Updated Jun 2, 2018

California's "jungle primary" isn't working

Democrats don't want to get shut out of the California primary. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California's "jungle primary" system — where the two candidates who earn the most votes advance to the general election, regardless of party — was created, in part, so candidates would adopt more moderate positions, per AP.

Yes, but: It's not working. At least not this year when there's a hunger for progressive candidates from California's hyper-progressive base of activist voters.

State of play: There's a growing divide among Democrats, and some Republicans are trying to appeal to hardline conservatives. And leaders of both parties hate this primary system.

  • In California's 48th district, the DCCC is trying to elevate Harley Rouda, a moderate Democrat who used to be a Republican. The state Democratic Party supports a different candidate, and a progressive, pro-scientist group is attacking Rouda.
  • In the 45th district, Democrat Dave Min is backed by the New Dem PAC, which supports centrist candidates. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) is attacking Min and encouraging voters to oppose him. It is the group's first of many interventions to make the moderate Democrat brand radioactive.
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a 26-year incumbent, has slowly but surely been shifting her policy stances (on things like marijuana, immigration, and the death penalty) to the left as she faces a credible challenge from progressive Kevin de León.
  • Eric McGhee, a researcher at the Public Policy Institute of California, told AP that he's found Republican candidates across the state aren’t becoming more centrist.
  • Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, who's supported by the president, is campaigning by appealing to Trump supporters.
  • Patrick Little, a white nationalist running for U.S. Senate, was supported by 46% of Republican voters in an April poll.

Bottom line: The "jungle primary" system might have been a good idea in 2010 when it was adopted, but 2018 is the year progressive activists (think: Tom Steyer, George Soros) and far-right Republicans are investing heavily to reject centrists.

Go deeper: The top-two primary system, explained.

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Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

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