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The Nation magazine: ‘Downsizing Democracy in California’

John Nichols in The Nation:

California voters will decide [this] Tuesday [June 8] whether they want real choices in their elections or the limited options afforded them by the two major parties.

Proposition 14, placed on the ballot as part of a political deal involving Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative insiders, would abolish the current system of nominating candidates in party primary elections and then having them run on a fall ballot that features Democratic and Republican contenders as well as Greens, Libertarians, candidates of smaller parties and independents.

The new system would have all candidates of all parties, along with independents, run in the same primary. Then the two top finishers would contend against one another in November. In decidedly Democratic districts, that could mean a “choice” between two Democrats. In Republican-leaning districts, the “choice” could be between two Republicans. In statewide races, more often than not, a Democrat would still face a Republican, but there would be no alternative.

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  1. Michael Cavlan RN Michael Cavlan RN June 6, 2010

    Why oh why would a fantastic and openly democratic (small d) place like IPR print anything by John Nichols of the Nation magazine?

    It gives him credibility he does not deserve.

    Mr John Nichols of the Nation magazine has proven over and over to be a fop, an unadalterated apologist for the rotten, corrupt pro war two party system. Specifically the Democratic party wing of said pro-war system.

    It is a reputation he has so richly deserved and is very well known in anti-war, progressive circles.

    Outside of the Nation readership anyway.

    Seriously. Yes, you can quote me on that.

  2. paulie paulie June 6, 2010

    Michael, I really was not paying much attention to who wrote it (other than for requisite credit), I was just taking note that a widely read publication had editorialized against prop 14/”88″

  3. Thanks gentlemen. Informative on all counts.

    Interesting story about Green Party from Dallas Morning news…

    Lots of bias in the story, and the ususal spoiler angle myth…

    Worth reading still…

    GOP consultant in Arizona pulls strings to get Green Party on Texas ballot

    01:11 AM CDT on Sunday, June 6, 2010
    By WAYNE SLATER / The Dallas Morning News
    AUSTIN – The liberal Green Party’s uphill battle to get on the Texas ballot this fall has been fueled by a surprising benefactor: an out-of-state Republican consultant with a history of helping conservative causes and GOP candidates.

    If the state validates the petitions the consultant arranged for the party – for free – a Green Party slate could drain support from Democrat Bill

    What’s unknown is who paid for the previously undisclosed arrangement, pieced together by The Dallas Morning News. Green Party officials said they don’t know who funded the effort. The Perry campaign denied any involvement. And Arizona Republican operative Tim Mooney, who set up the petition drive, refused to say.

    Green Party officials said an outside group gathered the 92,000 signatures and gave them as “a gift” to the party, which delivered them to the secretary of state, who oversees Texas elections. If the secretary of state determines that enough of them are valid, the party will be able to field a slate of candidates for statewide offices for the first time since 2002.

    “It’s good news for Rick Perry, in the sense that the Green Party label draws votes away from White rather than Perry,” said Rice University political science professor Mark Jones. “It’s likely to take a small amount from White. This is only going to have an effect if it’s a very close election.”

    Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner said the governor’s campaign had nothing to do with the petition-gathering effort and knew of no supporter who might have bankrolled it.

    “But it’s a democracy, and they’re free to run,” he said. “If they have the signatures to quality for the ballot, they’ll be part of the race.”

    Restrictions in state law make it difficult for minor parties and independents to get on the ballot; experts who study ballot access say few states make it harder. One solution is hiring paid petition-gatherers, but the process is expensive.

    Christina Tobin, who heads a Chicago-based petition-gathering company called Free and Equal Inc., said she was approached by Mooney to collect signatures for the Green Party of Texas.

    Another group, Take Initiative America, based in Missouri, would provide payment, Mooney said.

  4. Morgan Brykein Morgan Brykein June 6, 2010

    The initiative system has ruined California.

  5. paulie paulie June 6, 2010

    It gave us many good things. For example, Prop 13 (property rights), Prop 215 (medical marijuana), etc.

    Not that I trust the people that much…but I trust the politicians even less.

  6. Michael Cavlan RN Michael Cavlan RN June 7, 2010


    No problemo Sir.

    It is more just a heads up for some of the other readers of IPR.

    About John Nichols of the Nation magazine.

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