From the Green Party of the United States:
[Note: HR 5334 - the bill that would establish a nation-wide "Top Two" primary for all House elections - is sponsored by John Delaney, a Maryland Democrat]
In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, U.S. Senator and "friend of Wall Street" Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for taking the "Top Two" primary system - which is currently in use on California, Louisiana, and Washington - nationwide. Under "Top Two", all candidates are on a single primary ballot and the two candidates with the most votes advance to the general election regardless of party label.
California was the most recent state to adopt "Top Two". In January 2009, State Senator Abel Maldonado held the state budget hostage during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression until the rest of the state legislature agreed to put a "TopTwo" referendum on the ballot. In June 2010, "Top Two" was adopted by 53% of the voters with overwhelming media support, big donations from corporate interests including Silicon Valley and health insurance companies, and a highly misleading campaign that characterized it as an "open primary".
The Greens and other third parties warned that "Top Two" would disenfranchise voters who wanted to support candidates besides Democrats and Republicans. The evidence from California is clear. Under the previous primary system in 2010, there were six candidates on the general election ballot in every statewide race. In 2014, there were only two, and all statewide candidates are Democrats or Republicans. In 2010, there were four or five candidates on the ballot in every Board of Equalization race. In 2014, there are only two in each race, and all candidates are Democrats or Republicans. In 2010, 29 out of the 53 House of Representatives races had candidates outside of the duopoly. In 2014, there are only three, and none of them are Greens.
In 2010, every registered Green and other supporter of the Green Party of California had the opportunity to vote for Green candidates in 8 of the 12 partisan races on the ballot: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Controller, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner and U.S. Senate. Additionally, some were in districts where they were able to vote for Green candidates for House of Representatives or State Assembly. In 2014, there will not be one single Green candidate on the ballot anywhere in California for a partisan race.
"Top Two" is spreading to Oregon this year. On July 15th, Measure 90 - which would change Oregon's primary system to a "Top Two" system - was certified for the November ballot. Former Enron executive John Arnold has contributed $1.75 million in support of Measure 90. Other large contributors included Michael Bloomberg (at $1.6 million), Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Associations and The Standard Insurance Company.
A win for "Top Two" in Oregon means that Greens are disenfranchised on the entire Pacific Coast. A win for "Top Two" in Oregon means that big corporate interests and their supporters like Chuck Schumer will be encouraged to spread this anti-reform nationwide. A win for "Top Two" in Oregon means that the growing revolt against the broken two-party system can be stopped in its tracks nationwide. Your support can keep the revolt alive and growing.
The Pacific Green Party of Oregon is mobilizing registered Greens and Jill Stein campaign volunteers from all across the state to defeat Measure 90. A win for the Pacific Green Party means that we can keep running candidates like Jason Levin for Governor - who crashed a debate that was restricted to Democrats and Republicans - and Christine Lugo for U.S. Senate, who is the first transgender U.S. Senate candidate in Oregon.
We have beaten "Top Two" before and we can do it again. In 2008, the Pacific Green Party played a role in defeating a "Top Two" referendum that lost 66% to 34%. If you live in Oregon, make sure to vote NO on Measure 90.
We need all Greens to contribute to our efforts as we resist candidate suppression in all its forms. Thank you for your continued efforts to promote Green candidates and campaigns and work for free and fair elections for all candidates.