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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.

Go deeper

McCarthy jokes about hitting Pelosi with gavel if he becomes Speaker, in new audio

Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can be heard saying "it would be hard not to hit" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker's gavel if Republicans retake the House in 2022 and he becomes speaker, according to new audio posted to Twitter by a Main Street Nashville reporter.

Driving the news: McCarthy made the comments during a fundraising event in Tennessee, as he was handed an oversized gavel by members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, reports CNN.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for drone strike on oil tanker

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, now believe Iran was likely responsible for last week's drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.

Why it matters: The United States and Britain now join Israel in accusing Tehran of being behind the July 29 attack off the coast of Oman. Iran has denied involvement.

9 hours ago - Sports

Suni Lee wins bronze medal in uneven bars

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won her 3rd Olympic medal on Sunday, taking home bronze in the individual uneven bars event.

Driving the news: Also on Sunday, U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner won the silver medal in the vault on Sunday after stepping in for Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to prioritize her mental health and well-being.