California has changed from the traditional primary-general election format to a "top-two" system where everybody competes together in the primary and the top two advance to the general election. If you listen to the paid political consultants this is a major upheaval that will completely change the election landscape where minor parties will be marginalized and moderates will win.
Nonsense. We have just shifted the general election to the spring and eliminated the party primaries altogether. Minor parties will have as much impact (none) as they do now. Heavily partisan districts will feature two candidates from the same party in the runoff where the incumbent or party favorite will win.
The only change is that highly paid campaign consultants will have to devise new strategies for this new system. Consultants are an unimaginative bunch who repeat the same strategies over and over. They hate the thought of having to think.
Every four years there are articles about how, this time, Ron Paul has become important. Paul is as he has always been, a minor figure with a cult following that can artificially inflate his profile in a few, limited access, events.
States, we are told, are looking to on-line gambling as a revenue tool. The arguments are that legal, state gambling will end illegal gambling and the revenue will balance budgets.
The same arguments were used decades ago when states took over the Numbers Racket and call it PowerBall and then again when off-track betting began. So many problems.
- State gambling is the most regressive tax possible; the poor squander their resources hoping for a miracle and the only time the rich play is when they can game the system.
- The Mafia has a much more honest game. States payout only 50 cents for every dollar bet. The Mafia payout rate is a more generous 80%.
- State run gambling never takes in as much money as the proponents predict. Partly because state gambling has a massive, expensive bureaucracy but mostly because the state can never compete with the more generous illegal professional enterprises.