Top two primary could make for less-than-great debates

One interesting thing about our state’s new Top Two primary system is that two candidates of the same party could advance to the general election.

On the plus side, this means there is finally competition in areas that heavily favor one party or another. On the negative side, the public might have to listen to some very tedious debates.

Let’s say two Republicans are the top vote-getters in a 10th District race for State House of Representatives. Here’s how the debate before the November election, presided over by the League of Women Voters moderator, might go:

Candidate A: I favor more tax cuts for business.

Candidate B: I favor even more tax cuts for business.

Candidate A: I’m totally against any taxes for business.

Candidate B: Well, not only am I against any taxes for business, I’m in favor of giving state money to businesses so they can operate more successfully.

Candidate A: Actually, giving money to businesses was my idea, and as long as you’re a certified business person, you shouldn’t even have to open an actual business. We’ll give you money directly and cut out the middle part. After all, business people are the backbone of America!

Candidate B: I’ll match that and promise to raise taxes on the poor to pay for it all. After all, if the poor would just go into business, they wouldn’t need to pay any taxes ...

League of Women Voters moderator: I must interrupt this debate to report that both candidates will be taken outside and shot.

Or, we can imagine something similar if two Democrats win the primary for the 10th District House seat.

Candidate A: We must do more to stop global warming or our environment will be damaged.

Candidate B: Damaged? We’ll all be killed! We must take action immediately!

Candidate A: I propose mandatory curbside recycling and the elimination of all plastic bags in grocery stores.

Candidate B: Oh, that’ll save the Earth for about five minutes. I propose all that plus mandatory no-drive days.

Candidate A: Right, no driving Monday through Friday, which are mandatory bicycle-to-work days. Violators will be prosecuted.

Candidate B: I agree! And no talking on cell phones while pedaling. Violators will be terminated!

Candidate A: I agree, and furthermore, we must raise taxes on everybody but winos, who will be provided free housing with cable TV.

Candidate B: And a sauna in every wino’s room!

League of Women Voters moderator: Once again, I must interrupt this debate. Since both candidates are anti-gun, we’re taking them outside to be recycled.

Depending on the mood of the League of Women voters moderators, we could end up with no candidates surviving to compete in the general election. And that could be the best thing of all about the Top Two primary.

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