Major Parties, Minor Parties and Anti-Parties

By Nancy Hanks | Related entries in News
Major Parties, Minor Parties and Anti-Parties
Momentum continues to build for open primaries in California, and most but not all partisans (including minor partisans like Libertarians and Greens) don’t support primaries that would allow everyone including nonpartisans to participate in the first round of voting… NYC Independence Party (aka the “anti-party Party because of its support for nonpartisan elections and open primaries) brought in $65K at Monday night’s Anti-Corruption Awards recognizing grassroots activists Not a bad follow-up to the final count 150K votes in November’s citywide election for Mayor… Meanwhile, the Working Families Party is under the gun….
OPEN PRIMARIES
Make party bosses cringe by voting for open primary (By thomas d. elias, Mercury News)
The problem with open primaries (By Richard Winger, San Fransisco Bay Guardian) Washington used top-two once, in 2008. Out of eight U.S. House seats, 8 statewide state races, and 123 legislative races, only one incumbent was defeated in the primary. The only real change in Washington in 2008 was the elimination of minor party and independent candidates from the November election.
Low turnout? Of course, because primaries are a farce (LETTER Boston Globe) Why do we hold publicly funded elections for private political parties? Why can we not belong to more than one political party at a time? Why is one’s political party affiliation a matter of public record? Does this not violate the premise of the secret ballot?
Misguided move to the middle (By STEVEN GREENHUT, Special to the Orange County Register)
GOVERNORS RACES
Coakley balking at 1-on-1 debates-Rebuffs Brown over exclusion of 3d rival (By Matt Viser, Boston Globe) But Coakley, the state’s attorney general, said she is reluctant to participate in any debates that do not include a little-known independent candidate, Joseph L. Kennedy.
NYC IP
Islander hailed for work on behalf of Independence Party (By KIAWANA RICH, STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE) The Tenth Annual Anti-Corruption Awards ceremony was held last night at Wolfgang’s Tribeca Steakhouse, Manhattan, and the honorees included a Stapleton resident who was recognized for her efforts on behalf of the Independence Party.
WORKING FAMILIES PARTY
Working Families Party Documents Subpoenaed (By DAVID W. CHEN, NY Times)

Momentum continues to build for open primaries in California, and most but not all partisans (including minor partisans like Libertarians and Greens) don’t support primaries that would allow everyone including nonpartisans to participate in the first round of voting… NYC Independence Party (aka the “anti-party Party” because of its support for nonpartisan elections and open primaries) brought in $65K at Monday night’s Anti-Corruption Awards recognizing grassroots activists. Not a bad follow-up to the 150K votes on the Independence Party line in November’s citywide election for Mayor… Meanwhile, the Working Families Party is under the gun….

OPEN PRIMARIES

GOVERNORS RACES

NYC INDEPENDENCE PARTY

  • Islander hailed for work on behalf of Independence Party (By KIAWANA RICH, STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE) The Tenth Annual Anti-Corruption Awards ceremony was held last night at Wolfgang’s Tribeca Steakhouse, Manhattan, and the honorees included a Stapleton resident who was recognized for her efforts on behalf of the Independence Party.

WORKING FAMILIES PARTY

For more independent news, see The Hankster


This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

25 Responses to “Major Parties, Minor Parties and Anti-Parties”

  1. Tweets that mention Donklephant » Blog Archive » Major Parties, Minor Parties and Anti-Parties -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Gardner, Donklephant. Donklephant said: DONKLEPHANT: Major Parties, Minor Parties and Anti-Parties http://ow.ly/16aeAj [...]

  2. Trescml Says:

    I think things will need to get a lot worse before 3rd parties have a national appeal. I noticed that the Modern Whig Party (and who the heck thought that name was a good idea) wants to be the next 3rd party to give it a try and is trying to appeal to moderates. Mostly I think that the 3rd party influence will be mostly local until the deficit blows up the economy to the point where social issues cease to matter.

  3. Simon Says:

    Why would anyone support moving to an open primary? I can understand leaving an existing open primary system in place—sleeping dogs and so on—but actively working for a bad system? Why? Its only utility is to produce a kind of ersatz runoff election, at considerable cost to the positive functions that parties provide (see, e.g., the discussion in the Justice Scalia’s Washington State Grange dissent or this post). If runoff is what you want, why not advocate what you actually want, instead of a sallow substitute?

  4. Nick Benjamin Says:

    One thing that always impresses me when I read people talk about their attempts to make third parties more relevant is the utter lack of understanding they have of the American political system.

    There is no large group that is totally unrepresented in the current system. There are plenty of people the Green Party agrees with almost 100% of the time. Moderates have the Blue Dogs. white Jesus-freaks have lots of Republicans (and some Blue Dogs). Black Jesus freaks have the Black Caucus. To be small enough that you are not represented in DC you have to be one guy. Heck the Vermont Socialist Jew demographic has a Senator. It’s hard for me to see how replacing a bunch of Ds with Gs or Is would change anything.

    Obviously everybody thinks they deserve more guys in DC. But in the American context founding your own party is a very bad way to get more people into DC. Unless you can totally dominate your demographic you end up splitting your own vote and losing the guys you do have.

    In other words if you want to have more influence your best bet is to form a group that votes in primaries, or organize as a swing voting bloc. The former is a lot easier as it’s virtually impossible to coordinate a swing voting bloc, so it’s almost always the smart move.

    Attempts to change the electoral system to “fix” the dominance of people who actually show up on primary day tend to be misguided at best. Countries that use IRV or a similar complex voting system only have a handful of races on the ballot at a time. In the US most states have several elected state-wide offices, a Senate, a House, plus less prestigious elected statewide offices (in Michigan three University boards are elected state-wide), local offices, county offices, etc. all on the ballot at once. It just won’t work with IRV

    Proportional Representation could work, but in many states it would not work at the Federal level because you need at least several seats. In others the main obstacle is the state legislature, but those guys ain’t gonna go PR unless thy have some experience with the system and I’ve never seen a third-party advocate argue for a PR State House.

    BTW, in Michigan we use Open Primaries. We have to as there’s no partisan voter registration. In practical terms the main result is not that party becomes less relevant, it’s that when there are no interesting Democratic primaries on the ballot numerous Dems cross over to the GOP side in hope of sabotaging their general election campaign and vice versa.

  5. kranky kritter Says:

    Why would anyone respect the arguments of a staunch party partisan against open primaries?

    Its only utility is to produce a kind of ersatz runoff election, at considerable cost to the positive functions that parties provide… .

    The folks favoring open primaries are more concerned by the negative functions that the parties “provide.” Almost by definition, we’re not very compelled by arguments about the alleged virtues of two-party dominance. Nor are we compelled by predictions of doom should this dominance be eroded. The common contention that the two-party system is functioning just as it should be is an awfully weak argument for its unaltered continuance unless you’re really convinced that adjustments will make it worse. In my experience, only arch-partisans believe this.

    I know for a fact that I am far from alone in being fairly liberal socially and in favor of a fiscally responsible approach to government. I don’t want to be forced to wait until after the primaries to express my preferences. I want input into the system that has the virtually exclusive power to determine who is on my menu.

    As a taxpayer, I declare that I have this right by virtue of my government’s financing of the political primaries. If the parties want to finance and run their primaries without using taxpayer money, then they can do what they want.

  6. Simon Says:

    If you want runoff elections, KK, seek runoff elections. ;)

    It is true, though, that I’m a partisan not only of one party over another (a fair charge), but also of of the two party system against third or myriad more parties. And as is pertinent here, of parties against non-parties. Who, who has thought about it, could be for abolishing parties?

