For the record, I support good old-fashioned competition in democratic politics. If you think you can win, if you think you can do the job, you should run and go all the way to the election, never giving up.

But California’s top-two system doesn’t allow that kind of competition.

So in the governor’s race, it’s time for one of two candidates to give way to the other.

The two are State Treasurer John Chiang and former Assembly Speaker and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

As long as two are in the race, it appears that neither has a good chance of advancing to November. That’s because top two makes it hard to compete. All candidates of every party are on one ballot, and only the top two advance. That’s likely to be Gavin Newsom and one of the two Republicans in the race. This reflects Newsom’s strength and the small number of Republican candidates, as well as the fundamentally partisan nature of voting.

But Chiang and Villaraigosa represent similar constituencies. They’re both Southern Californians. They’re both progressives who are running as more moderate than Newsom. They both speak to a more pragmatic and diverse brand of liberalism than Newsom.

And they are splitting that vote. If one dropped out and supported the other, they’d have enough to get into the top two with Newsom.

That is unlikely to happen. Both men are longstanding public servants with strong records. Both clearly think their time is now. Villaraigosa has big independent money backing him. Chiang has a growing list of support. Each has some reasons to cling to the idea that each could make it. But the math of top two works against them.

I’m not saying who should drop out. Villaraigosa is a decade older than Chiang, which means the treasurer may have other days. But Chiang is a less divisive figure, and may have a better chance of building a coalition against Newsom in the second round.

It would be act of leadership for one to drop out and support the other. Such a move would also be good for the Democratic party and the anti-Trump cause. If two Democrats advance in the top two of the governor’s race, Republican turnout would be hurt in November, when the party is trying to defend Congressional seats and hold the House.

One small side note. Newsom is much taller than each candidate, and in politics, the tallest candidate usually wins. But if one climbs on top of the other, Chiang-Villaraigosa would stand head-and-shoulders above the lieutenant governor.