The Fulcrum has a piece on “opening” New York State primaries. It makes a familiar argument:
Primary elections are crucial to our electoral outcomes because they determine which representatives have a better standing in the general election.
There is nothing stopping independent voters from running a candidate in a general election — except maybe their inability to agree on that candidate.
And getting people to agree on one candidate (or technically a number that can win) is a major reason why “parties” emerge.
I put “parties” in quotation marks for two reasons. One is that many hear it as an anti-reform cudgel. The other is that “parties” may not track the two-party divide. I am thinking here of quasi-party organizations like Cincinnati’s Charter Committee or the Murkowski organization in Alaska.
Numerous public officials have won office as independents. Names that come to mind include Bloomberg, Lieberman, Ventura, and Weicker. Each of them did so on their own ballot line in a general election.
It’s time to retire the claim that nominating primaries equal disenfranchisement.
The local paper of record has endorsed RCV in the context of a crowded Democratic mayoral primary. It also has called for nonpartisan elections (potentially with runoffs). How the latter might affect the former is left to the reader.
The endorsement followed a poll by several pro-RCV groups. One is pushing simultaneously in Harrisburg for open primaries.
I have been following the issue since I got here in early 2019. The Philadelphia Citizen wrote about it in 2016. There were murmurs of interest in good-government circles but not much more. (Hence we found the site useful for a survey experiment.) National groups became vocal in Spring 2021, shortly after New York City adopted RCV for primaries.
I discussed the issue on Philly NPR in late April.* Billy Penn ran a story earlier that week.
Here is a piece I wrote in October 2021. It recommended open-list proportional representation. (The conversation at the time was less mayor-centric.) It also noted that a Philadelphian had invented list PR in the 1840s. This was partly to address the unpredictability of runoffs.
*The interview refers to me as an assistant professor. I am flattered but not one.
These are posted on Medium.