Campaigns/Elections

California's Prop 14: Death Sentence for Third Parties?

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On June 8, Californians will get to vote on Proposition 14, which would eliminate the current party primary system in favor of one open primary in which anyone could vote for anyone regardless of party registration, the candidates could list or not list a party affiliation as they wished, and whoever the top 2 votegetters are, of whatever party, would go on to the general election. Polled support for the measure has been slipping lately, but is still above 50 percent (but with a large margin of undecided).

It is being sold as a way to crush Party inner circle poobahs from having too much power in choosing who gets to be the candidate. But third party activists from the Libertarian Party to Ralph Nader see it as just a way to ensure there is no possible third party choice for voters in general elections.

I survey the shape of the debate, with quotes and links galore, at my California news and politics blog "City of Angles." Go here for an anti-14 campaign led by LP candidate for California secretary of state, Christina Tobin. The official ballot arguments for and against Prop. 14. A similar measure in California's northern neighbor Oregon failed big in 2008 after early leads in pre-election polls.