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Page 1: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Poli 103A California PoliticsParties and Redistricting

Page 2: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Parties and Redistricting

Why California Has Weak Parties•Roles of parties

•History of nomination processes in CA

The Partisan Warfare of Redistricting•Rules of the game

•Rules of thumb

•The new rules

Page 3: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Why California Has Weak Parties

In American politics, a party’s most important functions are selecting a nominee and supporting that nominee in a general election.

In Europe, parties are much more active in influencing the votes of their legislators and disciplining them by controlling their careers.

Page 4: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Why California Has Weak PartiesNominating Candidates

In California’s history, the process of selecting party nominees has undergone significant changes.

•The Convention System, 1849-1908. Parties got to throw their own parties, managing and paying for conventions that were not regulated by the state.

Page 5: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Historical “Evolution” of Candidate Nominations in CA

The Convention System No laws against bribing delegates. No laws guaranteeing delegates the right

to vote at a convention. “Both sneaks and sluggers were employed

as the occasion dictated.” –C. Edward Merriam, 1908.

Streetfights between the longhair and shorthair Union partisans in 1866.

Page 6: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Historical “Evolution” of Candidate Nominations in CA

Direct primaries with cross-filing, 1908-1959.

•1908 initiative, pushed by Progressives, had the state take over and finance primaries in which party members voted.

•Cross-filing removed a candidate’s party label from the primary ballot, and allowed candidates to run in multiple primaries

Page 7: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Historical “Evolution” of Candidate Nominations in CA

Cross-Filing Party members could still select their

nominee, but they often chose an incumbent from the other party.

1952 initiative attached party labels. 1959 abolition of cross filing

prevented candidates from running in more than one party primary.

Page 8: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Historical “Evolution” of Candidate Nominations in CA

Blanket Primary, 1998-2000. Proposition 198, financed by moderate

Republicans and reformers, let voters chose the primary in which they would participate.

Meant to bring independents and moderates into the process, and select more moderate nominees.

Page 9: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Historical “Evolution” of Candidate Nominations in CA

The danger to parties was that by opening up their primaries to non-members, they might select:•Republicans’ favorite Democrat & vice-versa

•“Turkeys” who can’t win general election

The US Supreme Court agreed that this system violated a party’s freedom of association in California Democratic Party vs. Jones, 2000

Page 10: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Historical “Evolution” of Candidate Nominations in CA

In June, 2010, voters passed the “top-two primary” law•Put on the ballot by moderate

Republican Abel Maldonado

•Voters can choose from all candidates from all parties in any office

•The “top-two,” regardless of party, advance to the November ballot

Page 11: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Do Nomination Procedures Affect Partisan Polarization?

-0.3

-0.2

-0.1

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.518

5118

5518

5918

6318

7118

8018

8718

9519

0319

1119

1919

2719

3519

4319

5119

5919

6719

7519

8319

9119

99

Polarization Score in Session

Smoothed Polarization Series

Page 12: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

The Partisan Warfare of Redistricting: Rules of the Game

After each census (2010, 2000, ...) new congressional, state Senate, and state Assembly districts drawn because:•CA often got more seats in Congress.

•Old districts no longer = in population.

In the past, new district maps passed as a bill in the legislature:•Needed to pass each house with simple

majorities and be signed by the governor, requiring compromise.

Page 13: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

The Partisan Warfare of Redistricting: Rules of the Game

If elected officials fail to reach an agreement, redistricting passes to the State Supreme Court, which may appoint “Special Masters.”

The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 allows affected voters to sue if the voting power of racial and ethnic minorities is diluted when lines drawn with discriminatory intent and effect.

Page 14: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

The Partisan Warfare of Redistricting: Rules of the Game

Page 15: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

The Partisan Warfare of Redistricting: Rules of Thumb

There is often a trade-off between making incumbents safe and getting more seats for the party in power.•A plan that makes incumbents safe

(less responsive) packs lots of their supporters together in a district.

•A plan that helps a party win more seats than it has voters (more biased) needs to spread around just enough supporters.

Page 16: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

The Partisan Warfare of Redistricting: Rules of Thumb

There is sometimes a trade-off between increasing minority voting power and helping Democrats.•Latino and African-American voters

tend to live in areas heavily populated by Democrats.

•A district that is 55% African-American is likely to be 85% Democratic, leaving fewer voters to spread around.

Page 17: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

The Partisan Warfare of Redistricting: Rules of Thumb

There is a tradeoff between maximizing the number of competitive districts and keeping together cities, counties, or “communities of interest.”•More and more, like-minded Californians

live near each other. Creating district lines that keep them together can lead to non-competitive elections.

Page 18: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Changing the Rules of Redistricting

In November, 2008, Proposition 11 narrowly passed to create the Citizens Redistricting Commission•14 “average citizens” with equitable

partisan representation will meet to draw the new lines. 9 must agree.

•They were charged with respecting minority voting rights and keeping together communities, but not with maximizing competition.

Page 19: Poli 103A California Politics Parties and Redistricting.

Discussion Questions What would California politics look like

without any parties? Can we look for clues by studying local, non-partisan politics?

Which goals are most important in a redistricting system?•Competition

•Partisan proportionality

•Minority voting rights

•Compactness and continguity


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