(NEW YORK) — Seems like Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former movie star and Republican governor of California, and Chuck Schumer, the long-time Democratic senator from New York, wouldn’t have much in common.
Turns out, they both see eye to eye on at least one issue: Open primaries.
Schwarzenegger publicly tweeted his support for Schumer after the senator penned an Op-Ed for The New York Times suggesting that the country should adopt a Congressional open primary election system to reduce the polarization currently plaguing Congress.
On Twitter, Schwarzenegger appaluded Schumer’s stance, writing “I couldn’t agree more” and “Fantastic to see @SenSchumer supporting top-two primary. Let’s get it done & break up the status quo of gridlock.”
What exactly was it about Schumer’s piece that caught Schwarzenegger’s attention?
The New York Democrat outlined what he believes to be the direct effects of the current primary election system and floated this recommendation:
“We need a national movement to adopt the ‘top-two’ primary (also known as an open primary), in which all voters, regardless of party registration, can vote and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, then enter a runoff. This would prevent a hard-right or hard-left candidate from gaining office with the support of just a sliver of the voters of the vastly diminished primary electorate; to finish in the top two, candidates from either party would have to reach out to the broad middle.”
Schwarzenegger’s home state of California has used the non-partisan, open primary system since 2010. Washington State uses an open primary election system too, along with Louisiana where the system is sometimes referred to as a “jungle primary.”
According to Schumer, California was virtually a magnetic field for political polarization until voters decided to adopt the open primary system in 2010. He wrote, “The move has had a moderating influence on both parties and a salutary effect on the political system and its ability to govern.”
And Schumer later tweeted back his appreciation for Schwarzenegger’s endorsement.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN