Kal ZoneBlog

Why I'm voting No on Proposition 14

June 7, 2010

Let's imagine how the California gubernatorial primaries might play out if Proposition 14 were in effect today. Meg Whitman, in particular, might find it more productive to spend $81 million appealing to political moderates instead of competing with Poizner to attract the hard-core GOP base. Instead of red-meat Republicanism and anti-Liberalism, we would be seeing more soothing images of starry skies over the Sierras — a kinder, gentler Meg Whitman who would, vaguely, return California to greatness.

Would this be a good thing? An "independent" Whitman might, with enough marketing, capture enough votes from Brown to put him third in the primaries, resulting in a Whitman vs Poizner general election.

In an open primary, the advantage would go to the candidate with the most name recognition and the most money, regardless of party. Second place would go to the next most popular candidate, either Democratic or Republican.

Under Prop 14, we would see more Megs, more Arnolds. The candidate's actual intentions and allegiances would be hidden behind a veil of soothing images and vague promises to fight the "politicians" in Sacramento. In the current Prop-14-less environment, we at least think that Whitman would stick to the Reagan formula of cutting taxes and spending. With Prop 14, we might not have a clue.

I have to confess, even though I probably spend too much time following politics, that I'm not familiar with all of the people on the ballot. Take, for example, the Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor: Eric Korevaar, Janice Hahn, Gavin Newsom. Obviously, the SF Chronicle has given a lot of coverage to Newsom, but I'm still clueless whether he might do a better job than either of the other two.

Under Prop 14, there would be more candidates, more information overload, and more opportunities for manipulation by political financiers and marketeers. The current, partisan system at least gives some strong clues as to how candidates might behave once in office.

Prop 14 would not "fix what is wrong with California". The real problems are:

For these reasons, I'm, all, No on 14.

(BTW, if Whitman loses tomorrow, maybe she just wasn't Republican enough. In an open primary, the marketing and results would have been different.)

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