Politics

Prop 14 Passes; Are Third Parties Dead in California?

| by Reason Foundation

By Brian Doherty

That's what many political activists think will be the result of yesterday's victory for Cali's Proposition 14, which creates a new primary system whereby anyone can vote for anyone on the ballot, party identification is voluntary on that ballot, and the top two primary vote-getters compete in the November general elections regardless of their affiliation.

Gov. Schwarzenegger loves it, thinking it means more "moderate" candidates will arise and problem-solve, rather than candidates forced to appeal in primaries to radical two-party maniacs defending their right and left flanks.

Anti-14ers Christina Tobin (of the Libertarian Party) and Ralph Nader (of Ralph Nader) are peeved:

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“Throughout the primary election season, Prop 14 supporters hammered voters with deceptive and hypocritical messages – from false claims about how the measure would cure all of Sacramento’s ills to the misleading ballot language itself,” stated Christina Tobin, chair of StopTopTwo.Org. “Big business and big government won yesterday. If StopTopTwo.Org had half the funding that Schwarzenegger’s group had, we would have been better equipped to spread the truth and would have won by a very wide margin. Simply put, voters were tricked into supporting this terrible measure by corrupt politicians and big business interests.”

Groups across the political landscape – from tea parties to labor unions to independents – opposed the anti-democratic measure because it will limit their November ballot choices to only two candidates. All six qualified parties in California opposed the measure.

Ralph Nader commented: “The California Chamber of Commerce and other corporate interests have deceived enough voters in California to abolish the November elections for all but the two major parties. This is the latest manifestation of the business lobby’s antagonism to the core event of a democratic society – the November elections. What is next for their corporatist agenda against American democracy? ”

An olde-timey 2002 Reason magazine book review on The Tyranny of the Two Party System.