Saturday, April 26, 2014

Those "No Party Preference" Voters - What do they want?

I attended a conference yesterday at the Institute for Government Studies at UC Berkeley. It consisted of three panels, one academics who gave off a decidedly right of center flavor, although it was hard to get their gist, with tiny graphs on the screen, and their continual use of the word "moderate" as if that is necessarily a good thing.

The theme of the conference was the Top-Two primary in California. Has it changed the political landscape, how and why?


The Top-Two and other factors influencing voting patterns


First off, what is a top-two primary? It means the top two vote getters, no matter what party they belong to, face off in November, which often leads to two Democrats in blue districts or two Republicans in red districts. 

Secondly, other newly enacted factors influence the patterns of voting as well, such as the open primary, where any voter can vote for any candidate in the primary, no mater the party of the voters, and the 2010 redistricting, which changed the make-up of many of our State and Federal districts.

They seem to think, although it is really too early to tell, it has, in that legislators, mostly Democrats, have "moderated" their voting patterns. They seemed to think this was a good thing, as opposed to, say, polarization, which is a bad thing in anyone's mind.

However, without defining their terms, who knows just what moderate means. Looking at voting patterns, it seems to mean wimpy. Democrats, even with a two thirds majority, are having a tough time getting legislation passed. Why? Because some of the more "moderate" Dems elected in the last cycle either vote against some of the most progressive bills, or abstain from voting altogether.


That M word: Money

No one on the first panel mentioned the influence of corporate money pouring into these campaign to elect the moderate Democrats as a factor in this new behavior. 

Yours truly did bring it up during question and answer time, and they said, "interesting, yes, that could be a factor."


Panel number two was more balanced and in touch with the real world, consisting of campaign operatives, including a Democratic pollster, two Rep consultants and one Dem consultant.

They saw the money issue as big, forcing the Dems to spend heavily in the primary to protect their incumbents, even in safe seats, thereby leaving less for the Party to spend in Dem on Rep elections in swing Districts.

 The No Party Preference Voter 


And then there is the issue of the No Party Preference Voter, (formerly known as Decline to State, or DTS, maybe they didn't like the association of those initials with the tremors experienced by people undergoing alcohol withdrawal). The Dem pollster said, "They just don't vote in primaries."


Later, a professor type, himself a NPP,presented charts and graphs showing that more than one third the population now identifies as NPP. "This group," he said, "They're all confused."

When I asked him where this group came from, former members of other parties or new voters, and didn't he himself vote, he laughed and couldn't answer the question.

Tell me what YOU think

So, if anyone reading this is a NPP voter, tell me, what made you register that way, and do you vote in primary elections, now that you can vote for candidates from any party, and if so, what motivates you? And if not, why not?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Now there is a petition

Want to stop the rise of corporate Democrats? aren't corporate Republicans bad enough; we now have to fend off the takeover of our own Party by Big Money? Unfortunately, too many Democrats find it hard to resist the lure of the lucre.

Now there is a petition. See it here and decide for yourself if you want to join.