Measure 65 "isn't trying to force the parties open."

Over at DailyKos, Markos talks about Oregon's Measure 65.

He takes the unusual position that open primaries are bad (where any voter can vote in a partisan primary) but that Measure 65 (where it's a single everyone-runs primary) might be a good thing. Ultimately, he's undecided:

I've long held that if someone wants a say in a party, they should become members of that party. If they are too hip or apathetic or conflicted as to be unable to make a choice between the two dominant parties, then they should have no say in them.

But this Oregon initiative isn't trying to force the parties open. They are, instead, pitting them all against each other in an open primary, just like in Louisiana. Multiple Dems and Republicans and Greens and Libertarians and whatever else could run against each other. People could vote for the Libertarian or Green or other third party candidate in the first round confident that if they first choice lost, they'd get to make the more pragmatic call during the runoff.

In Louisiana, there is no runoff if a candidate breaks 50 percent, forcing a more pragmatic choice the first round. This ballot initiative doesn't seem to require that.

I don't know if I'm sold, and truth be told, I won't think about it again until after the elections, but this is an intriguing possibility from a state that has pioneered voting reform.

Talk to Markos over at his place. Or discuss right here.

Comments

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    There are many arguments on this one, pro and con. For me, there are issues that date back to the founding of this country, and I see M65 as a violation of the basic check and balance of power.

    But more fundamentally, it comes down to a simple math problem.

    Does 2 ever equal more than two?

    How in a general election can two candidates ever be more than the two big parties and all the little ones that are on my ballot now? I have already voted, but I had about 5 choices for President. I had several for the Senate race. Now M65 won't change the Federal elections, but locally here on the Oregon ballot, I had several choices also.

    So, 2 in the general is never equal to more than two. Simple math. M65 is therefore proven a violation of more than my sense of right/wrong and intention of our founders - it's a violation of simple math rules. 2 is never equal to more than 2, it is always less than more than 2.

  • (Show?)

    Who's that, trying to force our panties open? That kind of thing gets my parties all in a bunch!

  • Steve R. (unverified)
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    Like I've said elsewhere, anything that pisses off the GOP, the Democratic Party and the Libertarian Party can't be all bad.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    Hypothetical (posed at the City Club debate): four Democrats and two Republicans run for Governor, all of whom have decent support from their respective parties. Say that 60% would vote D, and 40% would vote R, and those votes are split evenly. The four Ds each get 15% of the vote in the primary, and the two Rs each get 20% of the vote in the primary. For the general election, we'd get to decide between which of the Rs would be governor. Adding non-party affiliations doesn't really help, this kind of scenario -- it actually led to David Duke's victory in Louisiana.

    I was undecided on this until the City Club debate, when (I think) Paul Gronke posed lots of good questions about the lack of a need for this ("a solution without a problem") and Phil Keisling didn't give many good answers (with probably the most compelling being akin to "Oregon loves being a maverick, so let's try it").

    I'll vote no on this one.

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    So again Paul G hits the nail on the head (per Jonathan's example) and per actual historic example from Louisiana.

    I'm not looking forward to a choice between Kevin Mannix and Tim Trickey in some future hypothetical statewide election.

    No on 65 and let Keisling figure out some other way to make his mark on history. Maybe endow a local park or even a local parkbench, and spare the electorate his urge to experiment.

  • artsasinic (unverified)
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    This is a bad bill. It will mean that the more people in a party who are interested in running, the less chance any of them will be successful. This will ultimately lead to the party leaders putting even more pressure against anyone but the "chosen", cutting off funding for anyone else. The party with the most "discipline", not the most qualified person, will always win.

  • Jim H (unverified)
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    I went back and forth on this, but eventually voted No. I'd rather see instant run-off and don't want to vote for something just because it's what happens to be on the ballot this time. My wife voted Yes though, so we cancel each other out.

    Now, can someone help me with these stupid East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District Director candidates so I can turn in my ballot? Thanks!

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    At the time I refused to sign the petition for this initiative, the signature gatherer was flogging the idea that this all-comers primary (or whatever you want to call it) would have the salutary effect of forcing candidates to the "middle". Wonderful. That's just what we need: fewer clear choices.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    When they were gathering signatures for this, the gatherer tols us that "it ain't written by Sizemore or those people. It is written by Phil K(eyes)ling"

    I knew something was wrong when the gatherer couldn't pronounce the author's name correctly - an author who is well known in some parts of Oregon.

    I also went NO on this because it would create mountains out of molehills in several confusing areas, making it a prime canidate for court challenges that would cost us more money that it originally intended.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    There are many problems with political parties and ballot access in Oregon, but I do not see how M65 remedies any of these. What I believe it will do is increase the already too great power of special interest campaign money.

  • (Show?)

    Not to mention what it will do to minor parties.

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    Like Markos, I'm still undecided. Unlike him, I have to make a decision soon.

    How in a general election can two candidates ever be more than the two big parties and all the little ones that are on my ballot now?

    Well, right now. Up in Northeast Portland, for example, Chip Shields and Tina Kotel are running all alone.

    All the minor parties bitch and moan and whine about how they won't get a shot in a general election under M65. But in many, many districts they can't be bothered to run a candidate right now.

  • negev79 (unverified)
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    I haven't seen any well articulated reasons why this passing would be good for Oregon. But I can see reasons why it might be bad. So for the various reasons cited above by other posters, I voted no.

  • (Show?)

    Katy wrote... Not to mention what it will do to minor parties.

    I think this idea stems from a misconception.

    Sure, it's likely that most races in swing districts will feature a Democrat and a Republican.

    Under the current system, the only way that a minor party can affect the outcome is to run their own candidate - which can serve as a spoiler.

    Under M65, the minor party can actually cross-endorse the D or the R. In this way, they do get a candidate on the ballot. These minor party endorsements will likely become a strong strategic consideration, as candidates jockey for their support.

    It's not quite fusion, but it's close.

    And keep in mind that the minor parties can do this cross-endorsing thing even if they previously ran another candidate in the primary that lost.

    To my mind, M65 strengthens minor parties.

    Now, I remain concerned that it may weaken the major parties. That's a good argument. But the more I think about this measure, the more I'm convinced that it will help minor parties, not hurt them.

  • Ian McDonald (unverified)
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    I am convinced that the party endorsement feature of Measure 65 will, almost always, determine the outcome, especially in highly contested statewide races. Is anyone talking about this?

    Democrats and Republicans central organizations will give this endorsement to one candidate, who will be chosen in a smoke filled room. If they don't, they should be sued for political malpractice.

    Unless I'm mistaken, this feature makes the Oregon proposal completely different from the process now used in Washington State. If I am wrong about this, please elucidate.

    The "self declaration of party" feature addresses this problem? The legendary self-declared Democrat Lyndon LaRouche comes to mind.

    Suppose Jeff Merkley had received the endorsement in this year's Senate primary. Do you think Steve Novick would have had a prayer of landing in the top two, even with independents participating? I don't see how.

    I can accept the principled argument that the state shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing the nomination process of private organizations while excluding some voters.

    But do you honestly think, as a practical matter, that disenfranchised independent voters are waiting to rise up and seize the nomination process in highly contested races? Not me.

    A final complaint: would it have killed the proponents to propose testing this process on state legislative races first, in order to prove the concept?

  • Colin (unverified)
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    The truth is that NO minor party supports this measure. AND THREE MINOR PARTIES ACTIVELY OPPOSE MEASURE 65.

    The Keisling team pushing Measure 65 has been working tirelessly in OR for many many years to get a top-two passed. But it's the wrong solution.

    I was at the Portland City Club when Keisling himself thanked SUSAN NEILSEN of the Oregonian for helping him over the LAST SEVEN YEARS bring a top-two to OR.

    This time around they are taking advantage of rising discontent over partisanship at the national level to get a smooth-sounding "reform" measure passed in our state. They've gathered huge corporate donations (check it out on ORESTAR) and they've even convinced a few currently elected officials to endorse the measure by convincing them it will pass anyways.

    The "NO on 65" campaign did not have the same head start as the Keisling's team - BUT it's making up ground, fast.

    The No on 65 campaign needs all of our help. Every dollar donated helps the campaign reach more and more people with the truth about top-two failures, and the truth about the better alternatives.

    Make a donation today: http://www.voteno65.org.

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    The main benefits of the Open Primary:

    1) It eliminates spoiler candidates in the general election. 2) It will give voters in more districts an honest choice on the November ballot. Currently, 44 percent of legislative races, including 8 out of 15 in the Senate, are non-competitive. In districts like Shields' or Kotek's, you might see 2 Democrats or a Democrat and a Green, but at least the race will be contested. 3) It creates a fairer elections calendar for all political parties, and strengthens the hand of parties that choose to cross-endorse candidates (as Kari pointed out). 4) It will tend to weaken the more extreme elements of both major political parties, and strengthen the reasonable middle.

    Another good reason to vote for this measure is that it will send a message to the consultants running the "No" campaign, that fear-mongering and negative campaigning is not the way to win in Oregon politics.

    One other point: I'd be careful reading too much in to Paul G's supposed "expertise" on this matter. In his first debate with Keisling, he said "We should think carefully before amending the Oregon Constitution." Of course, this is a statutory and not a constitutional measure, so this point, like many of the ones he has made about M65 was sheer nonsense -- not the least of which is that this is a very different system than the Louisiana Primary, which is actually more similar to the non-partisan elections that we currently have in many county commissioner and other local races.