    The great value of the two party system is its tendency to exclude the extremes from power. (In Europe, by contrast, whose legislatures often have myriad parties and thus coalition governments, an extremist party whose views command the support of the barest fraction of the population may nevertheless obtain significant leverage by virtue of holding hostage a vote essential to the coalition’s grip on power. The combination of the westminster system with a mutiplicity of parties is truly poisonous.) The great value of parties is to allow more-or-less ideologically cohesive groups of citizens to work together, aggregating and coordinating the use of time, money, and other resources in service of a mutually-agreed political agenda. This has a democracy-enhancing function: people are more likely to be politically engaged if they feel that they can make a difference, and parties provide a vehicle for those aspirations.

    Can these functions be performed by necessarily ad hoc campaigns associated with independents? Yes. But only to an extent, and not so efficiently. And not for the sustained periods required to implement a long-term agenda, either.

    The biggest problem with open primaries is their effect on these functions. Consider what Justice Scalia said in Washington State Grange, supra:

    A political party’s expressive mission is not simply, or even primarily, to persuade voters of the party’s views. Parties seek principally to promote the election of candidates who will implement those views. That is achieved in large part by marking candidates with the party’s seal of approval. Parties devote substantial resources to making their names trusted symbols of certain approaches to governance. They then encourage voters to cast their votes for the candidates that carry the party name. Parties’ efforts to support candidates by marking them with the party trademark, so to speak, have been successful enough to make the party name, in the words of one commentator, “the most important resource that the party possesses.” And all evidence suggests party labels are indeed a central consideration for most voters.

    (Citations omitted.) This function of parties expands the ability of rationally ignorant voters to participate in government, and it too is thus democracy-enhancing. (N.b., rationally ignorant voters. We would all be better off if voters who are simply ignorant declined to be voters at all.) And it is undermined by open primaries.

    In this matter, we deal with almost the inverse of Washington State Grange. In that case, the court considered the effect on parties if the state facilitated the ability of individuals to associate themselves with a party on the ballot. In the case of the open primary, all the concerns raised by Justice Scalia in the passage just quoted are implicated in a different way: the concern is that if people who are not members of the party can participate in the selection process, the party’s imprimatur is compromised. With a closed primary, the Democrat who knows in great detail her views on issues and policy, but who is not so familiar with the down-ballot candidates (i.e. she is rationally ignorant but not at all ignorant), can participate meaningfully in the election and vote for the Democratic candidates, knowing that those candidates have survived a screening process provided by other like-minded Democrats. (Hence, if the reader will recall the various resource aggregation functions provided by parties that I mentioned above, this one falls under the head of time aggregation, in a manner similar to labor specialization.) But while we might observe that an open primary merely compromises rather than destroys outright this valuable function, the qualification should not obscure the observation’s central concession: the open primary does compromise or undermine this valuable function.

    To be clear, I have nothing against independents running as exceptions to a broader two-party framework. But society can tolerate (indeed, benefit from) many things that exist as aberrations that would be thoroughly poisonous and unassimilable as normal activities. That the rule has (or will bear, or even will be strengthened by) the making of exceptions does not mean that those exceptions should become the accepted norm. Logrolling, for instance, may grease the skids of a particularly thorny legislative challenge, and have societal utility (a fortiori when done sub rosa) but it should not be accepted as a norm. Likewise, to deem as a boon the ability of candidates to run as exceptions the two party system is not to say that the normal situation is valueless.

    Lastly, while it does not follow that taxpayer funding provides taxpayer right of access—see how far that argument gets you in accessing at the nearest restricted-access but taxpayer-funded military base!—it is reasonable to say that if primaries are to be closed affairs, why should the state pay for them at all? It would not be obliged to do so, to be sure. But it should anyway. While the benefits to society of a stable two-party system are positive externalities rather than the direct intent of the party in selecting its nominee, they are still very public goods that far outweigh the trivial cost of running an election.

  7. Simon Says:

    You see what you’ve done here, KK? You’ve gone and incubated a new SF post… ;)

  8. Simon Says:

    And in any event, how can you take seriously a system advocated by someone—as Elias does—who can appeal to those who are “tired of … ideology trump[ing] good public policy”? As if there was some non-ideological measurement for what constitutes good public policy?

