 2010.

You see, Prop 14 changed the election primary system to allow candidates from all parties to compete in open primaries, with the top two vote-getters then proceeding on to the general election. Primary candidates don't even have to list their party affiliation on the ballot. The idea is to create electoral competition by blunting the effects of hyper-partisan voters on primary outcomes.

Well, apparently the beneficiaries of hyper-partisan party primaries are not amused. Under the proposal, which was developed by the rules committee during the party's convention this week, small groups of party insiders would choose Democratic candidates in a caucus-style system, completely neutering the will of primary voters. Committee members quoted seemed most concerned about the idea that someone could win the Democratic nomination without labeling him/herself a Democrat (because, you know, you've got to protect that great brand). But we think the real issue is an unwillingness to give up on an ideologically homogeneous Democratic Party. After all, if you can't count on every Democrat in Sacramento to think alike, what can you count on?


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