  • e (unverified)
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    cut and pasted from the vote no on 65 website (www.voteno65.org):

    REMEMBER: Minor political parties will NOT appear on the general election ballot if they do not make the “top two” cutoff.

    According to fairvote.org:

    "...since only the top two finishers in the opening primary have had any chance to advance to a runoff election, it proved to be very difficult for minor party candidates to appear on Louisiana's November election ballot for federal and state elections. Not surprisingly, there have been no effective minor parties in Louisiana in the years since the present election system was put into place in 1978."
    

    Fairvote.org is an org dedicated to trying to ensure fair and open access to all voters... Kari- come on. Do you really think this will strengthen minor parties? When the minor parties themselves are opposed to this measure?

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    Colin, what are the three minor political parties that oppose Measure 65. By my count, there are two: The Libertarian Party and the Green party.

    The Independent Party has not taken a position on the measure. However, a majority of Independent Party candidates, including Ben Westlund, Vicki Berger, Jim Gilbert, Joel Haugen, and most of our local candidates have endorsed the measure.

    The "No on 65" team doesn't need to "make up ground". They are being bankrolled by the largest political action committee in the state who held their fire just long enough to solicit financial support against Bill Sizemore from the "evil financiers" behind 65, just before sending out a mailing that falsely implies that Bill Sizemore is behind Measure 65.

    "No on 65" has run a shameful campaign in the last few weeks. I hope that Oregon voters send a message that this kind of dishonest negative campaigning has no place in Oregon politics.

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    When the minor parties themselves are opposed to this measure?

    I recruit candidates for the state's largest minor political party and am a strong proponent of M65, as are most of our candidates.

  • no no no (unverified)
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    Sal. Let's be honest. When 7 of the top 11 financiers of the YES campaign are: The Standard; PacifiCorp; Portland General Electric; Providence Health System; J.C. Milne Real Properties Bank of America Corp. PAC (Fed); US Bank...

    don't you think Oregonians should be just a little worried?

    Why is it these corporations are so interested in 'fixing' the Oregon electoral system? Could it be because they see an opportunity to flood campaigns with candidates and money in what promises to be crowded fields, with more expensive campaigns that are longer and longer and longer?

    Makes me nervous. A NO vote from me for sure.

  • (Show?)

    Kari

    Unlike Markos, hopefully you will actually read the initiative. Markos's essay makes it quite clear that he hadn't even read the damn thing.

    I am still not clear why people listen to this guy. He runs a great website, but a political guru he ain't.

    --

    Sal continues with the misrepresentation.

    Sal, please point specifically to an example of "dishonest negative campaigning."

    Sal writes: 1) It eliminates spoiler candidates in the general election. 2) It will give voters in more districts an honest choice on the November ballot. Currently, 44 percent of legislative races, including 8 out of 15 in the Senate, are non-competitive. In districts like Shields' or Kotek's, you might see 2 Democrats or a Democrat and a Green, but at least the race will be contested. 3) It creates a fairer elections calendar for all political parties, and strengthens the hand of parties that choose to cross-endorse candidates (as Kari pointed out). 4) It will tend to weaken the more extreme elements of both major political parties, and strengthen the reasonable middle.

    1) Is true, since it opens up the chance for dozens of spoilers in a low profile, low turnout primary. Much better, right?

    2) I don't what an "honest" choice is. This measure does nothing to deal with poorly drawn, gerrymandered legislative districts, which all observers agree contribute to uncompetitive elections. Right problem but the wrong solution.

    3) I don't know what a "fairer election calendar" is. This will essentially create two general elections, raise campaign spending, increase the influence of moneyed interests, and drive out candidates who can't or won't compete for these dollars.

    4) Ah, the reasonable middle. Back we are to them. The partisans are unreasonable. The people who vote regularly are unreasonable. The unaffiliated and unattached are the "reasonable" ones.
    So many assumptions, so little time. Independents are moderate (evidence?). Extremists currently control primaries (evidence?). The Oregon governor, SoS, Atty General, congressional delegation, legislature is full of extremists (evidence?).

  • Colin (unverified)
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    Sal, I (mistakenly) assumed that the Independent Party opposed Measure 65 after reading complaints about a top-two from Independent Party members. Maybe the party hasn't come out with an official "No" position (which makes me wonder why not), but many of the members are certainly AGAINST measure 65.

    The fact still remains: no minor party has said "yes, this is good for us." At least two have voted to oppose a top-two. And many minor party and unaffiliated voters across the state (such as myself) are ABSOLUTELY SURE this is NOT the change we're looking for.

    As for which campaign is being bankrolled.. I challenge you to look up the top 15 or so donors for the YES side. Most of them are banks, insurance companies, utilities companies, and real estate developers - to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars EACH. WHY? Shouldn't we be curious why these corporations and big money funnels are interested in a measure that deals with ELECTIONS AND CAMPAIGNS??

    There are many problems with Measure 65's top-two primary. (1) It will make races more expensive, making it harder for people lacking big money connections to get into politics (that's why union folks are concerned: they want workers to be able to run for office, not just well-connected elites).

    (2) It will eliminate minor parties, which is why 3 minor parties in Oregon oppose it and no minor parties support it.

    And (3) it will take away the ability for members of major parties (Ds and Rs) to nominate a candidate; instead, the political parties will have to endorse certain candidates (which is why even the major parties are against a top-two: they want ALL their members to decide rather than a select few).

    There are problems with the political parties and ballot access in Oregon. And, of course, we ALL want everybody's vote to mean something. We all want politicians to pay heed to their constituents, and we all want the political make-up of the state to reflect the diversity of beliefs throughout Oregon rather than polarized extremes from the national level.

    BUT Measure 65 WON'T solve these problems; in most cases it will make it worse.

    If you're worried about these issues, VOTE NO ON 65 and save your yes vote for real election reform.

    Here are two helpful sites: saveoregonsdemocracy.org

    www.voteno65.org.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Sal wrote:

    The main benefits of the Open Primary:

    1) It eliminates spoiler candidates in the general election. 2) It will give voters in more districts an honest choice on the November ballot. Currently, 44 percent of legislative races, including 8 out of 15 in the Senate, are non-competitive. In districts like Shields' or Kotek's, you might see 2 Democrats or a Democrat and a Green, but at least the race will be contested. 3) It creates a fairer elections calendar for all political parties, and strengthens the hand of parties that choose to cross-endorse candidates (as Kari pointed out). 4) It will tend to weaken the more extreme elements of both major political parties, and strengthen the reasonable middle.

    1) I agree, but this is not often a crucial matter. 2) This is probably the strongest argument in favor of M65. 3) I don't understand the minor party process well enough to comment. 4) This is my major objection. Candidates who do not please those with the big money [progressives, mostly] will not have the ideological support of parties to compensate. This is why, I believe, big business interests support M65. It will make buying candidates even easier than it is now.

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    I'd like to hear both Paul Gronke and Sal Peralta address a factual question here.

    "E" wrote: REMEMBER: Minor political parties will NOT appear on the general election ballot if they do not make the “top two” cutoff.

    But it's my understanding that under Measure 65 any party (minor or major) can appear on the general election ballot by cross-endorsing one of the top-two candidates.

    This is purely a factual question. Who is right - me or "e"?

    (And seriously, people, feel free to use pseudonyms but can we make them reasonable ones? And consistent over time? Is "e" the same as "no no no"? No idea.)

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    Tom, fair points. I would argue that without campaign finance reform, no system will level the playing field for progressive candidates.

    I think that giving more voters a choice in November outweighs the potential costs. There is absolutely no reason why a grassroots candidate cannot outperform better-funded candidates in the handful

    I do not agree that moderates cannot be progressive, I believe that most of the progressive reforms we have enjoyed in Oregon (beach bill, bottle bill, rainy day fund, state parks, etc) have been the product of bi-partisan cooperation and moderate consensus-building.

    no,no, no - The opposition to Measure 65 is primarily funded by the largest, best-funded, most powerful political action committee in Oregon.

    Colin - Dan Meek and Linda Williams are two public members of the Independent Party who oppose Measure 65. However, as I stated, most of our candidates support the measure, and the state's executive council is split on the measure. I am on that council, and my company collected most of the signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot.

    You are mistaken when you parrot the line that measure 65 will "eliminate" minor parties. The Greens, Libertarians, and Independent Party will all continue to function if no legislative fixes are passed.

    What the Greens and Libertarians object to is not being able to run spoiler candidates on the general election. If they were serious about winning elections, they would support this measure and put their efforts into electing a few legislative candidates in inner-portland or Eugene.

    As for the Working Families Party and Constitution Party, I have distributed copies of the very minor legislative fix that will be needed to ensure that the handful of minor parties that will be affected by this measure (Working Families, Constitution) will be able to maintain ballot access to members of both the House and Senate Committees on elections and rules.

    Paul - Have you figured out yet that this is not a constitutional measure? Seriously, how can you pass yourself off as an expert in this area when you can't even get basic facts about the measure correct during public debate?

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    Kari - You have it factually correct. Minor political parties may endorse candidates of other parties and have those endorsements appear on the general election ballot if this measure passes.

    Additionally, I would argue that minor political parties will generally fare better running their own candidates than they currently do in legislative races. Remember, no minor political party candidate has ever been elected to a legislative or statewide office in more than 100 years.

    Indeed, they really can't do worse than they are currently doing, and the current elections calendar badly discriminates against minor political parties that are serious about winning inasmuch as it does not allow minor parties the ability to guarantee their candidates a one-on-one race until mid-June -- far too late for most candidates to raise money or put together a credible campaign.