  9. kranky kritter Says:

    Parties devote substantial resources to making their names trusted symbols of certain approaches to governance.

    If it’s really so important for the parties to exclude folks who might pollute their brand, then let them do so on their own dime. And that’s what Scalia’s argument boils down to, some party right to protect their ideological brand from pollution.

    If parties want to run these primaries on the taxpayer dole, then whatever brand pollution ensues is a more than reasonable tax on the parties unwillingness to pay their own way.

    The great value of the two party system is its tendency to exclude the extremes from power.

    So? If we had open primaries, would this great value be substantially diminished, or would the extremes be excluded? One could argue that the extremes might be excluded even more effectively. A 2-party system with open primaries could conceivably exclude the extremes not only from power, but from dominating the public dialogue as they often do now.

    And we don’t know that establishing a 3rd party with substantial power would necessarily lead to the sort of complete balkanization that other countries experience.

  10. Trescml Says:

    If you want an example of how the two parties push the agenda to the more extreme, look at the Presidential primaries. In those candidate usually verge more to the far left/right and then try to move (or appear to move) to the center. A viable third party is no more a threat the this country than the two main parties we have. I agree that having 15 parties would cause the extremist to have more of a voice, but three would might have the opposite impact since one of the parties would likely be moderate in composition.

  11. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Simon:
    I freely admit that I am far too lazy to tread most of your post. But I was struck by this passage:

    (In Europe, by contrast, whose legislatures often have myriad parties and thus coalition governments, an extremist party whose views command the support of the barest fraction of the population may nevertheless obtain significant leverage by virtue of holding hostage a vote essential to the coalition’s grip on power. The combination of the westminster system with a mutiplicity of parties is truly poisonous.)

    AFAIK this does not happen in any Westminster System countries. It happens in Israel, but the Israelis do not use major elements of the Westminster System such as Responsible Government — that all Cabinet Ministers are elected from as specific district, so that all Ministers are responsible to both the public and their political boss, the Prime Minister. They certainly do not have a Black Rod, or a Parliamentary Mace.

    It should be noted that Responsible Government implies single-member districts (referred to as ridings), and thus true Westminster systems usually have a two-party system, with several smaller (frequently regional) parties.

    Who were you thinking of?

  12. Frank Hagan Says:

    The so-called third parties almost never poll more than a few percentage points. When they have a “successful” run, say over 2 or 3%, its usually because of the person running and not the party itself. In 2008, with an extremely unpopular administration and low ratings for that party, and a candidate for the opposing party that many people thought was undesirable due to experience, race and ideology, no third party candidate garnered more than 2/3 of 1% of the vote.

    Pathetic, but typical.

    Ralph Nader did the best with .56% of the vote. Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney were all under .40% of the vote. Ralph Nader qualified for federal matching funds, so he received $411,000 of your money for his sure-to-lose campaign.

    Like Kranky, I’m more in the libertarian camp socially, but I’d rather work to see the libertarian wing of the Republican party gain more control than try and make the Libertarian Party viable.

  13. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Frank:
    Recreating a strong Libertarian wing in the GOP is probably a lot smarter than working with the Libertarian party.

    A GOP platform with a strong Libertarian bent would certainly be less to your liking than the actual LP’s platform, but the LP just doesn’t have the clout to get implement it’s platform. IIRC they have a semi-sensible plan to get more clout — the Free State Project wants tens of thousands of Libertarian activists to move to New Hampshire, and if that actually happens they’ll be a major force in the State Legislature.

    But the rest of the third parties are still wasting their time on vanity candidacies. No matter how great your activist buddy is he’s not gonna go from activist in random third party to double digits in the Michigan Governor’s race. He might be able to win a State House seat without spending much money (they’re only 100,000 or so people in Michigan, and that’s about the maximum size district you can win simply by walking around and talking to voters), but not the Governor’s race.

  14. kranky kritter Says:

    The most realistic path for a truly viable 3rd party to eventually emerge is if he number of independents slowly grows, and they caucus, and can sketch out a good common ground that makes them sound like a real alternative. That, and they’d need a strong figure to be the face of the growth/establishment effort for a substantial period of time.

