Kresky: Open Dialogue on Open Primaries and Nonpartisan Elections

Kresky: Open Dialogue on Open Primaries and Nonpartisan Elections



Leading independent attorney and counsel to Harry Kresky penned a great HuffPo piece today called Let’s Have an Honest Debate About the Role of Parties:

“Proposition 14 abolished party primaries and replaced them with a system known as “top two.” All candidates will appear on a single ballot in a primary election in which all registered voters can participate and candidates can list party preference. The two highest vote getters face off in the November general election. A similar reform is now under consideration by a New York City Charter Revision Commission which has the authority to put it before the City’s voters in the November 2010 or 2011 election.

The pro-party argumentation – laid out in syndicated columns this week authored by George Will and David Broder, along with Errol Louis’ column in the New York Daily News – goes as follows. The political parties, they say, are central to our democracy as vehicles for voter education and mobilization, and the selection of candidates who represent their members’ preferences. Their right to do so is protected by the First Amendment, as is the right of citizens to form parties to advance their common interests. Without parties, we are told, billionaires and unchecked special interest groups will come to dominate our political system.

At the core of this position is a legal and logical sleight of hand that conflates the right of the people to form parties (and other associations like labor unions) to advance common interests with the control of the electoral system by the parties. The two are not the same….” [read the Huffington Post article here]

Errol Lewis called Prop 14 “dangerous” and “un-American.” Does Errol Lewis consider the 54% of the voters who went to the polls on Tuesday June 8th (probably mostly party registrants, given that it was a primary election) dangerous and un-American?

Hats off to the 2,670,811 California voters who stood up to the party bosses! All of the partisan forces were against Prop 14 — including minor parties from the Libertarians to Peace and Freedom and the Green Party.

Somebody has to speak for the people. Appropriately, it will have to be the people, not the parties. And that’s the good news!

For more news for independent voters, see The Hankster

  • kranky kritter

    Well, here’s one of the best features of having democratic processes: since it has passed, we’ll get to find out for ourselves. We don’t have to rely on the opinions of staunch supporters _or_ staunch opponents.

    The people will be the measuring stick that matters. Not yesterdays chicken little or today’s. The people. I’m really VERY good with that.

  • Leonidas

    This likely wont make much difference despite the hopes of many. Larry Sabato’s Crystal ball has a new article up regarding California and its new primary system..

    New Primary System Unlikely to Reduce Partisan Polarization and Gridlock in Golden State

  • Andy

    I was one of those who voted to open the primaries in CA. Maybe it will help, maybe not. Regardless, I have no trust in either inept, gerrymandering party, both of whom are slaves to special interest money. CA is a broken state and something new needs to be at least tried. Politics as usual failed and I do not care how much Democrats or republicans squawk about their loss of control. They deserved to lose control because what we suffer with now is a full blown disaster.

  • Nick Benjamin

    Anybody who thinks it will reduce polarization or gridlock is kidding themselves. The polarization exists because the CA GOP is far right of the rest of CA, which means that very few of them get to Sacramento and the ones who do think everyone else is a closet Communist.

    The gridlock exists because CA’s Constitution requires a 2/3 majority to do anything. When 40% of the Legislature is convinced the other 60% are Communists it’s rather difficult to get a 2/3 majority.

    Until those two things change CA will remain a gridlocked, partisan state.

    The only possible change is to third parties, who (in theory) will have a much easier time being relevant in November.