Why the California voting system is broken
From the always perceptive George Skelton in the LA Times.
The problem: “Closed” primaries combined with districts drawn for party protection. Together, they’re adding up to legislative extremism. Toss in term limits and it’s a formula for producing ambitious amateurs who are radical or reactionary.
Closed primaries are unhealthy for both the legislative and executive branches, he says, because they force “Republicans to race far off to the right and Democrats far off to the left. Neither is helpful to the political system.”
The same process happens also because of the recent redistricting that made every legislative seat completely safe for either the Democrat or the Republican. Thus, the race is won in the primary (and so much for Democracy or letting voters have any say, eh?).
Voters love term limits, but these limits are ludicrous: Three two-year terms in the Assembly, two four-year stints in the Senate.
About the time legislators get the hang of legislating and government — like, where to find real waste — they’re sent packing.
Limits should be extended to 12 years in each house.
“It’s amateur hour in Sacramento,” South says. “That’s not what you want in a state this big….
Closed primaries and restrictive districting virtually guarantee the two big parties will run candidates that appeal to the flanks of their party, not the middle. Extreme term limits means experience legislators become a thing of the past.
Some solutions; open primaries with the top two regardless of party running in the general, redistricting being done by an independent committee, and twelve year term limits.
Another idea. Instant Runoff Voting, see our article for more info.