    Under the Open Primary, I believe that minor political parties, particularly the Independent Party, Libertarians, and Greens, will fare better than they currently do, or than weaker of the two major political parties in many of the districts that are traditionally not targeted.

    Paul will dispute this assertion. However, there is no disputing the fact that minor political parties have historically done very well in local elections that have similar top-two systems.

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    Katy,

    Measure 65 offers minor parties an excellent opportunity to become truly influential in Oregon politics. But they will have to adjust the way they operate. I don't see that as a fundamental problem, but a logistical one -- and it's accompanied by significant benefits.

    Minor parties would be able to endorse candidates in every election, without necessarily having to recruit from their own ranks. Such endorsements would appear on the ballot (assuming the candidate accepts them).

    This means minor parties would have a significant bargaining chip in negotiating with the major parties, influencing winning candidates to support thier priorities.

    Of course, minor parties could still run candidates from within their own ranks, too. Yes, such candidates would start the process during the primary, and it might be rare for them to advance to the November election. But it could happen; is it so difficult to imagine a Pacific Green candidate finishing in the top two in an East Portland race, or a Libertarian in Eastern Oregon?

    If and when that happens, you'll have a candidate that has actually positioned him or herself to launch a serious campaign.

    How great is the benefit, under the current system, for minor parties to get on the general election ballot, if they never have a chance of winning? When they do have an impact, it is typically a spoiler effect, a big problem in itself. Is it really so hard to imagine the benefits of a system where minor parties exercise their power by interacting with candidates, rather than by threatening to throw a wrench into close races?

    I hope that the minor parties in Oregon will rise to the occasion, and embrace the opportunity to become a more significant part of the civic discourse.

      Disclosure: I am working on behalf of the Oregon Ballot Freedom Project, which worked for fusion voting during the last legislative session. The views expressed are entirely my own.
  • Chris Paul (unverified)
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    This is part of the problem i have with the current system, eveyone focusing on the party instead of the actual candidates.

  • zull (unverified)
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    I'm entirely against this measure. Here is what happens when you have open primaries: One party's activist base (radio talkers, local activists, etc.) get a percentage of their people to vote in the other party for the perceived "weaker" candidate. If they can effectively sway that vote, their own candidate goes up against the weaker primary candidate in the general election, which helps the party playing the other side against itself to maintain a stranglehold on a seat (or at the very least, cause a disruption in the other party). That's how they game the system, they've been doing it in Michigan for years now. Does anyone really want our political system to wind up like Michigan's?

  • zull (unverified)
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    And, as I was going to add, Louisiana's system isn't really all that great either. The same scheme that scumbags use in open primaries would work in this system, possibly even more effectively. It's really not that great an idea. Vote no on all of them and send a message to Bill Sizemore and Kevin Mannix to stop gaming our initiative system.

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    Steve Bucknum: You say: "Now M65 won't change the Federal elections" This measure says it affects all currently partisan elections except President, including for Senator and Congressperson. We could be denied the opportunity to choose the party of our representatives in Congress, which will still be organized around party caucuses.

    Sal continues the bait and switch of referring to this as "open primary." It's not. It doesn't "open" the nomination process to voters who are not members of the party they want to vote in; it obliterates the nomination process entirely.

  • (Show?)

    Sue, relax -- it's not a bait-and-switch, and nobody is trying to fool anybody.

    The current system is closed, airtight. Measure 65 would open up the first round of voting to non-affiliated voters and minor party members.

    There are other ways to do that -- the Montana primary (i.e., choosing one party's ballot or the other at the time of the election) is the one most commonly called an "open primary."

    But that doesn't make this one any less open. I'm sure Sal or anyone else supporting Measure 65 is happy to explain this -- I've heard him explain it quite clearly in the past.

    We can get through this decision without calling names or questioning people's integrity. I hope you agree.

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    As I've said several times, I have major problems with this measure.

    First, I'm fairly certain that what will end up happening is the Republicans and Democrats will go to a process that only allows one person on the ballot to be listed with their party next to their name. This would mean that a lot less people will be choosing the party's nominee. So instead of 80,000+ people choosing a nominee, it could be a few hundred (or even less).

    Second, I do not like how the PCP elections are changed. Right now, PCPs are elected every 2 years. Being elected as a PCP is important, as they are the only one who are eligible to vote on party officers. The measure changes this to every 4 years. This is a huge issue since if you move beyond your precinct (and the adjacent precinct), you're no long an elected PCP. Move to Oregon between elections? Can't be an elected PCP. Turn 18 between elections? Can't be an elected PCP. While PCPs would be elected every 4 years, officers have to be elected much more often. This means you'd have a much smaller group of people voting on who the officers would be. And it unfairly targets renters and young people, since they're more likely to have a move within the 4 year period.

    Also, unless there is a contested election for PCP, the race would not be on the ballot. Anyone who has ever had anything to do with a PCP election knows that a contested election is a rarity - most precincts have less people than positions. Why is that a big deal? Parties often times get half or more of their elected PCPs through write-in elections. The ability to do that would go away under this measure.

    How this measure handles legislative vacancies is another thing I have issue with. Say we get a Dem elected in an area where the county commission is heavily Republican. And say that seat becomes vacant for some reason - the county commission would not be required to pick a Dem to fill the seat. Currently they have to pick from the same Party.

    There are just way too many problems with this measure. I'd much rather see us go towards Fusion Voting, or allowing those registered NAV to choose to vote a partisan ballot instead (a true open primary).

    Many of the people I've talked to who are in support of this told me they're doing so because they're angry with the parties and want them to change the way they do things. This is definitely not the way to do that - all we're going to do is push the selection of the parties' candidates back to a select few.

  • LT (unverified)
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    What I found fascinating in the Voters Pamphlet was the lists of people for and against. Sal is in there, so are multiple former governors.

    Imagine if this had been in place in Dec. 1995 when Norma was running against Gordon Smith in the primary to replace Packwood. A well known Democrat we knew re-registered R so he could vote for Norma.

    Norma was my state rep. and did an excellent job. I happen to think she and Phil are right.

    Yes, campaign finance reform is important. So is having competitive candidates on both sides. Maybe we could have a serious issues debate in the 2010 Gov. race (unlike what we have had recently) if a current Dem. legislator or statewide elected official was running against an intelligent Republican such as St. Sen. Frank Morse. As I understand M. 65, a 3rd party candidate could also run. Suppose we had 3 candidates for Gov. of each major party. Suppose the Republicans were Jason Atkinson (if he is healthy enough), St. Sen. Morse and some former candidate like Saxton. Would Morse pull Atkinson toward the center and would they both sideline Saxton?

    Last time I looked, Louisiana is at the other end of the country. The closest thing we've seen to David Duke has been Sizemore and Mabon. Could either prevail in a multiple candidate primary? What makes you think they could?

    And my experience in local politics and on state central comm. is not the game playing some have suggested. The game playing I saw was some people concerned about a ballot measure passing a resolution (late, after some had left for a long drive home) taking a stand in opposition to what Democratic legislative leadership wanted, winning by a 6 vote margin, and then saying "all good Democrats" supported their side of a proposed ballot measure.

    That was in 1985. It succeeded in driving some people out of party politics, but it isn't the kind of game playing some suggest would happen under M. 65.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jennie, are you saying that if people file for Precinct Person in Mult. County (file before filing deadline instead of running a write in campaign) that their names don't appear on the ballot? That's what this sounds like.

    "Also, unless there is a contested election for PCP, the race would not be on the ballot. Anyone who has ever had anything to do with a PCP election knows that a contested election is a rarity - most precincts have less people than positions."

    Are you saying that those not affiliated with a party shouldn't have the right to vote to nominate candidates because it might mess up pct. committee people elections?

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    LT:

    Unless there are more names filed for a PCP position than there are slots, they would not appear on the ballot. In all my years of working as a PCP, I've seen only a handful of contested races. At the same time, I've seen hundreds of PCPs elected via write-in. Those people would no longer have that option if this ballot measure passes. In Multnomah County this past May, there was just over 200 people who received the needed 3+ write-in votes for Democratic PCP.

    I'm just pointing out that this measure does more than just put all parties on the same ballot - it affects PCP elections, legislative vacancies, and more. It's not my fault that these other items were added to the measure. But because they have been added, I'm going to voice my opposition to the changes.

  • Taylor M (unverified)
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    Alright, as a former Louisianan, I feel like I have to set this straight- David Duke didn't win anything in the 1991 LA gubernatorial race, except the right to lose to Edwin Edwards in November. The results of the jungle primary were as follows:

    34% to former Gov. Edwin Edwards (D); 32% to David Duke (R); 27% to incumbent Gov. Buddy Roemer (D-R); 5% to perennial candidate Clyde Holloway (R)

    Edwin Edwards was a relatively popular but somewhat-corrupt three-term governor. Buddy Roemer was elected as a moderate Democrat to Baton Rouge in 1987 and switched to the GOP in 1991. Clyde Holloway was a conservative niche candidate. David Duke was David Duke.

    In 1991, the LA electorate got exactly what they wanted from the November runoff- a showdown between the Democratic candidate most popular with Democrats and the Republican candidate who best represented GOP voters. I think there's a good case to be made that with polarized electorates (as was/ is the case in LA and also in OR) the top-two primary system in statewide elections can find the two candidates who best appeal to the largest factions in an electorate. It's a way to advance the consensus favorites, rather than the least-worst options.

    What's so wrong with David Duke getting to a general election, anyway?

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    Jenni wrote:

    First, I'm fairly certain that what will end up happening is the Republicans and Democrats will go to a process that only allows one person on the ballot to be listed with their party next to their name. This would mean that a lot less people will be choosing the party's nominee. So instead of 80,000+ people choosing a nominee, it could be a few hundred (or even less).

