Washington Dems, Republicans should let Top Two primary stand

Leave it to our state’s major political parties to not know the meaning of “no.” Months after the U.S. Supreme Court up held - by a 7-2 vote - the state’s proposed top-two primary, the Democratic and Republican parties again are demanding that the primary be dumped. It’s a needless ploy that only can serve to antagonize voters.

  • Friday, July 11, 2008 7:12pm
  • Opinion

Political parties do disservice to state voters

Leave it to our state’s major political parties to not know the meaning of “no.”

Months after the U.S. Supreme Court up held – by a 7-2 vote – the state’s proposed top-two primary, the Democratic and Republican parties again are demanding that the primary be dumped. It’s a needless ploy that only can serve to antagonize voters.

First a little history.

In 2004, state voters approved Initiate 872, the top-two primary. In it, the top two candidates in the primary – regardless of party – advance to the general election.

The Democrats and Republicans went to court, crying that there no longer would a guarantee that a Democrat or Republican made it to the general election. That’s true. Two Democrats, two Republicans or – gasp – two independents could get the most votes in the primary and advance to the general election.

Such a system is hardly a shock. In fact, it’s quite common. Voters do this in every city council and school board election.

Nonetheless, the parties prevailed at the District Court level and an injunction was granted to halt the new primary. The issue then went on to appeal. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court gave the state the OK to move ahead with the top-two system.

So, what’s the issue now? One of those legal “technicalities.”

The parties say the original injunction has not yet been vacated. In fact, they say, the U.S. Court of Appeals recently has asked both sides if there were any more details to be taken care of before the case is sent back to U.S. District Court.

Oh, please.

Court watchers say the U.S. Appeals Court likely wants to know if one side or the other wishes to claim reimbursement for legal fees. Since they lost, the political parties may be on the hook for such things.

Finally, it’s ludicrous to believe that a U.S. District Court injunction somehow supersedes a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. It doesn’t.

The state’s political parties should drop this incessant attempt to override the will of the voters and turn their efforts where they may actually do some good – getting their candidates elected in the August primary.

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