The Top Two…and No One Else

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.

3 responses to “The Top Two…and No One Else

  1. The idea of a Top Two Primary is new to me. I think reactions to this would be mixed. Those that are committed to a particular party over a candidate may find this unfair. They ultimately do not have a person in the race. However, if one votes for the candidate, despite the party affiliation, the Top Two primary could be a feasible option. Finally, I have to comment on the video clip. I would have great concerns electing either one of these “gentlemen”.

  2. Although the idea seems to be a bit radical, in terms of what were used to, logically it makes the most sense. Why wouldn’t we want the top 2 candidates facing off against one another? We see this problem even in such contemporary issues as College football and the BCS system, where we are constantly left disappointed in the end when we don’t get to see a true battle of the top 2 titans facing off for it all. We see the connection, when one Democrat is forced to run against one Republican the poeple are always left wanting more, “Well I don;t really like everything he stands for but he’s a Dem, gotta vote for him.” In the newly brought up top 2 system we avoid this disappointing end in that the top 2 overall candidates, regardless of political affiliation, end up on the ballot. And to address the video, a man not willing to fight for what he beleives in, in my book, has no business in politics. However, acting like a child and demeaning yourself in the process only detracts from the powerful aura one must obtain to gain a position of power and weild it effectively.

  3. Although, I could not make out what was said in the video, I did find it rather interesting. I thought I was watching Maury or Jerry Springer for a minute there. Not only did the candidates look as if they were going to fight, but the audience was booing and instigating……
    As for the question on do I favor a “Top 2” primary; the answer is, No. I favor the traditional open/close primary election that most states have adopted. I like this one because the open/close election allows for each party to have some form of representation on Election Day!

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