California’s June 5 “jungle primary” exposes Democrats’ self-interest

Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is polling in the lead for the governor’s race in California’s June 5 primary election.


Country before party, the famous saying goes. But for some candidates running in the California June 5 primary, it’s themselves before party as well. The most prominent example is Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom.

One would think that as a Democrat, Newsom would want other Democrats to challenge him. But this isn’t the case. In fact, Newsom has repeatedly expressed that he would rather the Republican candidates for governor beat his fellow Democrats in the primary election.

The “jungle primary” system in California exposes candidates’ concern not with the policies affecting their constituents, but rather their own personal victory. The California primary system is one where voters can choose from a selection of all candidates from all parties and the two candidates with the highest number of votes, regardless of party affiliation, proceed to a runoff election in November.

This means that depending on the June 5 primary election results for California governor, two Democrats could face off against each other in the November runoff election.

What might be surprising — or predictable for those who look a little deeper — is that governor frontrunner Gavin Newsom has expressed that he would rather a Republican take second in the primary election so that he could showdown with a Republican candidate in the general election, a one-on-one Newsom must consider to be an easy win.

The governor’s race is a prime example of candidates proving that they care more about their personal success than the success of their policies and political ideas.

If someone cared for their political beliefs, they would rather voters choose candidates who are as similar to them as possible, so that regardless of their victory, the ideas they believe in would be implemented.

Instead, candidates like Gavin Newsom have shown voters that they would rather face someone with radically different political philosophies for a broader debate rather than the specific enhancement of policy ideas. They seem to care more about an easy implementation of their ideas rather than real challenges of the merits of their policies.


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