    Jenni, this is a misunderstanding.

    The candidates would all have their own personal party registration listed next to their name. Then, separately, the parties could decide to endorse zero, one, or many candidates as well.

    I agree that the party endorsement may be a very valuable thing - but it may also be a negative. I can easily imagine a candidate message that says "Don't let the party bosses tell you who to vote for!"

    Let's talk about a very real, very recent example. Imagine, for a moment, that the DPO had endorsed Jeff Merkley prior to the primary election.

    That ballot might have looked like this:

    • Gordon Smith (Republican) Endorsed: Republican Party
    • Jeff Merkley (Democrat) Endorsed: Democratic Party
    • Steve Novick (Democrat)
    • Candy Neville (Democrat)
    • Dave Brownlow (Constitution) Endorsed: Constitution Party
    • Dave Frohnmayer (Independent) Endorsed: Independent Party

    ...and Steve Novick would have used the same message that he used in the primary -- don't let the party machine dictate the outcome.

    Maybe that message would have been weaker with a DPO endorsement. Maybe it would have been stronger.

    That's hard to know. (Law of unintended consequences and all that.)

    But let's be clear: Every candidate that files will have their personal party registration listed next to their name.

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    I feel like I have to set this straight- David Duke didn't win anything in the 1991 LA gubernatorial race

    Thank you, Taylor M. I've already gotten one piece of direct mail that claims that "This is the same system famous for political dirty tricks and allowing extremists like neo-Nazi David Duke to get elected."

    As I told a friend recently, if I get another piece of mail that's factually inaccurate like that, I'll vote for Measure 65 just out of spite.

    (It also claimed that it will result in "less choice" for voters. There are many things wrong with Measure 65, but less choice is NOT one of them. The average voter/taxpayer will get more choices. Which may be a bad thing, but facts matter.)

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    Kari:

    The parties have the right to decide what the qualifications are for being able to run under a certain party's name. Which means they could keep others from being able to run under their name. Not to mention that they can keep resources and such from going to the candidate as well. Ask any candidate who didn't receive help from the DPO/Future PAC/county parties how difficult it was to run without that support.

    There's no way the Democrats and Republicans are going to run the risk of splitting the vote so much that no candidate from the district/area's major party ends up in the general.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jenni, About this:

    "The parties have the right to decide what the qualifications are for being able to run under a certain party's name.....There's no way the Democrats and Republicans are going to run the risk of splitting the vote so much that no candidate from the district/area's major party ends up in the general."

    Where is that in law? Party caucuses are not in the Oregon Constitution--years ago I looked.

    You may be confusing custom/tradition with law.

    Don't forget, one of the advocates of this measure ran for legislature and was ignored by FP ("lousy R to D ratio" nonsense, as if no one votes in the general election if they are not registered in a major party) and lost by a few hundred votes.

    When did it happen that we quit electing individuals to the legislature and started electing members of caucuses? How many people elect to the caucus instead of electing the individual now? Has anyone done research on that? Or do partisans just assume people think that way?

    If anyone were to be elected to House Dems from one of those "impossible" districts, would that person have the same rights as a member of the caucus ---including questioning the whole FP scene which didn't exist 20 years ago--as someone elected as an FP target? If not, why not? Do legislators pledge allegiance to their caucus, or were they elected to represent their district?

    Jenni, have you ever been to a county party meeting outside of Multnomah Co? Are you a member of State Central Committee?

    Parties act according to the words, actions and votes of "the people in the room". That means platform, passing resolutions, setting up caucues within the party (Rural Caucus, for instance) according to what the voting delegates at the state level or pct. people at the local level decide. When the membership changes, the party decisions change.

    There was a time in the early 1990s when the state campaign committee tried to force views on certain issues on the whole party, saying all good Democrats stood for the same side of certain issues. Trouble was, one of the issues was a coast vs. inland issue, and they took the inland side. Were they saying the campaign committee didn't want to win seats on the coast? The state central committee blocked that cockamamie idea. Jenni, you are imaging what parties would do in the future without knowing what the voting members would do or even who those voting members would be in the future. The party of Howard Dean is not the party of Terry McAuliffe, and neither are state or local parties the same always.

    Back before 1991 when the state party office was in Salem, the party was more connected to the state as a whole. Portland is not Oregon, and generalizing that the rest of the state thinks/acts like people in Mult. Co. has been an issue here as long as Blue Oregon has existed.

    By all means vote no if you are worried about 2 members of the same party being on the ballot in the fall. But I think it would be good to pass M. 65.

    And just to throw another log on the fire, what if this year's Senate primary had been held under Measure 65? What if Gordon Smith turned out to have to run in the primary and turned out to be so unpopular that Merkley came in first and either Novick or Neville had been that 2nd candidate?

    That scenario is every bit as possible under Measure 65 as I understand it as "There's no way the Democrats and Republicans are going to run the risk of splitting the vote ".

    The whole point of the measure is that all those people out there who aren't partisans (estimated to be over 60% of the voting public) have grown tired of the partisan attitude, "this is about Team D vs. Team R and if you are not active in either one just shut up and be a spectator".

    The first words of the Oregon Constitution are "We the people" and I never found anything in writing which required Oregon voters to state their allegiance to a group to take part in Oregon democracy.

    When Phil and Norma were in the legislature, there was no FP or any other caucus campaign arm. How do I know that?

    Not only did I volunteer a few decades ago on the campaigns which put a couple of young men in the Oregon House (named Jim Hill and Peter Courtney), but in a graduate class where the term paper was a major part of the grade, I wrote on 2 women who were first elected to the legislature around the time of the founding of the Women's Political Caucus. I read a lot about Norma's first run for office for that paper, incl. lots of old newspaper articles.

    One headline was "Woman lawyer runs against farmer" (I think that was the opponent's occupation) because it was a big deal for a woman to run for the legislature. When the Tom McCall statue was dedicated here in Salem's Riverfront Park recently, there were speeches by Democrats as well as Republicans. They talked about how individuals influenced legislation, party being secondary.

    Jenni, I never understood when/why politics in Oregon became a team sport. I haven't been registered to the same party all my life, and some of the people I admire are not Democrats.

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    Jenni: I don't know what you mean by "run under a certain party's name." Anybody registered with a party (and there would be no additional "qualification" for that) as of 70 days prior to the election would have that registration noted on the ballot. Yeah, the parties would have the right to determine their own process for "endorsing" candidates. That process could be open or closed or whatever. As Kari points out, that may or may not be significant. At any rate, those "endorsement" decisions will undoubtedly be made by far fewer voters than now participate in nominating primaries. "Endorsement" is put forth as some kind of substitute for nomination.

    By the way, this remains unexplained: "Term in office of Precinct Committeepersons. Notwithstanding anything in ORS 248.015, the term in office of Precinct Committeepersons elected under ORS Chapter 248.015 shall be four years, and shall expire on the 24th day after the date of the primary election held in a presidential election year at which they were last elected."

    Also by the way, it provides that when vacancies in office are filled by appointment to fill unexpired terms, the replacement need not be from the party of the person last elected. The appointing authority could appoint anybody, and could change the party makeup of the Legislature if they wish.

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    Actually, I've been hearing some talk from people in both parties that if this passes, additional requirements could be added to the qualifications for candidacy under a party's name. It's not been done before because members of the party get to choose who their nominee is, and then that person heads to the general election. But with the primary essentially becoming a general with a run-off in the fall, there is discussion among many people to push for changes so there could be a nominating process before the May election and only that person could carry the party's name. I didn't say it would happen, but I can assure you I've heard plenty of people around the state discuss this option.

    LT:

    I don't know how many times I have to say it. It seems I say it every time this topic comes up. I'm an alternate to the SCC. On numerous occasions I've had the opportunity to vote at the meetings, including for DPO leadership.

    I've never attended a county meeting outside of Multnomah County. But as I've said countless times, I've heard the exact things I said about brought up by PCPs and SCC members all around the state - at the Oregon Summit, at the state delegate convention, at the platform convention, at SCC meetings, etc. I typically try to eat my meals with Dems from around the state so that we have the chance to discuss topics with people from people from all over the state.

    There's nothing saying you have to be a member of a party to participate in democracy. However, members of a party should be able to choose who will represent them, which is what a nominating process is all about.

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    Kari - You nailed what the primary might look like, excapt that it was former NEA chair, John Frohnmayer, not his brother Dave, who was running for the position as an I.

    Jenni - FuturePac will provide its target list and a candidate will make that list or not make that list. Nothing changes in that regard under the proposed Open Primary measure.

    A few additional comments on Jenni's argument...

    1) On caucuses... I disagree that a caucus model for allowing political parties to choose their nominee is a bad thing. I see it as a tremendous grassroots organizing opportunity.

    2) On legislative appointments... Shouldn't a person's qualifications to serve, irrespective of political party, be the primary basis on which a county commission fills a political vacancy?

    3) On pcp vacancies...As a former county chair, I can say unequivocally that every county party has a process for appointing precinct committee persons when a vacancy is created.

    If someone moves, you find people to fill the void. If no one is interested, then the problem is not with write-ins, or that the election happens every four years, but with a weak organization.

    4) On paying for pcp elections... Along with 1.2 to 1.4 million other people in this state, I am not a member of one or the other of the major parties. Why should the rest of us be asked to finance the process by which a major political party elects its voting members?

    Why can't the Republicans nominate and elect their precinct committee persons on their own dime?

