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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Top-Two Primary Means that Brown Can Ignore the Greens

At The San Francisco Chronicle, David R. Baker reports on anti-fracking activists who are demonstrating against Jerry Brown.
"We know it's rattling him," said David Turnbull, campaigns director for Oil Change International, the environmental group behind the fragrance spoof. "We know he's paying attention and he's hearing it. And we're hopeful that he's going to change. He does care about his legacy - that's pretty clear."
...
Brown has not hesitated to engage fracking protesters in public. Because most of them aren't likely to vote Republican, the governor may decide he can safely ignore their demands, said Thad Kousser, a political-science professor at UC San Diego.
"They need to have somewhere to run, if they want to run away from Jerry Brown," Kousser said. "So Jerry Brown's free to fend off these attacks on the left. And in fact, the more he fends off attacks from the left, the more he looks like a centrist."
The top-two primary is an important, if little-noticed, reason why Brown can ignore the anti-fracking protesters.  Under the old election rules, they might have been able to get behind a Green Party candidate to siphon votes from the Democrats in the general election.  Such things have happened:  Gore would have won the presidency in 2000 if Ralph Nader had not played spoiler in Florida.  But under top-two, there will be no third-party candidates on the gubernatorial ballot in the fall.

The anti-frackers can hoot and holler all they want, but they cannot really do anything except make noise.