“Top Two” Electoral Disaster for California–18% Turnout and One Party Rule

“Top Two” Electoral Disaster for California–18% Turnout and One Party Rule

Stephen Frank Editorial, California Political News and Views/California Political Review. 6/5/14

Here is what Charles Munger has brought us when he gave us Prop. 14, the “Top Two” primary instead of the traditional partisan primary.

18% primary turnout

3 legislative districts with no GOP on ballot–just NPP–not a single third party

20 legislative races with one party on ballot.
11 legislative candidates unopposed
Superintendent race  D vs. D

(Analysis of Secretary of State Unofficial Results)

Those were part of the results of the primary election held Tuesday. The fight for victory was mostly fought by special interests, the very rich and unions. Individuals and unions spent on behalf of candidates hundreds of thousands of dollars. One rich man spent over $500,000 esach on two Assembly candidates—both lost. The same man spent $700,000 in 2012 on an Assembly candidate and she lost. Good thing he is very rich!

The California Teachers Association spent $1.4 million for an Assembly candidate (he is in a runoff) and $4 million for a candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction (he is in a runoff). Other unions spent similar amounts for winners, losers and runoff candidates.

Then you have the “business” interest spending millions on both Democrats and Republicans. One business interest spent over a million dollars on an Assembly candidate, a Democrat, that lost to a Democrat supported by the unions and a Republican supported by a very rich person. Crazy, huh.

democracy vote election ballot

This year, without any controversial ballot measures, statewide candidates that few cared about (except family, friends and special interests) most found going to work or the mall a more productive endeavor.

Come November there will be exciting ballot measures, though I predict very unexciting races for statewide offices. The voter turnout may even double—to 36 or 40%–still not a lot of voters.

What will it take to get voters out? Simple, make it mean something. Republicans try to sound like Democrats in November, but in June EVERY GOP’er, no matter how liberal, claims to be a “conservative”. Those that do not pay close attention believe it. As George Kostanza in Seinfeld said, “It is not a lie if you believe it.” Voters need to question each candidate, prove they are a conservative, or a liberal, that they are honest.

California has a $340 billion debt and a $10 billion cash deficit while EVERY member of the legislature and the Governor have claimed they oppose policies that put us in debt. If so, how did we get here—is this why people have no trust or respect for elected officials.

We cannot blame the proponents of Prop. 14 for the measure, we voted it into law—we need to take responsibility. I hope that now we have seen how it works, we call it a grand experiment that failed and repeal it. Until then 18% in a primary might look really good.

Angry yet? Willing to return elections to election day?



About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.


  1. If we do not change course in this state, LA will become the next Detroit and SF is not far behind…..this is why many think dividing the state up will be the best thing…I happen to disagree but if we do not leash this legislature and remove this entitlement mentality and the government unions, we haven’t got a chance…

  2. Things will chnage in the near future when Labor Unions will be held accountable to their Members.

  3. Prop. 14 didn’t cause the problem –corrupt gerrymandered districts did. When the Democrat Party was allowed to corruptly re-draw the legislative districts they purposely depressed the vote. Why bother to vote when the opposition party hasn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning? What we need is a binding “None of the Above” ballot line. If “None of the Above” wins, all the current crop of candidates are banned from running for that office and the office would be filled in a manner similar to a recall election. That ought to get some fresh blood into the system.

  4. As anyone who views my posts, they know that I like to express my opinion, which to some, might find, “politically Incorrect”.
    Along with my opinion, I did take the time to vote, and those whose policies I disagree with, my vote was NOT cast for them.
    My opinion is, if you DON’T vote, you have no right to complain.

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