Dan Schnur proved to be right, at least in one respect: the campaigns have figured out the top two.

Six years ago, Dan and I debated the then-new political reforms of redistricting and top two at the Sacramento Press Club. I, arguing that the reforms made little positive impact, had the better case in terms of evidence that redistricting was a small change and that top two a foolish one. But Dan, arguing for redistricting and top two, clearly outpointed me in debating style and argument.

Whenever I pressed on the problems of top two, Dan expertly deflected by saying that any judgment was then too early—only two years after the voters had approved top two. Eventually, he said, the campaigns would figure it out, and top two would produce the more competitive elections, the more engaged voters and more moderate candidates that the idea’s backers had been promised.

Well, at least we’ve reached the point when the campaigns have figured it out. Gavin Newsom’s team has figured out the benefits of attacking the Republican he wants to run against in the second round of the top two – John Cox. You can hurt Cox’s favorability ratings with most of the electorate, while raising his name recognition with Republicans, who could push him into the top two. Antonio Villaraigosa’s team has figured out you can try to boost weaker Republicans so that Republicans split the vote, and Antonio makes the top two.

There are other tactics being used now that political sophistication around top two has grown. But it’s hard to see how all this gamesmanship is of any benefit for voters. In fact, it’s confusing and deceiving, and thus off-putting.

Turnout has continued to sink. Top two has many elements that are disenfranchising. Voters aren’t tuning in. They are still confronting huge ballots – 27 candidates for governor – that are likely to leads to tens of thousands, and maybe hundreds of thousands of over-votes. Moderates are not advantaged. Indeed, the handful of moderates out there are moving left (see Dianne Feinstein). And the state and the media mis-label the election a primary, which discourages the independent voters who are supposed to be advantaged by top two.

This year, top two threatens the state’s ability to have outcomes that reflect the will of voters in Congressional races that could decide not just the House of Representatives, but perhaps the fate of the republic itself.

We’ve reached the other side of the rainbow, Mr. Schnur. What do you say now that we’ve arrived at the destination you correctly predicted? Do you still believe in top two?