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Monthly Archives: October 2012
This week’s quiz is live in MySearchLab. Good Luck!
On June 5, 2012, the state of California held a nonpartisan blanket primary where candidates running for the United States Senate and the United States Congress ran in the same respective primary regardless of party affiliation. Known as the “Top 2” Primary, the top two candidates in the primary advance to a run-off in November’s general election. Traditional open/closed primary elections guarantee a nominee from each political party who holds a party primary. Therefore, if three parties hold primary elections, then each party will have a nominee on the ballot in the general election. In a “Top 2” system, no party is guaranteed a nominee in the second round of voting. You could end up with the top two primary winners from the same political party. In the case of the California, eight November Congressional contests will have two candidates from the same political party (six – Democrat vs. Democrat, two – Republican vs. Republican). In four cases, a major political party is shut out of the general election (three – Democrat vs. Independent, one – Republican vs. Independent). Forty-one races still have the traditional Democrat vs. Republican two-party contest. That also holds true for the United States Senate race, as a Democrat and a Republican will be the only two on the general election ballot. The Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom Parties will not have a candidate in November’s Senate and Congressional elections in California.
What are your opinions on a “Top 2” Primary? Do you favor such an election? Do you favor the traditional open/closed primaries that most states have where each party will have some form of representation on Election Day?
Below are a couple of races that have piqued the interests of voters in California.
In the 33rd Congressional District, Incumbent Congressman Henry Waxman (D) is going up against Bill Bloomfield (I). This district is newly drawn up after the Congressional districts were redrawn after 2010 Census. Waxman is currently the representative of the 30th Congressional District.
Another race worth a look is in the 30th Congressional District, where Congressman Howard Berman (D) of the 28th Congressional District is going up against Congressman Brad Sherman (D) of the 27th Congressional District. Both of their seats were redrawn into the newly redistricted 30th. The race has been contentious at times.
Former Democratic United States Senator George McGovern died early Sunday morning, October 21, 2012. He was 90. He leaves a legacy of being a champion of liberal causes in the United States. McGovern is also remembered for losing to Richard Nixon in the 1972 Presidential election by a landslide. He tried again in 1984, but was beaten in the primaries that year. What George McGovern should be remembered for, however, is his role in how we nominate our Presidential nomination process.
In 1968, the Democratic Party nomination for President was in disarray. Senator Robert Kennedy, the likely nominee of the party, had been assassinated after the California primary. The candidate with the most delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago was Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota. Having the most delegates gave McCarthy the inside track to the nomination. McCarthy was deemed to be too much of a “peace candidate” for President by the Democratic establishment. So much so, that party leaders including President Lyndon Johnson and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley took liberties with the delegate selection process and worked to nominate Vice President Hubert Humphrey for President. Humphrey did not compete in any primaries. After an arduous primary season, Democratic voters had been shut out essentially in the Presidential nomination process.
This is where George McGovern comes in. He, and Minnesota Representative Donald Fraser, headed a commission that would streamline the nomination process so that voters would have a direct say on who their nominee for President would be. The McGovern-Fraser Commission, as it was informally called, was charged in part with making sure that party leaders would not work behind closed doors to manipulate the nomination process.
National party convention delegates were to be chosen through direct primary elections. Previously to the Commission, primary results were binding in some states and non-binding in others. In those states with binding results, the number of delegates sent to the national convention was known by the public. In those states with non-binding primaries, the primary looked more like a beauty contest. In those cases, the delegate selection process was more likely to be determined by party leaders and not the voters. In some states, delegates were chosen in state conventions. Convention attendees tended to favor party leader-backed candidates. Outsider or anti-establishment candidates for President (or any office) had little chance of gaining their party’s nomination.
McGovern-Fraser created uniformity in the delegate selection process. Party leaders now had less of say in the selection of a Presidential nominee. Primaries have been the deciding factor in the nominating process since McGovern-Fraser. McGovern was the first to benefit from the change in the rules, as he became the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 1972.
Not since 1968 has either party had a contested nomination for President. It is highly unlikely that the major parties will have another convention like the one in Chicago where party leaders ignored the will of people and selected a candidate for President who did not run in one single primary. George McGovern made the process simpler and gave the public its rightful say in selecting its Presidential nominees. For that, George McGovern should be remembered.
You can follow the link below for a 1972 campaign ad for George McGovern.
What are your thoughts on the McGovern’s legacy? What are your thoughts on the McGovern ad?
From the informative website, Ballot Access News, comes this ballot from Palm Beach County, Florida. The ballot, for the purposes of this website, contains all of the candidates who qualified for President in the state of Florida. As mentioned before on this blog, ballot access laws in the 50 states differ from state to state. In order to qualify as a candidate for President in Florida, a candidate must belong to a party that is recognized by the state. The qualification for candidacy is less stringent than in other states. Oklahoma for example with the toughest ballot access laws in the country, will only have two candidates for President on the ballot.
Here is the list of Presidential candidates and their Vice-Presidential selections as they are listed on the ballot in Florida.
Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan–Republican
Barack Obama/Joe Biden–Democrat
Thomas Robert Stevens/Alden Link–Objectivist
Gary Johnson/James P. Gray–Libertarian
Virgil H. Goode Jr./James N. Clymer–Constitution
Jill Stein/Cheri Honkala–Green
Andre Barnett/Kenneth Cross–Reform
Stewart Alexander/Alex Mendoza–Socialist
Peta Lindsay/Yari Osorio–Party for Socialism and Liberation
Roseanne Barr/Cindy Sheehan–Peace and Freedom Party
Tom Hoefling/Jonathan D. Ellis–American Independent Party
Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson/Luis J. Rodriquez–Justice Party
Should there be a limit to how many Presidential candidates qualify for a ballot? Is this ballot an example of how democracy is supposed to work in the United States by being open to many who desire to run for office?
This week’s quiz is live in MySearchLab. Good Luck!