Analysis of California Blanket Primary Data from 1998-2000 Shows Top-Two Likely to Injure Democrats, Relative to Republicans

Hotline studied California election returns in 1998 and 2000, and determined that the California top-two open primary is likely to injure Democrats, relative to Republicans. See a description here.

In 1998 and 2000, California used a blanket primary. All candidates for all partisan office appeared on the same primary ballot, and all voters used that primary ballot. The top vote-getter from the ranks of each party advanced to the November election. Therefore, the blanket primary did not injure either major party relative to the other. But the data from that period shows that in the top-two open primary now in effect, Republicans gain a significant advantage over Democrats, because Republican voter turnout is consistently higher in primaries than Democratic primary turnout. That means, sometimes, no Democrat ends up on the November ballot, even in races in which Democrats might have been able to win in November, if only they had a candidate on the ballot. Thanks to Rob Richie for the link.


  1. This is typical of IRV supporters MSP Rob Richie [Constitution] and MP Richard Winger [Libertarian] to highlight divisive information about corrupt “top two” elections, while promoting even more democratically illegit “top one” elections themselves.

    Are you tired of chasing your tails with their strategy after 17 years yet?

    If so, try “top 1000” someday:

  2. IRV = MSP Rob Richie [Constitution] and MP Richard Winger [Libertarian] = “top one”

  3. BAN = Lies = Corruption = Censorship

  4. More importantly, with Romney rising in all the polls, it’s going to be interesting to see how Republicans downticket in California fare this election year. If Romney loses Cali by say 55 to 44, that means huge GOP victories, unexpectedly so, for congress and state assembly.

    The Dems could get a double-whacking this year in the Goldent State.

  5. Demo Rep · · Reply

    Do the BAN archives have the first election results of the first government formed after Adam and Eve ???

    Blanket primary = Stone Age obsolete.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.
    NO moron primaries.

  6. Richard’s objection to the 9th Circuit decision to uphold the WA top two law (BAN 1-1-12) appears to be based on his own commitment to results oriented jurisprudence, while the Court applied a traditional examination of the language of the law. The language of the law treats minor parties the same as major parties; thus, the court upheld it.

    For me, the issue turns on this question: if the top two law provides equal access to all parties on its face, who’s responsible for the success or failure of a political party in a top two system – the courts, the legislature, the party leadership, the voters or what?

    Is Richard now saying that since Dems turnout less than Repubs in CA primaries, the law should be modified to help the Dems to make up for their poor leadership, and the indifference and/or ignorance of their party members?

    William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
    Author: Internet Voting Now
    Twitter: wjkno1

  7. #6 – It is the voter who should determine the success or failure of the candidate. It is time we stop talking about the party and discuss how does a candidate will represents the needs of their protential constituents.

  8. Richard Winger · · Reply

    The November election, for federal office, is the election. This is dictated by federal law that has been on the books since the 19th century. It is repressive to allow only two candidates on the ballot in the election itself.

    The election itself belongs to all the voters, not just voters who want to vote for the two most popular candidates.

  9. jay kalend · · Reply

    I argue that the blanket primary is a violation of the US Constitution’s gurantee that each state have a “republican form of government”. This is the only Constitutional provision that comes to mind that affirms the Feds’ right to intervene on its own (thanks to the ambiguous word, “shall”). Think of it — Washington is hands off on dealing with insurrections unless invited to intervene by the governor. But “republican form of government” becomes automatically a subject of US Court juridiction, at the very least.

    What is unrepublican is the undermining of the electorate’s freedom of association through political parties. You expect party policies to be determined in primaries, and not thrown under the bus in elections that replay the primaries, exclude rightful primary victors on grounds of ‘extremism’ (more likely lack of name recognition), or vitiate third parties that played by the rules when formed. this is clearly results based electoral rigging, to protect incumbents and those favored by lobbyists, or favored by the legislative apparat. This is anyone’s definition of a House of Lords, which follows circular logic — rule by the favored class is best because the system picks the favored class.

    It’s time for some kick-ass lawsuits to put Cali and the State of Washington in their place. And I don’t believe for a minute that Cali Democrats will suffer at all under their own miscreant “electoral reforms”.

  10. Demo Rep · · Reply

    Minority rule gerrymanders control before, during and after any top 2 primary.

    1/2 votes x 1/2 gerrymander districts = 1/4 control — actually a bit higher about 30 percent — with worse primary math.

    Top 2 is one more math MORON election *reform* by math MORONS – the New Age trend of things — MORONS at work.

    1912 Titanic, 1938 Munich, 1986 Chernobyl, etc.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.
    ONE election

  11. Baronscarpia · · Reply

    8 –

    …And corporate “persons.” Don’t forget our precious corporate “persons” and their USSC-affirmed right to purchase “free” speech.

    If an election can be bought, it’s certainly “owned” by the purchaser(s). The voters becoming are merely an adornment of the American political process.

  12. Tom Yager · · Reply

    #6 “Richard’s objection to the 9th Circuit decision to uphold the WA top two law (BAN 1-1-12) appears to be based on his own commitment to results oriented jurisprudence”

    A results-oriented approach is precisely what many Top Two advocates have openly and unapologetically supported. They favor Top Two because they believe that it will lead to more moderates being elected.

    “Is Richard now saying that since Dems turnout less than Repubs in CA primaries, the law should be modified to help the Dems to make up for their poor leadership, and the indifference and/or ignorance of their party members?”

    When Top Two advocates were not making misleading claims about the exclusion of independents from California’s primaries, they were arguing that we should change the primary system and limit the general election to two candidates on behalf of moderate voters who couldn’t be bothered to vote in the primary.

  13. Tom Yager · · Reply

    #6 Should major parties not have a candidate on the general election ballot just because their supporters split their support among more candidates than the other major party’s supporters did? This is what happened in California’s CD 31 this year.

  14. Demo Rep · · Reply

    Top 2 = top 2 plurality EXTREMISTS get nominated

    — rather than merely one extremist from each major gang in the now dead prior nomination system — along with the stunt sideshow 3rd parties and independents.
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

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