Skip to comments.The "Trojan Horse Primary"
Posted on 03/09/2007 4:24:46 PM PST by Amerigomag
So, what about what’s “hiding” inside what some conservatives have taken to calling “the Trojan Horse primary,” i.e., California’s early presidential primary? It may not be all that fearsome.
The great fear on the right is that California’s term limits law would be altered by voters next February 5th, when the state will all but certainly hold Democratic and Republican presidential primaries. (The bill has passed both houses of the Legislature and awaits the signature of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who proposed the idea.)
Presumably the right wing fear is that the vote to alter term limits would be unfair, due to a low turnout, because they can’t be against allowing the voters to decide. But these are hotly contested, open nomination races in both parties. Unless Rudy Giuliani, not the favorite of the far right, runs away with it on the Republican side. But California is central to his strategy, so expect a good Republican turnout next February.
Most experts agree that a term limit initiative can’t be passed unless it is part of a broader political reform package, certainly including redistricting reform and possibly including campaign finance reform. Otherwise, it looks like self-dealing on the part of the political class.
Which is precisely what it looked like when the term limits initiative laid out last month was quietly reworked so that Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata would definitely be allowed to remain in office. The initiative would allow legislators to serve for 12 years total, a reduction from the current 14 year limit. But legislators would be allowed to serve for 12 years in one house. Currently, the limit is six years for the Assembly and eight years for the Senate.
But redistricting reform is in trouble. Why? In a word or, actually, four, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The San Francisco Democrat and her House Democrats cling to a narrow majority. She and her allies don’t want to do anything to upset the apple cart. Changing how redistricting is done in the biggest state in America might do that.
Ironically, it might also increase her majority. Democrats might have picked up more than one seat in California last November had the districts not been so effectively gerrymandered for both parties.
But introducing the element of chance into the process is not what professional politicians are really about. So congressional seats are off the table for Perata and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez in their conception of redistricting reform. But not for Schwarzenegger, nor for most good government reformers on the issue.
And Schwarzenegger is not backing any outside initiatives on redistricting, so this piece in the package is at loggerheads.
Which is especially true of the most vague element so far, the addition of campaign finance reform to the mix. Over the weekend, Schwarzenegger seemed to revive one of his old ideas, banning fundraising during the state budget period, however one defines that, as part of a package for next February. Nunez strategist Steve Maviglio prompted blasted the notion on the California Majority Report blog. I pointed out there that some sort of campaign reform might well be necessary for voters to go along with the term limits initiative.
When Nunez spoke the next day in a press conference/media call, he spoke favorably about doing something on campaign finance reform, without spelling out what that might be. So there has not exactly been a meeting of the minds here.
How would a term limits change initiative fare shorn of packaging with redistricting reform and campaign reform? When I asked Democratic strategist Gale Kaufman and Republican strategist Matthew Dowd how the initiative fared in their polling when they unveiled it, they wouldn’t really say. Generally, that’s not a terribly favorable sign.
So in the end, what we may have in the very early presidential primary is precisely that. A very early presidential primary.
So if this went thru and you served 5 terms (10 years) in the Assembly, would you be barred from running for a 4-year Senate term, or could you run and win and then have to quit half way thru it?
1) No more than three terms in the Assembly
2) No more than two terms in the Senate.
The proposed changes allow the following life time limits:
1) Six terms in the Assembly. Or..
2) Four terms in the Assembly and one term in the Senate. Or..
3) Two terms in the Assembly and two terms in the Senate. Or..
3) Three terms in the Senate*.
.. could you run and win and then have to quit half way thru it?
To my knowledge, a candidate can't be certified to run for office, nor be declared the winner by write-in ballot, if it can be legally determined that he can't serve the full term of the office for which he seeks.
A candidate can, however, be sworn into office, even if there is a rebutable presumption that he will be convicted of a felony, and ensuing loss of franchise, during his term of office.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus