So let me get this straight. Bernie Sanders thinks California should be totally consistent in how it runs elections across all 58 counties.
Go back to Vermont, dude. You’re in a state the size of a country, so deal with it.
Sanders and various allies recently filed a lawsuit against the state demanding changes to our election system in advance of the June 7 presidential primary. The exercise is sort of charming – few Californians care enough about voting to litigate the process so aggressively. And demanding changes to our system is not a bad ask – our election system, like our budget and governance systems, is a complicated mess.
But what Sanders is asking for is laughable.
First laugh. Sanders is mad that voters like me – without party affiliation – might find it hard to get a Democratic ballot in the race. I appreciate the help personally—though I didn’t need it. Asking for a Democratic ballot was pretty easy for this mail voter in Los Angeles County—you check a box when you send your request for a mail ballot in. (And if you go to the polls it’s even easier—you just ask).
Second laugh. Sanders wasn’t a Democrat until he ran for president. But the lawsuit expresses anger that people like me (and him until recently) who aren’t Democrats might not get the chance to vote for the nominee of a party we’re not members of. That seems a bit much. Sanders may not be the kind of guest you want at your party.
Third laugh. Elections are local functions – in this state and this country. Our county clerks handle them. And if you want to tell them to take some action, you usually have to fund that. Since our state has been rotten about funding elections, you’re not going to have a consistent standard.
Now, I, for one, think America should have national elections—it’d be good for California, since we have less influence in this state and local system than we should in voting for presidents. A national election commission that runs elections and sets uniform standards would be a good idea. And if Sanders had spent most of his adult life in Congress, maybe he could have pursued that idea and gotten it enacted.
Ooops, oh yes, that’s right. He did spend his career in Congress, and he didn’t pursue that idea. Funny.
A final laugh: Sanders has touted California’s top-two system as some great example of democracy–even though it’s a confusing system that produces more campaign spending and gives more power to moneyed interests, which he says he’s against. Now, he’s claiming that California elections under that top two system create confusion—because they don’t match our presidential election process (which is still determined by the parties).
Yes, the system is confusing to voters (and good for rich people)—but the solution is not to apply it to presidential primaries as well. It’s to repeal the system.
The contradictions in Sanders’ argument are laughable. So is his lawsuit.