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    As a young man in Kentucky during the late 70's and early 80's I registered democrat in order to participate in the one-sided election process. Since moving to Oregon in 1994, I've been non-affiliated and by that choice am currently locked out of primaries.

    I can accept that and was going to vote "NO" until I heard independent Pete BelCastro last night. He believes that the two major parties have stunted the growth of progressive politics in Oregon over the past 50 years.

    I am willing to give it a chance. There are anywhere from 25% to 33% of the eligible voters ocked out of primaries as the system currently stands.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Kurt, Thanks for that comment.

    I wouldn't go back 50 years, though. When Tom McCall was alive (esp. before 1980 when the Reaganites took over the GOP) there were lots of progressive things done in Oregon by members of both parties working together.

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    1. I've participated in caucuses numerous times. I've chaired a caucus and served as secretary of a caucus. I can tell you that you end up with very, very few people participating. Instead of 80,000+ Dems voting in Multnomah County to nominate a Democrat, you may end up with a few hundred to a thousand. Is decreasing the number of people choosing the nominee a good thing?

    2. Unless we're going to open up filling vacancies to the voters, we can't leave it in the hands of county commissioners to be able to change how strong/weak a party's caucus is in Salem. Can't you see how furious voters would have been in HD49 should Minnis have retired mid-term and a Democrat been put in her place?

    3. I know you can fill vacancies. I never said you couldn't. I said that only ELECTED PCPs can vote on party officers, per state law. Early this year in Multnomah County we held an election for our officers. It had been just over six months since the last PCP election, and already a number of us had become ineligible to vote for our officers because we had moved. That number will drop even more if you're looking at even longer spans between PCP elections and officer elections. With 4 years between PCP elections, you could be having an officer election 3 years after the last time PCPs were elected. That means a lot of people who have moved (within the state or into the state), turned 18 in the meantime, joined the party, etc. will be ineligible to select the party's officers. I think it's a good thing to have more people be able to select party officers, not less.

    4. That's because PCPs have been given the duty of nominating replacements to legislative vacancies by state law. This means they are supposed to be elected by voters in their precinct (or appointed by those who are already PCPs). As long as they have a duty that requires them to represent the people in their precinct, the position should be on the ballot.

  • (Show?)

    LT writes: he whole point of the measure is that all those people out there who aren't partisans (estimated to be over 60% of the voting public) have grown tired of the partisan attitude,

    Calling bullshit on this one. Estimated by who? I have never ever seen any estimates anywhere near that. The number of Independent affiliators tops out at most at 33%, and many of those admit "leaning" to one party or another.

    I wouldn't go back 50 years, though. When Tom McCall was alive (esp. before 1980 when the Reaganites took over the GOP) there were lots of progressive things done in Oregon by members of both parties working together.

    Sigh. Yes. After passage of M65, Tom McCall will rise from the grave. As will Nelson Rockefeller, John Lindsay, Richard Nixon, and all the other moderate Republicans who no longer exist.

    If you enjoy the 70s show, watch it on TV, but don't think you'll somehow get moderate Republicanism to reappear by passing this measure. The evidence from states that have a top two indicates just the opposite.

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    I asked Sal: Sal, please point specifically to an example of "dishonest negative campaigning."

    I notice that he has failed to provide a response.

    <hr/>

    Pete, I don't think Sue is name-calling. The proponents continue to call this an "open primary" even though they are they have been corrected in many forums. Even the Oregonian has finally begun calling this a "top two", which is what it is.

    An open primary is not defined as "anything that is more open than the current system." That is a meaningless definition.

    You may dismiss this distinction, as the proponents have. But I believe they have ballot title shopped with this measure, and this is a practice that I consider all too common and one that is misleading to the voters of Oregon.

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    Jenni wrote... Actually, I've been hearing some talk from people in both parties that if this passes, additional requirements could be added to the qualifications for candidacy under a party's name.

    How? By law? By party rule?

    My reading of Measure 65 is that the party doesn't have any say over the listing of a candidate's voter registration status.

    If you're talking about amending the law in the Legislature, well OK, but that's neither here nor there.

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    it was former NEA chair, John Frohnmayer, not his brother Dave, who was running for the position

    --- smacking forehead on desk ---

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    Sue Hagmeier wrote... Also by the way, it provides that when vacancies in office are filled by appointment to fill unexpired terms, the replacement need not be from the party of the person last elected. The appointing authority could appoint anybody, and could change the party makeup of the Legislature if they wish.

    This is very troubling to me. Anybody who has gone door-to-door knows that the first thing any voter asks when you're talking about a candidate is about their party status. "Is he a Democrat?" or "Is he a Republican?"

    While some voters certainly consider other factors, party affiliation is the major motivating factor for most voters.

    That's why I've never supported any sort of nonpartisan legislature silliness.

    I'd be very concerned that we'd see some serious high-stakes political poker if the Legislature were narrowly divided. The Governor and Speaker would be calling county commissioners to try and push them one way or another.

    It seems to me that if we're making appointments to fill vacancies, then the voters' desire for representative of a particular party should be respected. No person is a perfect replacement for any other person, but at least partisan control of the legislative body isn't at stake when you make a same-party appointment.

    Hmmm....

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jenni, "Unless we're going to open up filling vacancies to the voters" sounds like you don't trust voters!

    I do like M.65 Sec. 17(e) as it saves a lot of paper for uncontested pct. person elections, it would just have to be publicized that write-ins were no longer allowed. But Sal's right--why should taxpayers who might well be registered outside major parties be paying for those pct. person ballots to be printed and included in the ballots?

    Thanks for your comments, Sal.

    Jenni, you say you have heard from other pct. people from other counties at SCC meetings or whatever. Are they representative of all registered Democrats, or just speaking for themselves?

    I have seen local parties be strong enough to recruit new pct. people, to fundraise and create the opportunity to rent and operate a storefront party office during an election and with luck afterwards. Also, to have a luncheon series called Demoforum where candidates come to speak on a regular basis. But that's not about law, it is about organization, and about the quality and experience of volunteers. There may be consultants who say money is all that matters and only professionals know how the game is played, but that doesn't describe the health of county Democratic parties.

    Back when I was a pct. person, we once had a county chair who thought selling tickets to a party spaghetti feed was more important than canvassing precincts. That was a weak county chair, not having anything to do with law or party rule.

    Speaking as someone who was registered NAV from after the 1996 primary until March of 2002, some of this debate sounds like people who have bought into the status quo and don't want it changed.

    Well, it changed when the NAV + Other registration went above 20%. Find the registration figures and the margins in House races for the last several years and look at how many races were determined by a margin smaller than the number of those registered outside of major parties. Those NAV + other, as I recall, decided the margin of control of the legislature in several recent elections. But they have no right to determine legislative nominees?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Paul, "Calling bullshit on this one. Estimated by who? I have never ever seen any estimates anywhere near that. The number of Independent affiliators tops out at most at 33%, and many of those admit "leaning" to one party or another."

    I'm not talking about published studies, but then I don't work in an academic setting. People who vote split ticket DO exist, whether there are published studies or the hallowed exit polls which say that or not. How many of the people who registered Dem to vote for Obama are going to vote all the way down the ballot, much less become active Democrats next year or in 2010?

    A relative who voted for Bush in 2004 is voting for Obama. A friend who had real doubts about Obama was impressed by what Colin Powell said in supporting Obama (my favorite swing voter, he voted for Bush/Hooley in 2004, Kitzhaber for Gov. has always voted for Gordon Smith). A friend in church who still has the Jackie Winters for Congress sticker on his back bumper said the GOP had gone too far to the right and he hadn't gone with them. And that he'd vote for Colin Powell in a heartbeat!
    Are these people "Independent affiliators" or just people very busy with their own lives who vote for the person instead of the party?

    I'm talking about what some call political lore:

    Some say there are maybe 20% of the voting public who are as active/rabid about party politics as the people here, the sort of people who show up at Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin rallies and then go out and campaign for the ticket, etc. 20% Dem. partisans and 20% R partisans would add up to 40%. Leaving 60% as those who are more concerned about the new baby in their extended family, their 2 jobs, the friend who has been hospitalized, or the World Series than what is going on in politics.

    The other source is my dear friend who got totally jaded and burned out to the point she won't discuss politics anymore--marks her ballot in private, recycles the voters pamphlet, puts the ballot in the mail and never talks about it--she's got a nice private sector job she really likes. She grew up with an activist parent, was knew a future candidate in jr. high, was a volunteer, a campaign manager, a staffer for an elected official over a period of decades. Then she quit cold turkey. Paid political professionals and the activists who work on campaigns every year drove her to it. "Those people are no more than 5% of the electorate, but they think they decide elections. They don't. It is the 95% of the public who spend most of their time thinking about work, family, sports or whatever who start getting interested right before the election and then cast ballots who decide the election!"

    I think she's right.

    Sorry I can't give you a link to a scholarly report, Paul, but my political knowledge comes from personal experience at the grass roots level.

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    I have just finished reading through the comments that began about 12 hours ago. They begin with general and philosophical arguments about theory that may or may not be so in practice.

    Eventually, the comments get to the specifics. Thanks, Jenni. She has identified all but one of the serious technical flaws in the measure: the change in the PCP election process and what it would mean, and the process of filling vacancies in office.

    Jenni's concern is very well placed. The current system of requiring a same-party replacement and interposing the PCP convention with its nominating process prevents the unfettered discretion of the county commissioners from making an appointment that could easily disregard the likely desires of the majority of voters in the district. The current two stage process for filling vacancies is not as good as holding another election, but is much better than the mechanism in 65.

