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The Good, Bad, and Ugly of California’s “Top-Two” Primary Election System

Californians, Iowans, and Mississippians, are going to the polls today to vote in a number of Congressional and gubernatorial primary elections. Here in California, a top-two system ensures that only the top two vote getters, regardless of party affiliation, will make it to November’s general election. Democratic incumbent Jerry Brown leads with a comfortable margin for the governor’s position, while a number of candidates including Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee, Mike Honda, Brad Sherman, and Xavier Becerra are seeking re-election. Meanwhile Congressman Henry Waxman is retiring and a fierce battle for his seat is ensuing.

In Mississippi, where it is mostly Republicans in high-stakes primary races, establishment GOP candidates are facing a stiff fight from the Tea Party. And in Iowa, a high-profile Senate primary has pitted a conservative veteran, Joni Ernst, against Mark Jacobs. A total of 8 states are holding elections today, just weeks after the May 20th primaries in the first round of state elections.

GUEST: John Nichols, the Washington DC correspondent for the Nation Magazine, a contributing writer for the Progressive and In These Times, and associate editor of the Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. He has written many books, the latest of which is co-written with Bob McChesney called Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Campaign is Destroying America.