Mixed Reviews for State's New "Top Two" Primary System
HOST: The first election cycle for California’s new “Top Two” open primary system is now in the books. Supporters had hoped the system would give more power to voters who were marginalized under the old system. But as Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler reports, it didn’t exactly turn out that way.
BEN ADLER: Let’s say you’re a San Francisco Republican who’s choosing between two Democrats. You could vote for the more moderate candidate. But what if they’re both pretty liberal?
PAUL MITCHELL: It might feel like you’re a Giants fan having to root for a game of the Dodgers against the Dodgers.
ADLER: Democratic consultant Paul Mitchell is an expert in redistricting and political data. He says there were several campaigns that featured two Democrats or two Republicans.
MITCHELL: If there’s no difference between the two teams, "where do you find a rationale to engage and vote? And how does that make you feel more empowered than the old system did?
ADLER: Mitchell says candidates and consultants are still figuring the “Top Two” system out, and that many voters may never be willing to vote strategically for someone who doesn’t share their values.