Gail Collins, a regular columnist for the New York Times, has this June 12 column which talks about the recent South Carolina Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. She concludes by saying, “We’ve spent decades now working on the assumption that the problem with American politics is the strength of political parties. This week, California eliminated party primaries entirely in favor of a system where all the candidates run on one ballot and the top two finishers move on to the November election. We’ll see how that works…the alternative to parties is an every-voter-for-herself system that would inevitably leave people staring at endless choices among candidates they’ve never heard of. The polling places become casinos where you pull the lever and pray. Maybe the real answer is not to make the parties weaker but to make them better.”
She could have said, although she didn’t, that another answer is to make it possible for new parties to compete in a level playing system.