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Steve Garvey’s win is a loss for California election reform

The Dodgers don't usually get intentional help from their arch-rivals, the Giants.But something strange happened in the California primary: Former Dodgers great and current Republican Senate candidate Steve Garvey advances to general election After being promoted almost entirely by other teams, along with Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff.Former National League MVP's long-term goal Senate race gained estimated gains $35 million In a TV ad from an amazing source: Schiff and his allies.

Why did the Burbank Democratic Party spend a small fortune to raise Garvey's profile and fill the airwaves with ads touting the former first baseman's conservative credentials? You might call this a squeeze play. Mr. Schiff wanted to keep his two closest Democratic rivals out of the fall campaign, and he succeeded. Garvey received the second-highest number of votes in the top two primary races, with Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of Irvine and Barbara Lee of Oakland finishing third and fourth, eliminating them from the race.

This is a classic example of the problem that ranked-choice voting can solve, a tried and tested bipartisan reform that discourages this kind of game-changing and more accurately represents what the majority of voters want. .

Schiff's despicable act, while unfortunate, was perfectly reasonable under the current system. In California's unusual “jungle” primary, all candidates run in the same primary, and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. Mr. Schiff seemed certain to win one of the two spots from the start, but faced a race expected to be competitive in the fall from progressive Democrats such as Mr. Porter and Mr. Lee. .

So Schiff decided to choose a more comfortable opponent.California Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1and the state's voters haven't sent a Republican to the Senate in 35 years.

Mr. Schiff's benevolence deserves much credit for ensuring what has become all too common in California's general elections.: In statewide races, Democrats will likely end up defeating sacrificial Republicans rather than facing real competition from within the party.Mr. Garvey's campaign has been largely quiet, with no television ads of his own airing and only his campaign appearances. rare. Republicans had spent just $1.4 million through mid-February, a fraction of what Schiff and his allies spent to boost him.

Porter denounced the contest as follows: “Misconduct” Although Sif's tactics were to blame, her allies also resorted to similar schemes.They are I've tried This is to promote the more conservative Republican perennial candidate Eric Early as “much more dangerous than Steve Garvey.'' Their apparent hope was to pull enough votes away from Garvey to place Porter in second place.

Our politics don't have to be this vile. It would be easy to end this subterfuge and ensure that the candidates with the widest and deepest support face off in the fall.

Ranked voting, which has begun a renaissance in the Bay Area and is rapidly spreading across the country, is the best tool for representing voter intent in races with three or more candidates. This allows voters to rank their chosen candidates as her first, second, third, etc., allowing for instant run-off voting. If no one receives a majority of first-choice votes, the lowest-placed candidate is eliminated and their votes are given to their supporters. ' Next selection. This process is repeated until one candidate wins more than 50% of her votes. This eliminates spoiler candidates, wasted votes on eliminated candidates, relatively few winners, and duplicitous tactics like Schiff and Porter.

One option is for California to adopt a “Final Four” model like the one used successfully in the United States. alaska. Instead of advancing only two candidates from the primary, the state will allow the top four to participate in the general election, which will then be determined by ranked selection.

This allows candidates with different ideologies within the party to run against each other without separating the field, which is especially important in a predominantly blue state like California. It would also help ensure that both major parties field at least one of her candidates in the general election. That could have allowed Mr. Schiff, Mr. Garvey, Mr. Lee and Mr. Porter all to make their case before a much larger and more representative electorate in November.

Voters, on the other hand, will be able to choose their actual favorite from a wide range of choices, along with their second and subsequent choices, without fear of spoilers. The winner will be the candidate with the deepest and broadest support among all California voters. And the election will have a completely different atmosphere. Instead of ignoring the Democratic Party's strongest opponents, Mr. Schiff should have competed to become their supporters' second choice.

California has long been at the forefront of electoral reforms that produce fairer outcomes, but the top-two primary was an important innovation. But there's no reason to stop there.

Ranked voting would make state elections fairer. The Dodgers can't decide which team to play, and politicians shouldn't be able to escape that either.

Marcela Miranda Caballero is California Ranked Choice Voting Coalition. David Daley is a senior researcher at FairVote and the author of .Unrigged: How Americans are fighting back to save democracy

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