Scott Lay, Well-Read Observer of California Politics, Doubts that Top-Two System Works the Way Proponents Wish

Scott Lay, editor of the well-read California politics blog Around the Capitol, here discusses this year’s race for the State Senate, 26th district. Scroll down to the third entry that is labelled “SD 26.” In June 2014, seven Democrats and one independent appeared on the ballot. Two Democrats came in first and second and will oppose each other in November.

Proponents of the top-two system say this is how their system operates at its best, because the more “moderate” of the two Democrats will win the votes of centrist independents and Republicans. But, Lay points out that if one of the two Democrats is then perceived as someone who is uninterested in the principles and interests of Democrats, the other Democrat will gain an advantage in the general election by pointing this out. A majority of the voters in the district are supportive of the Democratic Party. Lay also points out that it appears a very large proportion of the Republican voters in the June primary simply left the office blank.

One of the two Democrats who will be on the November ballot is Sandra Fluke, who became nationally famous (at least briefly) when Rush Limbaugh referred to her as a “slut” after she testified in Congress about health insurance and contraceptives.


Scott Lay, Well-Read Observer of California Politics, Doubts that Top-Two System Works the Way Proponents Wish — No Comments


    What if the top 2 are Stalin [Donkey] or Hitler [Elephant] clones ???

    The top 2 *reform* is as EVIL STUPID as the term limits *reform*.
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  2. Top two works EXACTLY the way they wanted it to work. Small parties on both the left and the right are banned from general election ballots. The Sheeple of California then have no choice but to vote for their Masters.

  3. Voting is random. But when a bunch of elephants are scrambling for one peanut you get reporting about the divisions between people instead of what brings them together..

    Do you want teamwork that helps a big team win and that’s not about one person being under a magnifying glass?

    I’m writing about pure proportional representation (PR)?

    The 9th USA Parliament has established many cutting edge innovations and we’ve been very successful working for unity.

    Less than 30 days remaining to vote so please vote and/or sign up for our four-year super-state cycle soon!

    Sign up now and play with our team:

  4. This district largely overlaps CA-33, the seat that Henry Waxman is vacating, after 40 years, and producing an 18-candidate race that spent ginormous sums of money.

    The only reason there were a bunch of candidates for SD-26 was because Ted Lieu jumped from the senate to the congressional race where he finished 2nd, rather than seeking re-election.

    The congressional race would have sucked out most of the cash and all of the news coverage from the senate race. There would surely be many voters who were totally clueless about the senate race.

    In 2012, turnout for CA-33 was 4% below the statewide average. The registration rolls in Los Angeles are bloated, and voters have a low level of civic engagement. Los Angeles County has extremely low levels of vote by mail voters, which depressed turnout in the primary.

    So despite all the attention and money spent on the congressional race, turnout was lower than the statewide average.

    SD-26 is larger than CA-33, has fewer Republicans, and more minorities, so it will have lower turnout. Add on top of that the greater publicity and prominence of the congressional race, the turnout for SD-26 is not unexpected. Perhaps some Republicans skipped the race because of the lack of a Republican candidate. But the more candidates there are for a party, the larger share of the vote the party attracts. It may be some voters disregarding party; or perhaps being so deliberately conscious of voting for the candidate rather than the party, that they cross over; or maybe with so many alternatives, they find something attractive about the one they voter for, which might include consideration of age, sex, race, physical appearance, or occupation.

  5. Exactly. The whole intent is to screen out anyone considered “fringy” and compel voters to chose only “mainstream” candidates.

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