19
   

Would open primaries lead to a more moderate government?

 
 
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 09:40 am
I thought this was an interesting article in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/10/18/the-solution-to-hyper-partisanship-already-exists-and-it-doesnt-involve-gerrymandering/

It says, in part:

Quote:
But there’s another solution to the partisan extremism that seems to dominate Congress today, one that’s already in practice in two states: A top-two primary system, one that incentivizes candidates in even the most conservative or liberal districts to appeal to the vast middle that otherwise plays a limited role in picking members of Congress.

In California and Washington state, that top-two system is already in effect. And in both states, the hard right and the hard left have seen their influence wane.

The problem, as reformers see it: Partisan gerrymandering has led to Congressional districts in which one party is so dominant that whichever candidate they nominate will win in November. About three-quarters of all districts, according to some estimates, are so overwhelmingly Republican or Democratic that the other party doesn’t have the slightest hope. So candidates from the dominant party have an incentive to align themselves with the partisan base that will turn out in a primary. Only hard-core partisans vote in a primary, meaning those candidates are playing to the extremes of either party — Republicans try to be the most conservative candidate in the field in deep-red districts, while Democrats try to be the most liberal candidate in sky-blue districts. The districts are drawn in such a way that there aren’t enough independents and voters of the minority party to punish extremism on either side.

The partisan bases that control those primaries are so deeply polarized, and hate the other side so much, that office-holders are discouraged from working across the aisle. In modern politics, if an elected official isn’t in open warfare with the other side, they must be a squish, and partisan bases quickly replace squishes with hard-liners. That’s hardly an incentive to work constructively with members of the other party on the major problems facing the nation.


What do you think? Should all states have open primaries? Would this help lead to more collaboration and less conflict?
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Type: Question • Score: 19 • Views: 4,218 • Replies: 77

 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 09:45 am
@boomerang,
Wud u hire an accountant who is MODERATELY accurate?
or a cab driver who is MODERATELY inebriated?
or a surgeon whose hands are MODERATELY clean on-the-job??

Do u want your husband to be MODERATELY faithful to u?
Wud that lead to more collaboration and less conflict?
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 09:49 am
@OmSigDAVID,
Nothing prevents you from voting for the candidate you believe is the most "accurate".
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 09:51 am
@boomerang,
The system that u have suggested
wipes out philosophical differences
so that minority points of vu will be un-represented in the general election.

That already happened to NY 's Libertarian Party
when a jokester (an entertainer) got his followers
to swamp the small party and vote him into nomination,
tho he did not even know (admittedly) what the ideals of that party were.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 09:54 am
@OmSigDAVID,
I don't see how it wipes out anything. The people who are running are still the same people and the same voters are still voting.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 09:59 am
@boomerang,
The majority party can (and already HAS) spare
some voters to swamp smaller parties so that thay cannot offer
anyone representing their ideals in the general election.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 10:03 am
@OmSigDAVID,
If they represent the ideals of their constituents they'll win their primaries and eventually be elected.
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 10:13 am
@boomerang,
1 Maintain your right wing beliefs

2 Win elections


You choose one Dave
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 10:17 am
@farmerman,
It works the same way for the ultra liberals too.

I'm pretty moderate. I suppose that's why this seems like a good idea to me.
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 11:10 am
I hope Maine goes to open primaries at some point.

Maine has this arrogant putz named Eliot Cutler who is always running for governor as an independent. He draws his support largely from Democratic voters and runs against a Democrat and a Republican.

In the last election, right-wing Republican Paul LePage got only 38% of the vote, but he won, because Cutler and the Democrat split the remaining vote with 36% and 19%, respectively. (A few obscure candidates accounted for the remaining 7% of the vote.)

LePage is such an extremist that moderates in his own party joined with Democrats to pass a budget this year, over his veto.

I'd actually like to see 2 rounds of primaries -- the first by party; the second open, to determine the two candidates who would oppose each other in the general election.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 12:14 pm
@farmerman,
Win elections to what purpose, farmer,
if u abandon your goals ?

Might as well stay home and watch re-runs of I Love Lucy on Election Day.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 12:20 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
If they represent the ideals of their constituents they'll win their primaries and eventually be elected.
In the general election campaign,
the voice of any minority will be fully silenced
and all parties will offer the same agenda;
i.e., it will not matter WHO wins the general election
if all parties offer candidates with the same filosofy.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 12:37 pm
I don't see how open primaries would lead to more moderate government. What would keep malicious Democrats from voting for Ted Cruz, knowing he will lose the general election? Why would civic-minded, honest Democrats be more interested in picking the next Republican candidate rather than the next Democratic candidate?

On a more fundamental level, though, I think "polarization" is the wrong way to frame the problem in the first place. The right way to frame it is that the Republican party has gone off the deep end, whereas the current Democratic president is implementing Richard Nixon's and Mitt Romney's healthcare plan, George Bush's foreign policy, and a fiscal policy of rapidly contracting deficits. Compared with his predecessors over the last 100 years, Obama is a moderately conservative president. Where is the "polarization" on the left?

Case in point: Which Democratic 'extremist' could a malicious Republican voter support in the Democratic primary? Elizabeth Warren? The senator who thinks that if small-time drug dealers go to jail for possession with intent to sell, then bankers should go to jail for laundering billions of drug-lord money? The senator who wants to be criminalize investment bankers who fleece consumers with financial products they don't understand? Who wants the federal government to invest in public infrastructure? Come on.

Polarization isn't the issue here. Fanatism in the Republican party is. When "Occupy Wall Street" has as many seats in the House as the Tea Party does, we can start talking about "polarization in Washington".
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 12:53 pm
@Thomas,
According to the article, malicious voting was avoided by

Quote:
The key, they decided, was to officially disregard party affiliations altogether. Candidates could express a party preference on the ballot, without declaring themselves to be a member of one party or another. Instead of advancing the top vote-earners by party — one Republican, one Democrat, one Libertarian, etc. — only the top two vote-getters would advance to the general election.

Washington State voters approved a top-two primary system by a 20-point margin in 2004. The Supreme Court ruled in Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party that the system was constitutional, because candidates weren’t actually declaring their own party affiliation. California passed its own version of the blanket primary in 2010.


I agree that fanaticism is the real problem but extremism could be part of the problem, when thinking of primaries. The article says:

Quote:
The problem, as reformers see it: Partisan gerrymandering has led to Congressional districts in which one party is so dominant that whichever candidate they nominate will win in November. About three-quarters of all districts, according to some estimates, are so overwhelmingly Republican or Democratic that the other party doesn’t have the slightest hope. So candidates from the dominant party have an incentive to align themselves with the partisan base that will turn out in a primary. Only hard-core partisans vote in a primary, meaning those candidates are playing to the extremes of either party — Republicans try to be the most conservative candidate in the field in deep-red districts, while Democrats try to be the most liberal candidate in sky-blue districts. The districts are drawn in such a way that there aren’t enough independents and voters of the minority party to punish extremism on either side.


He's making sense to me. Am I missing something?
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 02:19 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
In your case itd be all the same.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 02:23 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I agree that fanaticism is the real problem
but extremism could be part of the problem . . .
What if someone accuses u of being fanatically moderate
and extremely centristic ??
How will u defend your position ?
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 02:26 pm
I don't want moderate office holders. I want office holders who agree with me. Mine may or may not be the moderate view for any given issue.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 02:30 pm
Just checking in.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 02:35 pm
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:
I don't want moderate office holders. I want office holders who agree with me.
Mine may or may not be the moderate view for any given issue.
Those r my sentiments.
When I vote, I try to get the guy who I believe is most likely to
do the job as I wud, if I had that job; i.e., to represent ME.





David
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Oct, 2013 02:53 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
He's making sense to me. Am I missing something?

You may be missing that their original problem statement is wrong:

Quote:
Republicans try to be the most conservative candidate in the field in deep-red districts, while Democrats try to be the most liberal candidate in sky-blue districts.

Republicans try to be the most conservative candidate in deep-red districts. Democrats do not necessarily try to be the most liberal candidate in sky-blue districts. The problem is not symmetrical. The Washington Post mischaracterizes the problem when it says it's "extremism on either side". So inevitably their solution solves the wrong problem.

If I go along with this problem statement anyway, the next question is whether open primaries are the solution. Originally I was inclined to think it isn't, because the core problem is that "only hard-core partisans vote in a primary", as the article states, and I don't see how open primaries would draw in more centrists and independents. But now I'm looking at their evidence of moderation having taken place, and I'm not so sure anymore. I'll think about it some more.
 

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