Lieutenant governor, a race for an office that is largely ignored and most people don’t care about, has the potential to make an impact during the June 3 California primary -- If we vote.
For over 30 years, only one party (Democratic Party) has won lieutenant governor races (appointments aside) in California. The greater number of registered members of that party -- along with an independent center which leans left -- has created a position which we vote for with zombie-like regularity. Move over and check the box next to D or R.In a state where most voters are suspicious of one party to the point where they vote “against them” as much as “for” the other party, there is a path to an alternative option.
With the Top-Two Primary, if a “mainstream, centrist oriented, independent” made the November ballot, it would be D vs I. No longer could people vote blindly along partisan lines. Voters would have to think, not just react.
The problem? Getting an independent into the top two. As we uncap our pens to faithfully mark a ballot next to the requisite D or R, leaving the Republican candidate to be run over by an electorate that will likely not look past the party descriptor next to his or her name, the election in November has already been decided before we cast our ballots.
Lieutenant governor is important precisely because no one cares much, because it will not change party caucuses, because there is very minor power. It can be our place to make a statement “risk-free.” There is no wasted vote -- just a chance to work toward something different. For all of us.
Check out the California Secretary of State's 2014 voter information guide for more information.
Photo Credit: The Desert Sun