Blurring Party Lines

Tuesday was
a major event for midterm primary elections; eleven were held that day, and the
results revealed a great deal about the current state of partisan and electoral
politics.  There were high-profile
candidates stepping into political races for the first time, as well as high-profile
incumbents facing primary challenges.

interesting this Tuesday was California’s passing of Proposition 14.  The proposition, which will take effect in
2011, combines the current partisan primaries into one blanket primary.  All individuals, then, could run in and vote
in the primary, regardless of party affiliations, and the top two winners, no
matter their party affiliations, would then face each other in the general
Parties & Policies: How the American Government Works: David R. Mayhew

political theorists are frequently examining the systems by which our
government is run, as well as ways in which popular opinion shapes those trends.  David Mayhew, in many of the fourteen essays
from different points in his career that comprise Parties & Policies: How the American Government Works,
looks specifically at questions related to those raised by Tuesday’s results.  For example, in “The Case of the Vanishing
Marginals” Mayhew examines trends of partisan seat swings, which lead to a
switch in the majority party in the House of Representatives, and he sees an
increase in the safety of incumbency.
How might this change in California
with the new primary system?  Only time
will tell, but in the meanwhile, Mayhew’s book offers insight into the complex
relations between elections, political parties, and lawmaking.


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