SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- The nature of the campaign — a rough, prolonged battle that stretched from the spring through the June primary and into the fall — is in large part the result of California’s new top-two primary system, said SF State Political Science Professor Jason McDaniel.
Under the system, the primary’s top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. It was sold as a way to attract more moderate candidates that can reach across party lines. Instead, he said, it has resulted in members of the same party with relatively similar views engaging in negative campaigns to try to differentiate themselves.
“You are going to see this kind of thing more — pitting more Democrats against Democrats and preventing the party from getting united behind one candidate in the general election,” he said. “I think it will help maintain cleavages between the progressive left and liberals in San Francisco and will increase polarization statewide.”