    The third fatal flaw in measure 65 is its extremely limited and unfair way of filling (or not filling) a vacancy in a nomination. The measure requires that in the event one of the two winners of the primary is not able to run in the general election (dies, leaves the district, resigns the nomination or what have you), the spot is filled by the third place finisher in the primary. Otherwise, the election is handled in the same manner as non-partisan elections. In other words, the vacancy is left vacant.

    Let's track what might happen. In one example, a progressive voting district, there are three candidates in the primary, the progressive incumbent and two conservatives. Of course, the progressive and one of the conservatives go on to the general election. Something happens and the incumbent is out. The names on the general election ballot will be the two conservatives. Something tells me the voters are likely to find this outcome somewhat frustrating (to say the least). Another example, same district, only two candidates: the same incumbent and one of the conservatives. Both move to the general election and the incumbent leaves the race. The vacancy in the nomination is not filled and the only name on the general election ballot is the remaining candidate, the conservative. Same result for the frustrated voters. You get the idea. Under 65 the only way out is to run a write-in campaign in the general election, a possible, but not very satisfactory mechanism and likely to fail. Under current law, the PCP convention of the party whose nominee is out will fill the nomination with another party member. When this happens, the convention usually tries to fill the vacancy with the strongest candidate who can win the general election despite the weakness of getting into the race late. The progressive majority of the district does not get to vote for the incumbent in this example, but will likely have another progressive available on the general election ballot to choose.

    I do not claim that the current system is flawless. Even if something with the same structure as 65 is the way to go, 65 is not it. It fails on too many of the details that will make or break an election law. I voted "No." I hope you will too.

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    I will not repost my devastating critique of Measure 65, as I posted it on BlueOregon a few days ago.

    The other minor party with an official "no" vote on Measure 65 is the Peace Party.

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    Regarding Paul's request for an example of dishonest and negative campaigning...

    Check your mail. One group just put out a mailer implying that Bill Sizemore was somehow involved with Measure 65.

    As to Paul's frequent and generally belittling notion about the need for increased bi-partisanship...

    Some people will choose to trust the chair of a political science department who has used his position in a partisan way -- for example to keep certain candidates from speaking at Reed College. Others will trust people like Victor Atiyeh, John Kitzhaber, Earl Blumenauer, Norma Paulus, Frank Morse, Vicki Berger, and others who have built successful political careers by working in a bi-partisan fashion.

    Regarding Jenni's comment...

    There is a big difference between a caucus nominating a candidate to the general election ballot, which is what you participated in in Texas, and a caucus endorsing a candidate from a list of candidates in the primary. In the first case, the party controls the nominating process. In the second, the people control the process, and the parties make an endorsement.

    Rep Barnhart - There are 75 legislative elections every two years. How many times can you point to any of the election scenarios you have described having occurred over the last 50 years? Isn't it true that you are chasing a very rare problem -- one that could be corrected during the next legislative session with a reasonable tweak?

    Contrast that number with the fact that 33 out of 75 legislative races during the current election cycle are uncontested and of the remaining 42 races, at most 12 will be targeted by the house and Senate caucuses of both major parties. By my count, that's 88% of all races that are essentially decided in the primary. The Open Primary will not solve that problem -- if we can agree that the lack of a credible choice is a problem -- but it will dramatically increase the number of contested races on the ballot each November.

  • edison (unverified)
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    Okay ... can someone please explain exactly why we need this ballot measure? The endorsements - pro and con - in the voter's guide were sort of informing. I actually like and to a certain extent trust "some" of the endorsers on both sides of the measure. But ... since I don't vote based solely on endorsements, I have, instead, tried to understand what benefit(s) Oregon voters will realize if M65 passes. Frankly, I don't see any. Until and unless I hear some compelling argument how it improves things, I'm voting no.

    Full disclosure: I've had no problem changing my party affiliation for primary elections to vote for the candidate I like best.

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    Jenni, "Unless we're going to open up filling vacancies to the voters" sounds like you don't trust voters!

    Actually, I do trust voters. Going to the voters to fill a vacancy would obviously be the best solution. But that's not how we do it now, nor the way proposed under this measure. I think Rep. Phil Barnhart did a good job of summarizing my concerns, as well as brings up another concern that I didn't even notice when reading the measure's text.

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    Sal,

    It sure looks like your central argument is that there should be two (any two) candidates in the general.

    Getting to the number two in the general so that general election voters have "a choice" doesn't seem all that compelling, at least to me.

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    Pat, that's certainly one of my arguments. Coming from the third party point of view, a one-on-one general election is the best chance third party candidates have to get elected.

    I understand that the politics-of-protest folks within the Greens, or the people who want to tear down one party or the other (Naderites, Constitution Party) don't like the idea that they will not be able to field spoiler candidates in the general, but on balance, a one-on-one general election will yield a more accurate reflection of most districts than the current system in which a strong third party challenger from either the right or the left will typically throw the election to their least preferred candidate.

    For third parties that are in it to win, the Open Primary gives us a much better chance than our current system.

    The Greens could actually build real political power if they focused their energy on a couple of legislative districts in Portland, Eugene, or Ashland, and could set up one-on-one general election races against Democrats. The same is true in some districts for the Libertarians, Independents, or Constitution Party.

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    My central arguments are that every voter should have a say in who will appear on the general election ballot, and that the open primary will result in more contested races in November, which I see as a good thing.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Thanks, Sal:

    "For third parties that are in it to win, the Open Primary gives us a much better chance than our current system. "

    For anyone who has ever been disgusted with the years of "my caucus, right or wrong" (a big problem when one lives in a district represented by an R who listens to caucus first and constitutents second), there have been dreams of a 30-29-1 House.

    At the moment, I would love to see a 36 Dem. House, but I understand the frustration.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Phil, about this comment:

    "Let's track what might happen. In one example, a progressive voting district, there are three candidates in the primary, the progressive incumbent and two conservatives."

    Depends on what you define as a "progressive voting district". I live in the House district which elected Norma Paulus, Jim Hill, Rocky Barilla. None of them were conservatives by any stretch of the imagination.

    Jim ran for State Senate and after the absentee ballots went out, the incumbent dropped dead one night at an event and local activists learned how the process worked. In that case, the Republicans nominated the son of the late incumbent, and we Democratic pct. people met and renominated Jim. There was no third candidate running. Jim won the election.

    Sal's point holds: what example can you give of a progressive and 2 conservatives in a legislative district, or is that just a hypothetical?

    Footnote on my legislative district:

    Despite electing the first woman, first black, first Hispanic to the legislature from this county, the seat went Republican in 1988. Well known local businessman (known by generations of Salem residents) Gene Derfler defeated Barilla in an election so close it was decided by Polk Co. votes for Derfler edging out Marion votes for Barilla---but not until 2 days later.

    Since the creation of FP, it has been treated as a "lousy R to D ratio" district until an unfunded candidate knocked the incumbent down to a victory margin less than the number of registered NAV. This year party registration switched to Dem. So now is it a progressive district, or was it always a swing district but someone looking at a spread sheet in a central office didn't know that?

    If you wonder why some good Democrats support Measure 65, the story of my district should provide a clue. Has my district been a "red" district until this year?

    Or does support for Measure 65 come from folks tired of hearing that current partisan registration is the only way to judge if caucus campaign arm staff will take a candidate from this district seriously?

    BTW, I worked on every legislative campaign in my district from the time Norma left to run for Sec. of State until we got Jim Hill elected. I believe legislative elections were better before they became so caucus-oriented.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Sal wrote:

    I would argue that without campaign finance reform, no system will level the playing field for progressive candidates.

    Agreed, but I am concerned that the weakening of party ideology as a political factor will increase the power of money in elections. That would be a very bad outcome for democracy. It would be a good outcome for monopoly utilities, for whom influence over those who make law and select regulators can increase profits by millions. It would be a good outcome for the business lobby, in general, that opposes effective environmental regulation and any increase in taxes paid by big business.

  • KC Hanson (unverified)
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    The upshot is this: there are a myriad of scenarios that could play out, and not even the proponents of this measure have a firm take on how it will transform our election system.

    I chose to become a Democrat long ago; I consciously remain a Democrat in order to move a more progressive agenda from within the Party. Every registered voter has made a personal choice as to their alignment.

    M65 throws this into a disarray. With passage of M65, either I will have to play a strategic game, anticipating the vote of the Republican voter in order to be sure a Dem advances to the final round or I will have no choice at all since the most favored Democratic candidate has already been pre-selected and other Democratic candidates have been dissuaded from running.

    Either way, I'll have less choice as a voter.

    Minor parties may be split on the possible ramifications of this measure, but you can be sure of one thing: while the field may be wide open to voters, the choices will be limited, the discourse will be narrowed, and the top candidates' best friend will be the cash that they will desperately need in order to contend.

    I'm sure Loren Parks would appreciate our passage of M65.

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    Sal Peralta,

    I thought this debate was about ideas, not about personal attacks. Phil Keisling and I have engaged in a number of public debates, and in no case have we ended with anything but the greatest respect for one another.

    Sadly, you seem unable to be so restrained.

    You have made a public accusation which you should document or publicly retract.

    Your wrote: Some people will choose to trust the chair of a political science department who has used his position in a partisan way -- for example to keep certain candidates from speaking at Reed College. Others will trust people like Victor Atiyeh, John Kitzhaber, Earl Blumenauer, Norma Paulus, Frank Morse, Vicki Berger, and others who have built successful political careers by working in a bi-partisan fashion.

