Friday, February 18, 2011

We don't need any stinkin' primaries

Remember how California created a top-two primary system last year designed to help de-polarize the state legislature? And you know how I'm always saying that parties find a way to overcome regulations designed to weaken them? Well, guess what the California Republican Party is trying to do -- nominate candidates prior to the primary election. This would come in the form of a pre-primary endorsement that could include funding and mentions in party literature.

Their new rules even contain a litmus test. Incumbents are automatically re-nominated, unless they've done one of the following:
(a) voted for a tax increase as scored by the Legislative Analyst, (b) voted to put a tax increase on the ballot as scored by the Legislative Analyst, (c) voted against an official position of the Caucus, (d) endorsed or supported a non-Republican candidate over a Republican candidate for an elected office.
Okay, I suppose that list is a bit redundant. If you've voted for a tax increase, you've probably voted against an official position of the Caucus. But whatever.

Some interesting questions remain, of course. Will this new system produce more or less polarized legislators than the previous one? What happens if the party converges on one good party candidate but a different one manages to win in the primary? Will the party back the second-best conservative as the true Republican?

Good stuff to watch.

(h/t Eric McGhee and Wesley Hussey)

1 comment:

phat said...

NE has had "non-partisan" elections for decades and if anybody thinks we don't have a polarized electorate or polarized elected bodies, they're delusional.