    I do harbor some libertarian tendencies in the sense of being liberally socially and in favor of fiscal sanity and some limits to government. But when it comes to the lib party, seems like the kooks rule the roost. When it comes to re-establishing a strong libertarian wing in the GOP, that feels to me like opting for permanent neutering. By far the most vocal and to me irritating faction in the GOp is the socons. Under currrent circumstances, I may on occasion vote for a REpublican if I am sure that they can’t do any damage to social liberty. But I could never voluntarily join with a party that includes so many folks eager to dictate personal choices in social matters.

    I’m not gay, but I have had many gay friends and colleagues over the years. And I find the proud anti-gay strand among GOP so-cons not just reprehensible, but a total waste of time and energy. I have an extremely difficult time stomaching what I perceive to be very inhumane perspectives undertaken in the name of things like faith and tradition. If I join a party, it won’t include such closed-minded folks.

    I don’t care what their rationalizations are. I respect their points of view as genuine and heartfelt. Yet I find their PoVs inaccessible to reason, so I don’t see the point in debating with or partying with them.

  15. WHQ Says:

    When it comes to re-establishing a strong libertarian wing in the GOP, that feels to me like opting for permanent neutering.

    kk, I’m unclear on what you’re saying here. It seems at odds with the rest of your comment, or at least it doesn’t seem to fit.

  16. wj Says:

    Simon, the reason for open primaries is really pretty straightforward: if we didn’t have gerrymandered districts, we wouldn’t need them. But since we do, the only election that counts, for virtually every congressional and state legislative district, is the primary. Which means that, unless you are allowed to vote in the primary of the party which effectively owns your district, you have no voice in who will “represent” you and how.

  17. Simon Says:

    Nick,
    I had in mind Italy and France, and I had thought that Greece had that problem at one time. Now, I acknowledge that France isn’t a westminster system, and my comment above was worded poorly in a way that placed more emphasis than I intended on the role of the westminster system in my analysis. What I meant to convey was my judgment that one of the westminster system’s defects is that it greatly exacerbates the problem of party multiplicity (ditto for proportional representation). That problem exists independently of the formal political system around which it grows. Having an independent base of power in the government, such as the French (good), American (very good), or Russian (too much) Presidencies, will limit but not eliminate the problems of multiplicity.

    Frank,
    I have a lurking suspicion that many of those who complani about the process are actually dissatisfied with the result. If the process isn’t producing candidates that they like, they conclude that the system must be defective.

    KK,
    Respectfully, there is no possibility of one “truly viable 3rd party,” for a number of reasons. For one thing, parties can’t exist without a nucleus of common policy beliefs. The idea of independents “caucus[ing]” to “sketch out a good common ground that makes them sound like a real alternative” strikes me as deeply unrealistic: The people in that category do not have a common ground. Those who are truly independent are so precisely because they reject precisely the kind of dogmatic position-staking required for it. Is there really enough common ground between someone who left the GOP because it was too statist, and someone who left the Democratic party because it wasn’t statist enough, to build the keep of a party, let alone its ramparts?

    What’s more, there are more soi-disant Independents than there are actual independents. My experience has been that most people who call themselves independents are far more committed to the conceit of their independence than they are to any substantive policy positions. I’ve met people who have voted straight ticket Democrat since the 1970s, who haven’t voted for a Republican in any non-municipal race at any time in their lives. They aren’t independents, and we should not indulge them their conceit. They’re Democrats. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) But since they disclaim that reality vocally, we should perhaps term them capital-i Independents: since they have no serious disagreement with the Democratic party yet reject association with it, we can conclude that what really matters to them is believing that they aren’t the kind of people to be in a party—an issue more properly in the realm of psychology than political strategy.

    And even if it was formed and met with some success, American history suggests that it would be torn to shreds when the established parties appropriated first the essential planks of its platform, then the voters who liked those planks and only unhappily accepted the others.