    I am not the chair of the Reed College political science department. I was chair from 2002-2006.

    I am very proud of my record in bringing a variety of political speakers, of various political persuasions, to Reed's campus. We have brought internationally known speakers without any consideration of their political or ideological leanings. We do not fund visits by political candidates, but instead focus on scholars and policy makers who can inform the community and stimulate intellectual debate and discussion.

    The claim that I have used my position in a partisan way, to keep certain candidates from speaking on campus is ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT MERIT.

    Sal, document this claim or retract it now.

  • (Show?)

    Are you saying that you did not have a communication asserting that you would "do anything in your power to keep John Frohnmayer from speaking at Reed because it was going to 'hurt the progressive cause', or words to that effect"?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Come on folks, get real!

    If Measure 65 passes, it will be the end of Oregon politics as we know it? Or possibly just the end of some partisan games?

    I've got news for you--Norma Paulus as the first woman and Jim Hill as the first black elected in my state rep. district did not get elected because of what party they belonged to. They got elected because people who knew them voted for Norma and later for Jim as individuals they knew and admired.

    Recently, party has seemed more important than the individual being elected. Those of us who vote for the individual have done it in the past and will do it in the future----whether 65 gets 51% of the vote or 15% of the vote. Saying the state will turn into Louisiana (complete with the corrupt politics and hurricane danger?) if 65 passes is just hysteria or propaganda.

    Which is why I agree with this:

    Posted by: Chris Paul | Oct 21, 2008 7:08:14 PM

    This is part of the problem i have with the current system, eveyone focusing on the party instead of the actual candidates.

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    Sal,

    Absolutely not.

    Please post up a copy or feel free to email me something at paul dot gronke at gmail.com, otherwise I want a public retraction and apology.

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    Paul, I'll take your word for it. I've been angry about that for some time. My sincere apologies.

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    LT, when we go from a factual assertion ("some estimate 60%", "some say 20%") and when challenged you cite a few stories about your friends who split their tickets or say "I rely on political lore", I just can't take that seriously. That's just bullshitting.

    You want to rely on your own political nose, I have no problem with that. But you can't use your nose to generalize to the whole of Oregon.

    Don't rely on the academics, rely on the political professionals. Ask Tim Hibbitts, Mike Riley, Mark Weiner, Lisa Grove, anyone who runs statewide campaigns in the state.

    I seriously doubt any of them will agree with you that only 40% or less of the Oregon voting public behaves in a "partisan" manner.

    And no one is going to agree with your claim that the only voter who counts as "partisan" is the one who votes a straight ticket every time (an exceedingly silly definition since half of our ballot is non partisan!).

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    Paul, there are different ways to assess how "partisan" someone is regardless of whether or not they consider themselves to be a Democrat or a Republican.

    LT's 60 percent seems high to me, but the numbers you gave seem low.

    The Pew charitable trust and USA Today did a survey in June of this year, which suggested that only about 60 percent of Americans see themselves as Democrats or Republicans, and 56 percent believed that a third political party is needed in American politics.

    One of the reasons why I am pushing for this reform, for cross-nominations to be printed on election ballots if it fails, for "true" fusion voting, or for IRV, whenever any of those trains happens to be leaving the station, is that the current system is absolutely toxic to third parties.

    The reason why I put virtually no stock in the statistics that you give about the relative success of failure of third parties in other states or countries is that the system is only part of the equation when determining how well a third party might do in a given electoral system is that most third parties are not organized with winning in mind.

    With due respect to the Greens and the Libertarians in Oregon, they are more concerned with getting 1 percent in statewide races than they are with actually trying to win elections or move policy. There are exceptions, of course. Jim Nicita and Blair Bobier are highly effective individuals, and there are others.

    But the parties themselves are not built to win. They are built to protest. Protest parties have helped to shape the terms of the debate. The Libertarians and Constitution Party are moderately successful at this. The Greens are occasionally successful at organizing around issues.

    A party like the Independent Party can fare well under the top two open primary -- much better in fact than we can under the current system. That's true of both our cross-nominated and nominated candidates. I've explained why on several occasions. No need to get into it again.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Paul, how long have you lived in Oregon? Which was the first campaign you volunteered for?

    Give your students a project sometime. Have them go to a major parking lot or other gathering place(Costco, Washington Square, downtown Portland, etc.) and stop people randomly --every third person who walks by or whatever. Ask those who will talk to them, "what party do you belong to, and why?". I'm guessing your students would get a lot of "why do you want to know?" or "what do you mean I belong to a political party? " than people proud to be a Democrat or a Republican. You are more likely (would be my guess) to meet people who say "go away and don't bother me" or "I'll be glad when the election is over and all those negative ads are off TV" than fierce partisans below the presidential level.

    But what do I know--I'm not on a political payroll so I am inexperienced, or naive, or misguided, or just plain wrong because everyone who knows anything does politics for a living. Yeah, right, tell me another one.

    I first worked on Tom McCall's re-election campaign as a volunteer going door to door. I was a volunteer who gave one evening a week in the local Democratic campaign office in 1974. My first legislative campaign was 1976.

    I hear you loud and clear--you belong to the school of thought which says "political professionals" always know more than long time volunteers. Institutional memory can only come from those who get paid for their political work.

    I put my faith in long time volunteers first and "professionals" second. What campaigns was Lisa involved with prior to Wyden for Senate? I remember Mark as a young legislative staffer. I have often questioned Hibbits as a source of infinite wisdom about Oregon politics. I don't know anything about Mike Riley.

    You said, "Don't rely on the academics, rely on the political professionals. Ask Tim Hibbitts, Mike Riley, Mark Weiner, Lisa Grove, anyone who runs statewide campaigns in the state."

    You don't want to admit there is a grass roots tradition in this state made up of people who don't earn a living in politics. I get that. I just don't belong to that school of thought.

    And I think Howard Dean is a better DNC chair than many of his predecessors because he realizes the importance of the grass roots tradition. Remember when the Assoc. of State Democratic Chairs came out for Dean? The friends of Terry McAuliffe and his "big donors and well connected national political figures" strategy said WHO ON EARTH IS ASDC?

    Some of us who were involved in party politics (State Central Comm. level esp.) knew about the unsung hard work of ASDC over the decades and were glad to see them get some recognition.

    I have not always voted for Norma, but I admire her. She's a local, and many people here knew her husband and were sad when he died unexpectedly. Some of us had been to her home. Except for her run for Gov. when she let herself be made over by the consultants, she's always been the same down to earth person who was our state rep. decades ago when we moved here. But we shouldn't trust her on a ballot measure because bloggers spin all these hypotheticals?

    I understand that "grassroots involvement matters" kind of attitude "does not compute" in your world, Paul. But you will never totally understand Oregon politics (no matter how long you teach Poli. Sci.) until you understand that the grass roots tradition in Oregon is not dead.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jenni, about this, " I've been hearing some talk from people in both parties that if this passes, additional requirements could be added to the qualifications for candidacy under a party's name."

    I say BRING IT ON!

    In order to do that, it would have to be proposed to the party (state, cong. district or local level?) possibly as a bylaw change. Then it would have to be voted on by the members.

    There are legislators on both sides of this measure. There are activists on both sides of this measure.

    For all the talk, there might be a heated debate on any specific " additional requirements ", just like when in the early 1990s the state campaign committee at a state central comm. meeting was trying to push having all candidates agree on issues to the point of having all Democrats side with the inland vs. the coast debate on a major issue. That didn't pass, and some people told the story for months if not years afterwards as an example of the stupidity of some in the party.

    Blogs are just talk. To impose "additional requirements" would require debate and vote in actual party meetings. And unless things have changed, such bylaw or other changes must be made with advance notice of the meetings.

    Whatever you may think of M.65, Jenni, I don't see those "additional requirements" being passed in the dead of night in either party by some secretive cabal. They would have to be passed by the full party body, and there are still enough individuals in Oregon that I don't think such things would pass like a hot knife through butter.

    What kind of additional requirements are you hearing? Or is that too specific a question?

  • (Show?)

    LT, my family has lived in Oregon for 27 years. I moved back into the state in 2001. I have studied politics and political science for nearly three decades.

    What you suggest is a convenience sample and I would never have students do this. It's poorly designed.

    You're absolutely wrong in how you characterize me--I have never questioned your knowledge or experience nor do I dismiss the importance of grassroots politics. But I do not foolish enough to generalize from my friends and family to all of Oregon.

    You, on the other hand, constantly argue from personal knowledge and anecdotes ONLY and refuse to acknowledge that anyone else may bring wisdom or knowledge based on experience in other states, or in other campaigns, or knowledge of history, or based on professional political experience.

    When you so cavalierly dismiss every professional pollster in Oregon and every political professional based on your "street wisdom," I have to admit it is hard to take your assertions seriously.

    I have met Norma a few times in debates. She clearly resents the rise of evangelical Christians in her party, and feels alienated from her party as a result. She also believes the Democratic Party of Oregon has been taken over by liberal extremists.

    I don't think she is right. And I don't think supporting a measure for those reasons is right, either.

  • (Show?)

    LT:

    The one I'm hearing about the most is adding that a candidate has to be endorsed/nominated by the Party in order to be listed on the ballot as a Democrat. The specifics vary from person to person - could be a caucus in the district, could be a vote of the PCPs in the district, could be a vote of the PCPs in the party, etc.

    If this passes, I wouldn't be surprised to see at least a discussion on the next SCC agenda. Action doesn't have to happen right away since we'll have a little time between the general and the next primary. But it could definitely be a major topic of discussion in the voting on party leadership.

  • (Show?)

    Posted by: Sal Peralta | Oct 22, 2008 8:07:52 PM

    Paul, I'll take your word for it. I've been angry about that for some time. My sincere apologies.

    Sal, you'll learn that I have a very thick skin. However, the accusation you leveled above questioned my professionalism and trust, things that I hold very dear.

    I'm glad to hear that there is no merit, though I wonder where you heard this in the first place.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jenni, thanks for the specific: "The one I'm hearing about the most is adding that a candidate has to be endorsed/nominated by the Party in order to be listed on the ballot as a Democrat. "

    OK, let's imagine that passes. I'm not sure it would, but let's assume it does.

    Let's assume that for a particular primary that Ben, Jim, Jeff, and Catherine are running for the same position. Ben has some really great ideas. Catherine did a great public service years ago by getting a problem solved which took more organization than money (like getting the speed limit reduced on a curvy, dangerous stretch of road). Jim was the first Democrat ever elected in a particular district earlier in his life. Jeff has spent decades working for a union, was once a rather polarizing county chair,and when he ran for office previously, he got the AFL-CIO endorsement.

    (All those are real people I have known, but they never ran against each other.)

    Suppose that under the scenario you outline, those are all running for the same office, and all have some tie to the Democratic Party.

    Who would the party endorse, what would be the process, and would it matter?

    Suppose that Jeff got the party endorsement as a former county chair and longtime activist, but Ben and Jim had inspired lots of people over the years. Suppose Catherine had once alienated former supporters by something dumb like telling them that if they had worked on her campaign, she had the right to tell them how to vote in a later election.

    I maintain that in that sort of a very possible human dynamic, Ben and Jim might fight it out in the campaign (whether or not they fought for the endorsement) and they might end up being the 2 winning the spots on the M.65 type of general election, even if the party gave their blessing to Jeff.

    This is why I say that I don't trust anyone predicting what would happen if 65 passed. Maybe you have not lived through the sort of situations mentioned above. Maybe you've never been called "not a real Democrat" because you had the "gall" to vote in SCC on the side of a resolution backed by legislators you admired and against some activists playing games.

    But that is my life experience.

    To me the bottom line question is this:

    Are parties organizations where people play political games and if someone doesn't have the time and energy for those games, then tough luck they are just a spectator?

    Or are parties a place to debate ideas and solve problems? I was just listening online (because I missed the broadcast) to this NPR interview with a former GOP Congressman who sides with Powell on Obama rather than with McCain. He says that the GOP used to be the party of ideas but that they need to get out of the gutter John dragged them into, and if they can't be the party of ideas, maybe people should leave until they do get their act together (he mentioned Susan Eisenhower as another Republican supporting Obama).

    http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=95906249&m=95906240

    It is the Opinion Page from Talk of the Nation Oct. 20.

    My question is this:

    People are leaving the GOP in droves in a way they haven't since anyone not a Reaganite in the early 1980s was told the GOP didn't want their kind.

    Will these folks vote for Obama and then go back to their old ways, or should a dialogue on ideas emerge between these folks and Democrats?

    I'd rather be discussing ideas than involved in political gamesmanship. Maybe I should consider re-registering NAV, regardless of what happens to 65, if this is the way that Democratic Party activists look at the world. (Although I am not sure that all county party officers see the world the same way you do, Jenni, given the interesting division of support/opposition of some very well known names in the Voters Pamphlet.

    What do you think, Jenni---do I belong in the same party you belong to? Or am I just an old fashioned grass roots person who campaigned for a lot of Democrats but also admired a lot of Republicans back in the old days, and now I'm just a dinosaur who doesn't understand that, as Paul claims, political professionals have taken over politics and there is no longer any room for the institutional memory of long times volunteers?

  • (Show?)

    I'm just telling you what I'm hearing from a lot of activists in the Party. They are really worried about the situation where there are so many Dems in the race that they split the vote too much and two conservatives end up on the fall ballot. That might not be the case in a lot of districts around the state, but it's a definite possibility in statewide races as well as when legislative seats open up in Portland. The change might not be made right away, but I can definitely see it happening the first time we end up with two conservatives in a district that is majority Democrats.

    I'm not one who always supports the party. There are plenty of times where I've had very public disagreements with the party, Future PAC, etc. I'm sure plenty of people can confirm that, especially if they were at the platform convention.

    I definitely prefer a Party where we focus on the issues. But discussing the issues only gets us so far - we need enough of a majority in Congress and the state legislature to get the things passed. That's why I donated thousands of dollars of work to candidates like Dan Thackaberry. But I don't want to get great candidates like Dan elected and at the same time lose "safe" seats in areas like Portland.

    Do I think our current system is perfect? Heck no. But I think this measure only serves to make it worse. I'd like to see us look at fusion voting, some sensible campaign finance reform, and opening up the partisan primary to those who are NAV.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jenni, I understand your concern, but where are the rising conservatives? Isn't that movement falling apart because there are so many 21st century problems that ordinary folk want problem solving, not ideology? The past is not always prologue!

    Jason Atkinson (hopefully he will be healthy enough) is of a younger generation, as is Bruce Starr. Minnis and Scott have been discredited, and if Richardson tried to run statewide, this would be passed around in very short order. http://www.blueoregon.com/2005/05/representative_.html

    Mannix has run for statewide office 4 times, Saxton twice, Larry George was on the losing side of M.49.

    I'm guessing there would be a greater likelihood of someone whose ideology is not of the 20th century (Obama drives Republicans nuts because they can't pigeonhole him, Max Williams the former state rep. would probably do the same thing. Frank Morse is no Ted Ferrioli, and I doubt Ted F. would sell very well outside of his Senate district. )

    Jenni, this is the 1968 of your generation. Young people are no longer waiting on the world to change http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnmayer/waitingontheworldtochange.html

    Mac Prichard's speech when he ran for Dem. State Chair (were you there when he spoke?) was not that of an older generation. If Richard Riggs and or Jason Brown are elected state rep. this year, they are not going to be 20th century Democrats any more than Brian Clem or Ben Cannon is.

    For all the disagreements many of us have had with Brian Boquist, he turned into a statesman in the 2007 session and that speech he gave on the Iraq War resolution made it clear (as many of us suspected) that actual troops who served in Iraq were not likely to agree with McCain and L. Graham on the Iraq War. That's Sen. L. Graham, who may be in trouble--his poll results are between 50 and 54% http://www.usaelectionpolls.com/2008/senate/Graham(i)-Conley-South-Carolina-Senate-Race.html

    If someone like Boquist were to debate McCain or L. Graham on the Iraq War, who would be the "conservative" in that equation? Could it be we are living in a multi-polar world where most people see more choices than liberal vs. conservative?

    Mickey Edwards, former member of Congress and then political commentator, has a new book out--something about rescuing conservatism. He has no use for what McCain has done to the GOP.

    When I was your age, Barry Goldwater, the man with the strong moral code and gracious manners who believed in discussing issues, was the definition of conservatism. My Dad was a Taft conservative ("we must give up the idea we can legislate the answer to everything") and it is just as well neither Goldwater nor Taft lived to see the mess made by Hastert, Armey, DeLay and W. They would have been angry about lots of things incl. Terri Schaivo and warrentless wiretapping.

    There is no conservative movement left, there are just power hungry people angry at WF Buckley's son for saying Obama is running a more issue based, intelligent campaign than McCain. I'm guessing WFB wouldn't have liked the McCain campaign--too nasty and empty of ideas.

    I'd like to see campaign finance reform. If you want fusion voting, by all means lobby for it with legislators. I just think we are more likely to see those things with legislators elected under M.65 than to continue the "my caucus right or wrong" legislative elections and "rallying the base" statewide elections.

    Parties could open their primaries now if they wanted. Have you ever suggested that at a SCC meeting?

  • (Show?)

    I was at the SCC meeting when we voted on the officers - I was a voting delegate for most of the meeting. Mac's been a friend ever since we worked together on the Dean campaign.

    There are rising conservatives - we have a number of them out here in eastern Multnomah County. I think there was a gap for a while, but there's a new generation in the 25-40 age range who are coming forward and running for office.

    I don't know if I ever suggested opening up the primary at a SCC meeting, but when the topic comes up every few years, I have said that I'd support allowing NAV voters the choice to get a partisan ballot (I just can't recall if it was at an SCC meeting or some other type of meeting). I understand the reasons not to allow it, but there are a lot of reasons to do it.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Glad you and Mac are friends, Jenni. He impresses me as the future of the Democratic Party. Have you ever discussed Measure 65 with him?

    About this, "There are rising conservatives - we have a number of them out here in eastern Multnomah County. I think there was a gap for a while, but there's a new generation in the 25-40 age range who are coming forward and running for office."

    Haven't seen that here in the valley.

    Kim Thatcher is the opposite of a rising conservative--maybe she'll get tired of being in the minority and eventually not run for re-election.

    Brian Clem and Jason Brown and Hanten Day are examples of the rising stars in the Mid-Valley, and it is hard to think of any opposite numbers among Democrats. Komp's challenger has little or no chance, and even if he did win I doubt he could get any legislation passed. Few Republicans in local office who might be possible future candidates for higher office. No one ran against Brian Clem--or for that matter Jefferson Smith and some other young Democrats.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    WOOPS!

    "it is hard to think of any opposite numbers among Democrats" was a typo.

    <h2>What I meant to say was that aside from Boquist, it is hard to see any rising stars among local Republicans. Independents or non-partisan local politicians, maybe, but not Minnis/Scott style Republican "conservatives".</h2>
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