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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 10, 2013/ 3 Menachem-Av, 5773

Elections with open primaries no longer a voter's dream

By Michael Smerconish



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Fed up with a lack of competition in "safe" legislative districts, California voters ditched the state's conventional primary system two years ago and implemented the "Top Two Open Primary."

The initiative was called Proposition 14. Here's how it works: Candidates choose whether to associate themselves with a particular party or run unaffiliated. All candidates are then listed on the same ballot, and every voter, regardless of party affiliation (or lack thereof), is eligible to vote in the primary. The top two vote-getters — again, regardless of party — then advance to the general election.

How's it going so far?

Quite well, according to Dan Howle, chairman of the Independent Voter Project, author of the open-primary measure.

"We've pretty much accomplished everything that we wanted to do," he told me. "We had three primary objectives: One was to give every voter the right to vote for any candidate they choose, and the second was to give any voter equal access to the ballot. Political parties in California had an advantage prior to Prop 14, and so the third thing was ... to make elections competitive, and we've really done that."

The ballot measure passed with the support of then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"I was sick and tired of Republicans and Democrats getting stuck in their own ideologies and being so far apart that they were unable to meet in the middle," he told me. "I promised the people of California that I would fight for them. It took years to do, due to the great amount of resistance from both parties, but we eventually won and now both systems are in place, and I think it's truly terrific."



When I asked Howle to cite evidence of success, he pointed to the 15th and 30th Congressional Districts.

The 30th is in the San Fernando Valley, where, in 2012, Congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman faced each other after redistricting. Because of Top Two, these two liberal Democrats vied in the general election for a seat gerrymandered for a Democrat. Because they had to face the electorate at large, and not just fellow Democrats in a party primary, according to Howle, each was forced to "spend a great deal of time, money, and effort touting their ability to work with Republicans. They had to reach out to Republicans in order to be competitive, and that's what we were trying to do when we wrote the Top Two Open Primary: Make politicians accountable to everybody in their districts."

Pete Stark was a political casualty in the San Francisco area's 15th District as a result of an open primary. Stark had served in Congress for 40 years, until he faced Eric Swalwell, a 36-year-old prosecutor. These two Democrats were the top two in the general election, and Swalwell won by appealing to a broader range of voters.

"Stark hadn't had a competitive election in 30 years, and he was defeated by a young Democrat because this Democrat appealed to the broad range of voters in that district and had the opportunity to compete," Howle told me. "Prior to the Top Two Open Primary, 98 percent of all elections in California were decided in the primary election, and there were virtually no competitive elections."

Thus far, it sounds like the antidote to the problem Nate Silver has written about in the FiveThirtyEight blog: In 1992, there were 103 competitive congressional districts in the country; today there are 35. If you are nominated by the dominant political party in one of those districts, you are virtually assured of being elected because of the way the lines have been drawn.

California is addressing gerrymandering, too. The Golden State has sought to remove politicians from the redistricting process with the creation of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, another initiative created on Schwarzenegger's watch.

"When we did redistricting reform we were told right off the top from both parties not to go there," he told me. "Both Democrats and Republicans said they would attack me and do everything they could to not change gerrymandering. ... (T)hey insisted I would be unable to undo it. Gerrymandering has been around for entirely too long, and that's the way politicians fix the elections. It's how Democrats and Republicans get together and draw the district lines so they maintain safe seats."

He continued: "What I insisted on doing is having ordinary folks that are smart draw the district lines and take the power away from the politicians. And you know what? They spent millions and millions of dollars against it and we lost five times. But we were relentless. We never gave up and we took the risk again, and on the sixth time, thanks to our endurance and ability to stay in office, we raised enough money and won. ... It will not change everything 100 percent; however, it will definitely make a difference. It will make it more difficult for politicians to keep the seats that they previously were locked into."

Howle agrees. He says the dual effects of the open primary and redistricting commission represent a significant attempt to change the status quo.

"I want to emphasize that we were not and are not anti-political party," he told me. "There is a place for political parties in this process. What we were all about is voters' rights. We didn't set out to try to elect more moderate candidates; we didn't set out to take on the political parties. The premise was very simple: Every voter ought to have the chance to vote for any candidate they choose. It's that simple."

California down. Forty-nine to go.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Michael Smerconish writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Previously:


04/04/13 Being stalked --- by cookies
03/26/13 Food giants engineering the recipe for obesity
03/07/13 He wrote the book on keeping the fires burning
02/05/13 Making policy palatable with food and drink think
12/19/12 In defense of the DJs
12/17/12 Key to election --- stocks, not jobs
12/11/12 United Airlines' post-9/11 commitment to security rescinded?
11/01/12 Good reasons to revive draft
09/25/12 If Romney loses
04/19/12 Christie will get GOP nod in 2016
04/06/12 Romneys not only family with embarrassing stories
03/08/12 Here's an easy fix for King monument quote
02/28/12 Valor-medal lie as free speech
02/21/12 Now we know: Van Halen's M&M rider was just a test
02/14/12 Life inside the (class) bubble
02/09/12 Rethinking paths to wealth
01/17/12 Romney must face his work history head-on
01/11/12 Don't let those gift cards be a gift to retailers or the state
01/03/12 Headlines hoped for in 2012
11/09/11 Romney, beware: Cain may bob through the straits
11/02/11 Where there's ad smoke, there's … what?
10/20/11 After husband is murdered, 30 long years of phone calls
10/13/11 Black women should only marry out of their race?
08/31/11 Some political gaffes really say something
07/27/11 An overture of candidates' theme songs
06/28/11 Where's the app for common sense?
06/02/11 Over-scrutinizing lives costs us potential leaders
04/19/11 Taking a chance to say, ‘Hi’
04/06/11 Race policies should be altered to reflect new demographic reality
11/10/10 Delaware's independent, but short-lived, voice
11/03/10 Papers should leave endorsing to others
10/21/10 Media help to hype perception of bullying
09/23/10 Officer down, killer hyped up
08/04/10 Documents highlight Pakistan's shortcomings as a U.S. ally
07/06/10 On taking back Sept. 11
06/29/10 Name elite corps to develop energy independence?
04/21/10 New account reinforces a serviceman's valor
03/11/10 Medical profession must police itself better
02/18/10 One-trick athletes
02/09/10 Active, retired law officers should be able to carry guns on planes to help stop terrorists
02/04/10 How to bring tech up to speed
01/28/10 Campaign donations must be fully and immediately disclosed online
01/07/10 The flying emperor still has no clothes, and no one is willing to say so
12/24/09 A law to mandate college football playoffs?
12/17/09 Cheney's abuse of freedom of speech
11/26/09 The true cost of freedom from anxiety
10/27/09 If GOP wants to win in 2012, it must reshape its primary process
10/08/09 It's time to get smarter on extended school day
09/03/09 What a summer of eulogizing flawed public figures reveals about society
08/12/09 It's time for cyclists and motorists to reconcile
08/05/09 Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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