Mar 18, 2010

California Proposition 14: Rights of People vs. Rights of Parties - The Next American Revolution attorney Harry Kresky's piece today on HuffPo Words Matter: Voters to Get Fair Wording of California Open Primary Initiative is a gem. Read it, and re-read it, and then read it to your friends!
The assertion of such a right by the parties raises a fundamental question about the nature of our democracy. Does it rest on the rights of voters or on the rights of parties? On one level the answer is simple. The Constitution makes no mention of political parties. The Bill of Rights speaks of the "rights of the people," not of the parties. After all, it is the people who organize the parties, so how could the rights of the parties they organize trump theirs?
We face a challenge every day in this country -- move forward, or stay here? And "stay here" increasingly means going backwards.

In the very early days of our American revolution,  soon after the independent forces won, George Washington warned us about the "baneful effects of party".  In that spirit, let's continue the struggle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Harry didn't seem to know that the California Constitution now guarantees qualified political parties the right to have the person who got the most votes in their primary, be on the November ballot.

He seems to have thought the reference to a constitutional right of parties was a reference to the US Constitution.

Prop. 14 removes that constitutional right for parties from the state constitution, yet the voters aren't being told that. This comment is by Richard Winger, but the system won't let me post as anything but anonymous.