California primaries: Myth of the ‘independents’

By JD Mussel

Paul Mitchell of Capitol Weekly’s CA120 column tells the rather farcical story of the more than 100,000 Californian voters who thought they were registering to vote as independents and ended up voting in the American Independent Party’s presidential primary.

The American Independent Party is the far-right outfit originally established by Alabama segregationist George Wallace for his 1968 presidential run (which was aimed at sending the election to the House of Representatives). They ended up choosing Trump as their nominee this year, though he didn’t even appear on the ballot for the primary. I didn’t know California allowed electoral fusion before I noticed this dual nomination on the sample ballot I got in the mail last week[1].

[1] Yes, I have moved! I have now joined MSS at the University of California, Davis where I started my graduate studies last month.

5 thoughts on “California primaries: Myth of the ‘independents’

  1. Congratulations on grad school, JD.

    Technically cross-endorsement. Cross-filing (which Seth Masket’s book on CA covers) would have been more interesting. It would have meant that Trump decided to run with AIP. But this sounds like cross-endorsement because the party chose (i.e., wrote him in) on primary ballots.


    • “Fusion” on the east coast typically refers to cross-endorsement. So, Working Families Party allows State Sen. Been T. Forever (D) to also appear on WFP ballot line.


  2. In actuality, in New York at least, you can cross-file to run in another party’s primary if you get a Wilson-Pakula letter from the chair of the party that covers the jurisdiction you’re running in. More info here:

    Curiously, I always wonder what would have happened if California had adopted a system such as this as opposed to just outright banning cross-filing. Then again, given the traditional “strong” organization of parties in eastern states as opposed to the “weaker” organizations of the west, it may not have made much difference.


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