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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fracking, Jerry Brown, and the Top Two Primary

Environmentalists are heckling California Governor Jerry Brown for not taking a tougher stance against fracking.

The protests will have no effect.  Brown -- who has championed environmental causes since the 1970s -- would never lose many votes over the issue.  If anything, the protests reinforce his image as a pragmatist.

What is more, the top-two primary eliminates a source of environmentalist leverage.  Under the old system, a Green Party candidate could siphon votes from the Democrats in the general election.  In a close race, this spoiler effect might even deny victory to a Democratic candidate -- as Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.   But now, only the top two candidates -- most likely Brown and an underdog Republican -- will be on the ballot in November.