    WJ,
    At most—granting, that is, the fiction that the democratic process is about obtaining a result you like rather than getting a say—that is an argument for dealing with gerrymandering, not for open primaries. I fully agree that gerrymandering is a serious problem; the fixing should be fixed. But like those who want a true runoff election, and instead propose open primaries as a substitute, I cannot understand why you would prefer to do immense harm something of great value in order to indirectly deal with the problem, when you could instead deal with the problem directly at no cost.

  18. wj Says:

    Simon, It’s not that I would prefer open primaries to getting rid of gerrymandering. I don’t. It’s just that I see it as far more likely to actually happen. And, living in California, I have a close-up look to see that the current situation needs something done soon.

    If anyone can come up with a practical, workable plan to get rid of gerrymandering here, I’ll support it vigorously. But I don’t see any sign of that.

  19. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Simon
    France does not have that problem. At all. Their problem is their politicians always cave into street protests. The last set of protests was actually by leftists, who thwarted a right-wing government’s plans to reform the employment market. Italy’s problem is largely that it’s run by Macho-men. They don’t compromise unless they have to to keep their jobs, and they don’t believe any of their coalition partners will actually vote against them until the votes are counted.

    As for party multiplicity keep in mind that the major US parties function a lot like an Israeli coalition government. When the GOP has a House of Congress there’s a Libertarian-branch, a Social Conservative Branch, and a Business Branch. The Dems have a black faction, Blue Dogs, Labor, Greens, etc. You’re seeing that in the Health Care debate, where Pelosi only got 50.5% of the House votes because she couldn’t assuage all of the party’s factions and Reid is having a devil of a time getting all his people to vote for cloture.

    So IMO we have all the practical problems caused by a multiplicity of parties, but as we technically don’t have all those parties most people don’t know it.

    BTW, actual Westminster systems never have coalition governments. Some have minority governments, but those governments are not dependent on the will of any single other party. You may mean Parliamentary systems in general.

  20. bubbaquimby Says:

    Nick,
    While I agree with you that both parties function like coalitions, there is a major difference. For one it’s harder for the coalitions to work across aisles than if they were parties. Another is just plain identification. Kranky and I could actually say that we belong to a party without having to be seen as being a Socons. Yeah they still might work together and have coalition gov’ts from time to time but we would have a much bigger voice to say whether they should work with SoCons or maybe we take our party in another direction and work with Greens on an issue.

    I would rather have a party than a faction, factions don’t get air time during debates, smaller factions don’t get higher ranking members, factions are stuck being associated with bigots or irresponsible people.

    They only major downside I see in proportional is that you don’t elect your leaders, your party does.

  21. kranky kritter Says:

    Simon, you’re certainly correct insofar as having history on your side. The existing parties have the substantial, even overwhelming power of inertia on their side.

    And I agree with you about so-called independents who have never actually voted for members of both parties on occasion. They’re probably kidding themselves. But would your hypothetical so-called independent who had never actually voted for a republican like say Olympia Snowe vote for her if she was in a 3rd party comprising some set of quasi- independent politicians? I think the answer could quite possibly be yes under the right circumstances.

    there is no possibility of one “truly viable 3rd party,” for a number of reasons.

    Well, you love bright lines and absolutes, Simon. Here’s the thing…I agree with you that there are lots of powerful reasons why 2-party dominance endures and independent efforts wither. But that’s a chasm away from the notion that “it could never happen.” If both of the 2 existing parties went strongly towards their bases, or if one party had enough acrimony to split, a 3rd party could quite possibly emerge. And there’s no guarantee that one half of the split party would have to die out, even if that whig track is a possibility.

    @WHQ: I feel that any “strong” libertarian wing in the GOP is always going to be doomed to being less equal (a la Animal Farm) than the social conservatives. So trying to work within the GOP as a libertarian is always going to mean being the less favored…permanently neutered IOW. No spreading seed. Libertarianism can’t ever truly flourish in the GOP as long as social conservatives are seen as the party’s true base.

