Same-Sex Marriage Disputed, Same-Party Elections A-OK; GovWorkers Hammered; More: California Results


Brad Sherman and the guy on the right had an informed discussion of chemtrails and 9/11 shortly after this photo was taken in November 2009.

"Top Two" voting is producing one-party November elections in the union's most populous state. 

Swiftboated San Diego mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio secured the Republican nomination. 

California voters barely rejected a cigarette tax. 

This June vote, which was attended by nearly a quarter of eligible voters, may turn out to have been more important than the November general election, the results of which don't look like they will be very surprising. 

As Scott Shackford noted earlier, voters in San Diego and San Jose elected to reform budgeting of pensions for government employees. Public sector unions have already sued to block the will of the people

Californians also strayed from type by narrowly rejecting Proposition 29, a cigarette tax purportedly intended to support cancer research. This at least is the apparent result with 4,123,259 ballots counted:

Proposition 29 Imposes Additional Tax on Cigarettes for Cancer Research 

Fail: 1,894,871 / 49.2% Yes votes …… 1,958,047 / 50.8% No votes

ABC says this result is a tie

Proposition 28, a misleadingly worded change to Golden State term limit laws that makes it easier for legislators to build 12-year careers in Sacramento, sailed through with 62 percent of the vote. 

Instant runoff or top-two voting, which was hilariously advertised as an opportunity for third parties, is instead producing one-party contests in sunbaked Barstow:

United States Representative; District 8

Click here for more info on this contest including known links to other sites

  • Paul Cook, Republican 10,682 votes 15.5%
  • Gregg Imus, Republican 10,353 votes 15.0%

…in the heart of the San Fernando Valley: 

United States Representative; District 30

Click here for more info on this contest including known links to other sites

  • Brad Sherman, Democratic 31,866 votes 42.4%
  • Howard L. Berman, Democratic 24,320 votes 32.4%

…and along the developed but charming beaches of San Pedro: 

United States Representative; District 44

Click here for more info on this contest including known links to other sites

I missed the June 2010 primary, during which Proposition 14 passed, making top-two voting the law of the land. I would have voted against it then, though I should note that as of 2004 I still apparently believed this rotten trick might generate more interesting election results. In practice, you can see that top-two makes the general election (the one that normal people vote in) a runoff of the primary.

So kudos to KUSI.com for calling the upcoming mayoral race between Republican Carl DeMaio and Democrat Bob Filner in San Diego a "runoff." DeMaio, an analyst at the old Reason Public Policy Institute, was targeted by pilotless drone David Brooks in a New York Times column, but Nathan Fletcher, the particular king Brooks was attempting to make in that column, came in third place last night, so Allah mak to him. 

Ron Paul drew 147,900 votes in the Golden State, enough to fill the Los Angeles Tennis Center 25 times, but only enough for 10 percent of the Republican vote.

Mitt Romney brought 1,151,275 Californians to the polls, while President Obama drew 1,561,290. The Romney campaign seems to consider a 400,000-vote gap too big to overcome in a state with 17 million potential voters. They're probably right about that. 

This writer's ballot is the usual string of broken hearts. My Senate pick, Rick Williams, did better than I expected with fourth place, beating out birther Orly Taitz by more than 7,300 votes.

And I believe any fairminded person who compares second place finisher Elizabeth Emken's 454,937 votes (12.5 percent) with incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein's 1,801,422 votes (49.3 percent) will agree that I was not just being mean when I said Emken will get puréed by Feinstein in November.

Joe Escalante lost his judicial race and both Los Angeles tax measures passed with more than 60 percent. One of those is a hotel tax which specifically exempts government employees and subsidized long-term residents.

So while parts of California seem to have arrived in the 21st Century, L.A. is, as they say in L.A., what it is. 

NEXT: Matt Welch on Why Democrats Need to Get Serious About Governing and Stop Whining About Scott Walker

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  1. pilotless drone David Brooks


  2. I still don't really see the problem with the top-two system.

    So the Libertarian got his 1% and lost yesterday instead getting 1% and losing in 5 months. Why is this worse?

    And the places where the top 2 are in the same party are probably the same as the places where the primary was for all practical purposes the election. So now voters get an actual choice between two different turd sandwiches instead of a symbolic-only choice between a douche and turdwich.

    1. So the Libertarian got his 1% and lost yesterday instead getting 1% and losing in 5 months. Why is this worse?

      Because the chances of me ever voting for a Democrat or a Republican are almost never.

      ...So participating in general elections by voting for a protest candidate is no longer an option.

      I certainly would never vote for Democrat in California.




      Does that answer your question?

      1. So you're against the system because it prevents you from wasting half an hour on a pointless protest vote.

        1. it prevents you from wasting half an hour on a pointless protest vote.

          Dear God man, does it really take you half an hour to vote? Taking extra precautions in the wake of Florida 2000 are we?

        2. Yeah, well, obviously, Tulpa, if something isn't important to you, then it shouldn't be important to anyone else either.

          Incidentally, I think this is a good thing in one way--it delegitimizes the whole election process. ...which is what I think we need in this state and the rest of the country.

          Who would you rather vote for to represent you from the San Fernando Valley? The Democrat? or the Democrat?

          The idea that somebody else should have the right to make my choices for me because he or she won a popularity contest was already patently absurd. This takes the absurdity to new heights.

          If libertarianism is in part the idea that, rather than politicians making our choices for us, individuals have the legitimate right to make choices for themselves, then seeing California delegitimize the selection process for its politicians might be just what the doctor ordered over the long term.

          The less Californians see their politicians as legitimate, the better off we'll be as far as I'm concerned.

        3. Probably still better than wasting half an hour on a pointless vote for the Republicans or Democrats.

    2. Well, for one thing, if Party X runs two candidates in the primary and Party Y runs three or more, Party X can shut out opposition in the general election even if it candidate received less than 50% of the vote in the primary. It fundamentally distirts the purpose of the primary and encourages the parties to limit their candidates before the primary.

      I think a better question is: what's the benefit of the top two system?

  3. the developed but charming beaches of San Pedro


    Maybe if you like big rocks and stray cats.

  4. "Top two voting" sounds like a MUCH better system than the "pick between Dem and Rep" system. You can call it one party voting if you like, but it means that maybe one day it won't be.

    1. Yeah, and when will that one day come? Non-partisan local races STILL have a huge partisan component to them.

  5. In the 76th assembly district, we have a runoff against 2 GOPers. And the person who was eliminated June 5 was also GOP.

  6. In other news, John Dennis, Republican and libertarian, made it past the primary starting gate, and will be going head to head with Nancy Pelosi in the general.

    Is there a chance he can win? Maybe not, but please don't wake me from this dream I'm having...

    1. Five months is a long time. Nancy's cloaking device could fail and the public could learn that she's an alien.

    2. Five months is a long time. Nancy's cloaking device could fail and the public could learn that she's an alien.

  7. My choices for the CA Assembly were five different Democrats, all of them with union ties.

    I have a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles. Lately, it's mostly hate.

  8. Emken will do better than Fiorina because: (1) She does not seem as extreme as Fiorina, (2) She looks to be spending less, (3) FoxNews will give her interviews and thus bring out her brand name, (4) California just has to become more conservative sooner or later because the spending madness has to stop. Having said that, Emken will probably lose by about 5 points.

    1. A colleague wrote me this about Emken, if true I doubt she gets within 20 points of Feinstein:

      "She is extraordinarily immature in speech and manner and is non-commital on a number of issues."

      1. No wonder the party elders liked her.

  9. You guys seem to be missing the major feature of the new primary system.

    Old system, super liberal Dem, and super conservative Republican run in the primaries, pandering to their base. Go on to general election, and super liberal Dem stomps Republican.

    Now, in liberals counties you will end up with a super liberal facing a less liberal, and the less liberal having a good chance of winning in the general election.

    In CA, having the less liberal win, is probably the best solution in a lot of situations

    1. There isn't anything about giving people fewer choices in the general election that's about to solve any of California's problems.

      1. This.

        1. Really, you don't think going from a super liberal to a slight liberal won't help matters at all?

          The system now rewards the most partisan in the primaries then assures the most partisan win the elections. The result, a far more liberal CA congress and senate than the electorate at large

    2. It's not really a primary in the sense we use the term, it is a general election with an automatic run-off. The major parties have every reason to prevent multiple candidates from their party from running and encouragung trojan horse candidates in the other party. This system is ripe for corrupt gamesmanship.

    3. This could be correct. Districts are mostly uncompetitive. So someone in the minority party in the district has essentially no say in who represents them. Now, they get to help pick which person from the other party represents them. How is that not an increase in the franchise?

  10. Kroneborge|6.6.12 @ 7:17PM|#
    "Really, you don't think going from a super liberal to a slight liberal won't help matters at all?"

    Moonbeam is far from a doctrinaire lefty, and I'd submit that the Dill Act has caused 'way more harm than anything passed by those to the left of him.

  11. The "top two" results were not that bad for independent candidates. Independent candidates made the top two in 4 of California's 53 Congressional districts. In CD-23, an independent candidate will face off against a Republican. In CD-13, 29 and 33, independents will face off against Democrats. In CD-33, the independent candidate beat out Republican candidates for the nod.

  12. In other races, Libertarian Senate candidate Gail Lightfoot received 76,130 votes (2.1%), despite only 10,615 Libertarians voting in the LP presidential primary (won by Gary Johnson with 5,244 votes, good for 49.4 pct).

  13. If you're in a district where the Republican is going to get stomped in the general election, you have a more meaningful chance of influencing representation if you have two Democrats with different philosophies facing off in the general election.

    In the Honolulu mayoral race, for example, you have two pro-union-jobs pro-rail Democrats running against an anti-rail Democrat in a non-partisan race -- so every Republican, Libertarian, and independent gets to vote, and the anti-rail Democrat will likely advance to the general election.

    In a partisan race, the kind Cavanaugh admires, in the general election you'd wind up with two pro-rail candidates trying to outdo the other sucking up to the union votes. Instead, there is a good chance this fucking union jobs program will get killed.

    1. if you have two Democrats with different philosophies facing off in the general election.

      In Seattle, two Democrats with different philosophies means that one wants to ban plastic bags and increase taxes. The other wants to ban plastic bags, increase taxes and build more bike lanes.

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