Who does Steve Poizner think he’s kidding?

Poizner’s independent campaign for insurance commissioner isn’t the biggest folly of the year in California. That title belongs to the top two system and the ruling Democrats who are going to throw away winnable Congressional seats by failing to fix it.

But Poizner’s run is folly. Because he is, once again, testing the myth that top two serves independents.

Boosting independents was the idea behind top two. The system was supposed to create room for more moderates to run. But it actually does the opposite, boosting the most polarizing candidates on right and left–as anyone who had seen it work in Washington and Louisiana and France knew before California foolishly adopted the system.

Independents don’t vote. And they don’t vote much in the first round of top two elections, in no small part because – in another bit of folly – California persists in calling the first round a “primary” election when it’s in fact the general election.

Poizner’s candidacy is built on false assumptions. First, that Californians know who he is, just because he’s been on statewide ballots and served as insurance commissioner before. The truth is that, like the Pacific Ocean, Californians have no memory.

He also seems to think that voters are hungering for an independent candidate. They’re not. Even the registered non-partisans are very partisan in their voting these days.

If you want to know the folly of such an independent campaign, just ask Dan Schnur. He ran for Secretary of State in 2014, put on a good campaign, won newspaper endorsements. He’s a smart and deeply respected person and political thinker. But he ran as an independent. A lesser-known Republican, Pete Peterson, emerged in the top two along with Democratic Alex Padilla. Schnur finished behind a state Senate candidate who had been busted by the FBI for public corruption and gun trafficking.

Poizner may do better than that. But if you’re running as an independent in top two, you’re not running to win.