    I really like small-L Libertarians, the ones who aren’t real kooks about having a tiny government and hardly any regulations and all drugs legal and so on. My sense of human nature is that we just aren’t, by and large, good enough to handle that much freedom. But sensible small-L libertarians are not going to have a comfy home in either party. In the GOP, they get the back seat to socons. In the Democratic party, they get the back seat to politically correct scolds who want cap and trade, speech codes, junk food taxes, and so on.

  22. Nancy Hanks Says:

    kranky and wj, you have put up a good fight here! As an independent activist myself, I support open primaries of whatever stripe because I believe that more people ought to be involved in the decision making process in our country. Parties are notorious good ol’ boys clubs who perpetuate themselves and look after their own self interests. And open primaries has become a hot issue because so many people went to the polls during the primaries leading up to the Presidential election in 2008 and were turned away because they were not registered partisans. There’s a lawsuit going on right now in Idaho that will go to trial in February that everybody has an eye on. http://bit.ly/80odko The majority of Californians support the Top Two option and will go to the polls in June 2010 — good luck against the party machines that will pull out all the stops on this democratic reform!

  23. WHQ Says:

    @kk: Okay. I wasn’t sure who was being neutered – libertarians or the GOP. Now it makes sense.

  24. Simon Says:

    Sorry to be away, time has been very limited this week. A few quick replies.

    Nancy – as well they should have been. If they don’t want to be part of a party, they shouldn’t have a say in selecting the party’s nominee. And if they want a say in the party’s nominee, they should join the party. Voters get to participate fully in the general election, and those who don’t want to join a party are welcome to do so.

    I will have to look up the case, I can’t imagine what credible basis they have for the challenge described at your link.

    WJ,
    So far as I can tell, California has two particular non-institutional problems (a feckless GOP that can’t seem to comprehend the demographic realities of their state, and a feckless population that votes Democratic no matter what) that you’re trying to fix with an institutional solution. I don’t think it’ll work, and I think it’ll do harm. (Of course, California has a LOT of problems, not just those.)

    Nick,
    I’m pretty sure that there are specific examples, but I don’t have time to look them up, and even if I did, they aren’t really essential to my point. It’s sufficient that the institutional configuration of those countries makes it an entirely plausible outcome. I don’t want to get bogged down in what is essentially a side point.

    Your point about intraparty multiplicity is well-taken, and it does pose obvious difficulties for the information-conveying value of party labels. (So too do public acts of apostasy, a la Bush, Frist, etc.)

  25. Simon Says:

    And by the way, I live in a city where this silly idea that “the primary becomes the real election” was conventional wisdom for many years. No Republican is ever going to be mayor here, it was said, so you’d better register as a Democrat and participate in the real election–the Democratic primary.

    I’m glad to say that in the last election cycle, we rejected that conventional wisdom. We elected a Republican mayor. It turns out that once enough people reject the self-fulfilling prophecy, it stops self-fulfilling. If no candidates will run as an X because they believe that party Y has it sewn up, of COURSE party Y has it sewn up. The answer isn’t that Xs should participate in the Y primary. The answer is that Xs should reject the silly and harmful conventional wisdom and work to elect an X.

Leave a Reply


NOTE TO COMMENTERS:


You must ALWAYS fill in the two word CAPTCHA below to submit a comment. And if this is your first time commenting on Donklephant, it will be held in a moderation queue for approval. Please don't resubmit the same comment a couple times. We'll get around to moderating it soon enough.


Also, sometimes even if you've commented before, it may still get placed in a moderation queue and/or sent to the spam folder. If it's just in moderation queue, it'll be published, but it may be deleted if it lands in the spam folder. My apologies if this happens but there are some keywords that push it into the spam folder.


One last note, we will not tolerate comments that disparage people based on age, sex, handicap, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry. We reserve the right to delete these comments and ban the people who make them from ever commenting here again.


Thanks for understanding and have a pleasurable commenting experience.


Related Posts: