Maybe only of provincial interest to USians, but this 538 article is interesting:
It’s important to remember, however, that even if the parties’ power over their voters has declined to some extent, they’re still extremely powerful institutions that get their way most of the time. And in Tuesday’s primaries in California, New Jersey and six other states, the parties had a really good night.
Some background: California recently switched to a “jungle primary”. That is, everyone votes for the full slate of candidates in a primary election and the top two candidates, no matter what party, advance to the general election. This is a terrible system because it makes a party that fields a diverse array of candidates vulnerable to a consolidated field from another party. For example, if Party 1 has 4 candidates, each of whom get 15% of the vote and Party 2 has 2 candidates, each of whom get 20% of the vote, the two P2 candidates will advance, even though the district generally leans 60% P1. Ranked choice is a far preferable system (which is actually starting to see rollout in some U.S. cities, e.g. San Francisco and in the state of Maine.) In California, there was the very real prospect, in yesterday’s election, that Democrats would be shut out of some Democratic districts because of a diverse field in those districts, which could easily ruin the Democrats’ chances of gaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the fall. This appears not to have happened (though vote counting is slow in CA because mail-in ballots can be mailed on election day), but it was a close call.
That said, Nate Silver’s assertion that political parties retain a bunch of power (which I agree with) is not supported by yesterday’s results in California. In fact the state party, perhaps wishing to avoid the appearance of bias or “tipping the scales” or perhaps because of mismanagement often declined to endorse a single candidate in many contests. I would most certainly have voted a party ticket, precisely to ensure that Democrats advance to the general in my district, but there mostly wasn’t one. There was no party endorsement for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and many other statewide offices, and even in many vulnerable districts–upon which control of the House potentially relies–the party did not coalesce support around a single candidate.
Anyway, just an observation. It’s odd to have this insistence that the party operates behind the scenes and uses its considerable power to get its way, when it seems more to me like the party didn’t really have its shit together. Also, too: jungle primaries–just when you thought party primaries were the dumbest way to run elections… Note to Bernie Bros: This is why parties typically require registration for their primary voters.