Proposition 14: Bad for California and the Nation

This week California voters passed Proposition 14 by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin. This measure creates a top two primary system where all candidates will participate in a single, open primary. The top two vote-getters, whether they are both Republicans, Democrats, Greens, etc., will advance to the general election.

I don’t much care for this result. Now, it will be even harder for pro-liberty candidates to win office. The first-past-the-post system in place in the U.S. already makes it almost impossible for third parties to compete. People are afraid of “throwing away” a vote for, say, a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate with whom they agree with more so than the Republican or Democrat running. Thus, the people hold their noses and vote for the lesser of two evils.

At least in the old system, the third parties would appear on the ballot. Now, in California, that is gone. Even in the primary, voters will be pushed to choose the lesser of the evils. Voters will not be able to “send a message” via the primary to the major parties. Instead, they will pick the candidates with an eye to just getting someone to the right of Karl Marx on the general election ballot.

For more information on Proposition 14, visit Stop Top Two.

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