EDITORIAL: PROPOSITION 14 WILL MAKE OUR BROKEN TWO-PARTY POLITICAL SYSTEM EVEN WORSE

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By Ann Menasche

 

April 1, 2010 (San Diego)--Proponents of Proposition 14 claim that the “Top two primary” would relieve the partisanship and legislative dysfunction that characterize our political system. I could not disagree more. Rather than fixing the situation, Proposition 14 would permanently cement in place the appallingly broken two-party system that has been on full display in Washington this year.

 

Proposition 14 would effectively eliminate the already limited electoral options for many American voters, preventing innovative ideas and solutions from entering the political debate. Similar laws passed in Washington and Louisiana have not improved the partisan nature of elections or elected officials.

 

Proposition 14 would deny independent and third party candidates and politicians in this country a chance to be heard while further polarizing our districts and limiting voter choice – all at increased costs to tax payers and candidates. Consider a Democrat living in a district that is 60% Republican; it is likely that almost every general election will feature the two Republican candidates who got the highest votes in the “primary”. This person would effectively be disenfranchised, facing a choice of voting for a candidate s/he strongly opposes or not voting at all. The 25% of Californians who are neither Democrats nor Republicans may never see an independent or third party candidate on the general ballot again.

 

Is Proposition 14 the best our democracy can hope for? Not when there are real, viable solutions to our electoral problems that are easy to implement, and would increase voter participation and help revitalize our democracy:
 

1) Instant runoff voting (IRV) and proportional representation – these systems, which allow voters to rank candidates rather than just choosing one, would eliminate costly and poorly attended primaries altogether, solve the partisanship issue by allowing all candidates to compete in an open playing field, prevent “spoiling”, and ensure that the winner garners a majority vote.
 

2) Same day registration and paid time off on Election Day – ensure all Americans have access to vote.
 

3) Public financing of campaigns – ensures all candidates have an equal voice in the debate, not just the billionaires, and eliminates corporate domination of our elections.

 

In a year when voters are angry and disgusted enough to look past the bickering Democrats and Republicans for effective, common sense solutions, it’s not surprising that the two major parties would try to prevent the election of independent and third party candidates while ignoring genuine solutions that would make our elections more democratic. Californians defeated a similar “top two” proposition in 2004. Let’s hope voters will see past this partisan ploy, and vote no on Proposition 14 in June.

 

Ann Menasche of San Diego is the Green Party candidate for California Secretary of State.
 

 

The opinions expressed in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. If you wish to submit an editorial for consideration, please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.
 

Comments

Housing funds crisis

Soon after Proposition 14 was passed, the federal government cut off all housing funds to California. There were no more 21 day fast mass building projects after that. Many also cited the proposition as one of the causes of the Watts Riots of 1965.

Thanks

Unbelievable.  A writer that not only shares information about their publishing, but a writer that actually responds to comments in a blog!  Thank you for both things, for sharing and for responding to people here.

I'm not particularly sure

I'm not particularly sure when this article was posted since there's no date. But since I haven't heard of any proposition 14 getting approved, I'm assuming that the people's appeal to not have this must have won.
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Somehow I just can't see this

Somehow I just can't see this as a good thing if it ever becomes a part of our system. Sure, there may be some benefits to the proposal but there might be some hidden agenda regarding Proposition 14. I guess it's the sole reason why a lot of people are so against it.
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i think proposition 14 is

i think proposition 14 is quite what the citizen is looking for although there can still be improvement made. but this democracy is better than most third world country. - FBI Background Check

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Couldn?t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!Online Boutique , Clothes Store

I agree

The voting system in The US were never really reflect the variety of opinions in America. and propositions like this only make it worse...
hope that someday this miserable proposition will be cancel:-\
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I agree with the 2nd point.

I agree with the 2nd point. If not on the same day, registration should at least go on a paid holiday although it would be a lot easier if it does happen on the same day. That way, voters would only need to go out of their way once.
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Great Post

Hi. I wanted to thank you for the excellent info you have posted on your web site. I will definitelycome back to check it out once more and have subscribedto your RSS feed. Have a great day.
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This is

True, when you read this or somethinks make you go MMMMM...Thank you..

awesome

Every time when i read this article i found new point from it and you are doing very nice work chicken coopsI enjoyed reading this article again and again.Keep it up to date.

Democrative

Our government should be democratic.I hope this government run well in the future and think about the 14 proposition.

Republic

I like to think of our government at a democratic republic. I think the gov has gotten way too much power. Anyways, I have more important things to worry about, like how to speed up metabolism

Hope It Works Out

I just hope it all works out for the best. I got to go out and get a cheap pistol safe.                                                                            

There is a reason!

There is a big reason why Goverments always fail to finish their tasks and that's because people are dumb,It too 30 years to Egypt to see what Mubarak is doing! Wake up people! Webdesign

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Thanks for the information. I think Proposition 14 is needed since we are a democratic government. I will subscribe to this post so i can know when update is available.
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Thanks for the information. I think Proposition 14 is needed since we are a democratic government. I will subscribe to this post so i can know when update is available.

Vote

People who political election Democrat or Republican are often voting for egoistic interests like being regarding or next to reproductive protection under the law, legalized marijuana, medical care reform. Inadequate to authorize the transport of trillions involving taxpayer bucks to crooked banisters. If there were honest, wide open elections with total public oversight, a variety of instant run-off voting, open funding, and also equal ballot access for everyone, the around 50% of us whom currently never vote, may well consider it. However, I look at myself as a competent grown-up, so I'd personally want to be capable of vote close to budgets along with issues, in lieu of being tied to voting for guardians to make the decisions for me as if I'm incompetent.

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awesome

This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. Youve got a design here thats not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what youre saying. Great job News

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Broken two party system

Ann Menasche hits the nail on the head!

People need to look at the results Louisiana and Oregon got, more extreme candidates (like David Duke) and incumbents. As Ann points out the real answer to our election problems is in Proportional Representation and Instant Runoff Voting. Most advanced countries use at least some of these systems. They elect a majority middle of the road candidates and some extreme candidates and third party candidates in proportion to the voters that supports them. Many more women are elected than here in the US.

Strong effective financial support of campaigns are another necessary requirement to allow the people to effectively elect good candidates that will effectively represent the people, not just the rich and the corporations.

Another requirement that Ann doesn't mention is the need for good honest news reporting. Our private news media simply parrot press releases and promote distortions and histrionics. Some solid investigative reporting that reports the facts and not the horse race or the rantings of politicians are desperately needed. As our founding fathers knew, a good news media is essential to a democracy.

I agree with Chuck.

East County Magazine is an excellent example of the type of news this country needs. I also agree with Ann that our two-party system is broken and disenfranchises half the electorate.

As Democrats have moved farther and farther to the right, those of us who oppose bailouts and wars of aggression have no chance of electing anyone who might represent our interests. People who vote Democrat or Republican are usually voting for selfish interests such as being for or against reproductive rights, gay marriage, legalized marijuana, health care reform, etc., and have to ignore the torture, war crimes, and crony bailouts they're consenting to when they vote.

Do I also care about selfish interests? Sure. But not enough to authorize the killing of over a million innocent men, women, and children in my name so that I can get more privileges. Not enough to authorize the transfer of trillions of taxpayer dollars to crooked banksters.

If we had honest, open elections with full public oversight, a form of instant run-off voting, public funding, and equal ballot access for everyone, the approximately 50% of us who currently don't vote, might consider it. But then again, I consider myself to be a competent adult, so I'd want to be able to vote directly on budgets and issues, rather than being limited to voting for guardians to make my decisions for me as if I was incompetent. That still happens in a few places in New England where they have Town Hall Meetings and the citizens can vote directly on local issues and budgets, but direct democracy seems to have disappeared totally from the rest of the U.S.

Same day registration and

Same day registration and paid time off on Election Day – ensure all Americans have access to vote. - I Agree!
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