What is it with The Seattle Times editorial board and open primaries? [Restore the right to open elections]
In fact, what is it with Washington state in general, and our childish belief that if we pretend there aren’t any political parties they’ll just go away? Non-partisan elections? Who thought of that joke? Like we all don’t know the Seattle city council and mayor are all Democrats?
And don’t get me started about voting for judges! As if 99.9% of voters already aren’t totally unqualified to elect a judge, the candidates aren’t even allowed to campaign on the issues. Non-partisan election my ass… non sequitur is more like it!
The old blanket primary was a silly exercise in being different for the sake of being different, and an invitation to abuse. I know, because I personally showed my disdain for the system by crossing over and voting for John Carlson and Ellen Craswell in the last two gubernatorial primaries. Why? I wanted the eventual Democratic nominee to face the weakest opponent possible. And I’m sure many thousands of my fellow Democrats did the same.
The Louisiana style “top two” primary the Times would like to see as a replacement, while not as susceptible to the same kind of abuse (it could backfire,) is just as pointless. The purpose of a primary is for the political parties to choose their candidates, and if a voter can’t bear to identify with one party or another, then they have no right to participate.
What’s the point of having a primary at all, if members of one party can choose the nominees of the other? Indeed, the GOP has already apparently gone back to smoke filled rooms to choose their nominees for statewide office. Their leadership anoints a single candidate (Dino Rossi, for example) and then drums out anybody who considers a challenge.
So why not just save taxpayers the money and eliminate the primary altogether. That’s exactly what Initiative 318 does with it’s proposed Instant Runoff Voting (IRV.)
An IRV has voters rank the candidates in order of preference. If on the first count no candidate gets over 50% of the votes, the last place candidate is eliminated, transferring each ballot cast for him or her to the remaining contenders based on the voter’s ranking. This continues until one candidate gets a clear majority.
An IRV is a general election and a primary rolled into one. It allows every voter, regardless of party, to participate fully. And unlike the farce of a primary the Times would prefer, it assures a place in the process for minor party candidates and independents, by allowing voters to express their true preference without concern for whether the candidate can win.
I-318 shows the kind of imagination and creativity both The Times and the Grange apparently lack. Best of all, it meets our state’s apparent need to be different when it comes to electoral policy, without being different for difference sake alone.