Dr. J. Andrew Sinclair and Ian O’Grady first began researching the California’s nonpartisan “top-two” primary system in the fall semester of 2013. Sinclair, a visiting professor at CMC, wrote his dissertation on the topic at Cal Tech, and partnered with the Rose Institute to continue working on his research and publications. O’Grady, a Rose Institute Research Analyst and Student Manager, had worked in a competitive Democratic primary in his home state of Arizona and had taken an interest in the impacts of this and other election California reforms–from term limits to independent redistricting.
Sinclair and O’Grady have continued to work together on this topic, developing their research through the 2014 and 2016 elections, across legislative, state, and federal elections. In general, they find exceptions to the conventional narrative that the reform “has failed” to deliver on proponents’ promises. In this article, that has been published in the December issue of the Journal of Public Policy, they identify areas where the reform may disrupt traditional partisan coalitions to the benefit of unconventional alliances and policy entrepreneurs.
Sinclair, J., O’Grady, I., McIntosh, B., & Nordlund, C. (2017). Crashing the party: Advocacy coalitions and the nonpartisan primary. Journal of Public Policy, 1-32. doi:10.1017/S0143814X17000149