Top-two a scheme to flip AZ

| September 14 2012

Proposition 121, the so-called Open Elections/Open Government measure on the ballot in November, sounds like a high-minded good government scheme, but it really aims to kill the party systems of candidate selection and change the landscape of Arizona elections.

The initiative mimics a system adopted in other states that abolishes party primaries and creates one primary “open” to all candidates and all voters. The top two finishers in the primary would face off in the general election.

Political parties are the backbone of the electoral system. Parties bring like-minded people together to select candidates that best reflect their views.

Under Proposition 121, this time-honored system of choosing candidates would be gone forever. Candidates in an “open” primary could declare party affiliation but it would not be required.

Proponents of Proposition 121 argue that the system would attract more so-called moderates to the political system and give voters a wider choice. What they really mean is that they do not like candidates chosen by Republicans, Democrats, or third parties.

Their real target is the Republican Party and conservative candidates. Outnumbered in Arizona and determined to create a blue state, liberals want to flood the primary system with fellow liberals posing as moderates and crowd out the more popular conservative candidates.

It won’t work. Voters of all political persuasions want to know all they can about primary candidates. They want to know their values, records, and views on current issues. They like labels and party primaries.

Voters should reject a scheme that would produce a primary slate littered with phantom candidates designed to fool them. They should preserve the party primary system and reject Proposition 121.

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