Yesterday, I posted about the result of California’s open primary in Marin: two Democrats running against each other for the California Assembly. My post was about the problem that this creates for those people whose party has been shut out of the election. The net effect of open primaries is that, rather than allowing parties to choose their own candidates, the primary just becomes a “pre-election election,” with the November election serving as a run-off.
It turns out that the open primaries are also a problem for the candidates facing off against each other in November, because it’s hard for voters to distinguish between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. In the article I quoted yesterday,the Marin IJ tried to help, by painting Marc Levine as more “pro-business,” which can be translated as “Mitt Romney surrogate.”
The IJ needn’t have made the effort, though. I didn’t realize it when I wrote yesterday’s post, but I had waiting in my mail box a flyer from the California Democratic Party making the difference between the two candidates as clear as a bright summer day (click on thumbnails to enlarge):
Marc Levine Doesn’t Want You to Know About the Elephant in the Room . . .
Because the elephant in the room is MARC LEVINE
Turn the flyer over and the message gets more specific:
The MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN KICKOFF in San Rafael was described as “LIKE MINDS COMING TOGETHER…”
[Quoting a female attendee] “We’re a bunch of red folks . . . and we find comfort with our own.”
Marin County Republican Chair Kevin Krick dismissed Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments as “a speed bump on the way to the White House.”
And the applauding Elephant in the Room was Marc Levine! [With a big red finger arrow pointing to a picture of Levine attending the kick-off, with the Levine picture cropped in the shape of an elephant.]
What’s next — campaign contributions from Republican Special Interests? Is this the kind of “Democrat” we want representing us in the State Assembly?
One can guess what happened. Marc Levine, in an effort to distinguish himself from a Democrat opponent who is pure Progressive, sought to make himself known to a broader coalition of Marin County voters. Since Marin has no subway or train stations outside of which the candidate can stand to introduce himself to voters, he goes from one political event to another. This one was a Republican event. He probably thought it was a smart move, because Republicans, having been denied a candidate by the open primary system are, theoretically, an up-for-grabs constituency. They’ve got to vote for someone, so why not Levine?
Poor Levine. His tactical outreach effort backfired, but it had the salutary effect of exposing the anti-democratic effect of open primaries: Because of the open primary, which denied Marin County Republicans the right to choose their own candidate, the Democrat Party in California filled the vacuum by anointing a “Republican” candidate.
This whole thing has become a travesty. What we’re seeing isn’t democracy in action. Instead, it’s one-party rule, complete with infighting, without even the pretense of open elections.