Monday, September 27, 2004

Say what you will about Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it appears the swagger isn't all fake. He's taking on every major political party - if he's serious. Myself, I'm not sure it would be as big a change as many would hope and fear. The parties would still have enormous power once the primary was over. A candidate backed by a major party would be a huge favorite against one without. Most elections would probably end up between a Democrat and a Republican - the two candidates with the biggest parties and most money behind them would be heavy fovorites to win this new 'primary'.

Among the laundry list of propositions voters will sift through this year is a proposal to remodel the state's primary election system a change that could alter the political geometry in the Legislature Schwarzenegger loves to hate and smooth the way for his potential re-election run in 2006.

The Republican governor has not formally endorsed the initiative, known as Proposition 62, although he has said, "In principle, I'm all for that, yes." If enacted, it would abolish the familiar political party primaries in state and federal races in favor of so-called open primaries a kind of candidate soup in which all contenders for an office would appear on a single primary ballot.

The two top finishers, regardless of party affiliation, would advance to a general-election runoff. It would not affect presidential elections.

Unlikely allies

Consider this. In a fiercely contested election year across the nation, Proposition 62 has forged an oddball alliance among the state Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Green Party, the Libertarians and the Peace and Freedom Party, all which want it defeated.

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