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Sources Say: Oregon parties part ways on almost every issue

“There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican parties,” the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace repeatedly said. Many people have agreed with him over the years, even if they disagreed with everything he stood for.

But that’s not the case in Oregon, where the state Democratic and Republican parties disagree on every statewide ballot measure except Measure 90, which would create an open-primary system. They both oppose it. But the parties split on everything else.

The Democratic Party of Oregon supports state bonds for post-secondary education (Measure 86), allowing state judges to work at colleges and in the National Guard (87), driver’s licenses without proof of legal residency (88), equal rights regardless of sex (89), marijuana legalization (91) and labeling foods containing genetically modified organisms (92).

The Oregon Republican Party opposes all of them except measures 87 and 89, where it took no

positions.

City Club leans blue

Meanwhile, the City Club reinforced the conventional wisdom that Democrats dominate Portland politics and the State of Oregon,

given the city’s large population.

Although the longstanding civic organization is supposed to be nonpartisan, its ballot measure endorsements largely agreed with those of the Democrats and disagreed with the Republicans. More than 1,900 City Club members completed online surveys and more than two-thirds of them voted to support the most controversial measures — higher education bonds, drivers licenses, equal rights, marijuana legalization and GMO labeling.

The City Club only agreed with the Republicans once, taking no position on the measure concerning state judges. It disagreed with both the Democrats and Republicans just once, taking no position on the open-primary measure. Still, five for seven seems like more than a coincidence to us.

Most businesses back open primaries

Two campaign committees claiming to be broad coalitions launched ballot measure campaigns recently. Safe Roads Yes supports Measure 88, which allows people who cannot document their legal residency to obtain a driver’s license. Protect Our Vote opposes Measure 90, which would create an open primary.

Most of the organizations represented by the committees are the same labor, community justice. and liberal religious organizations that are always together on social issues, however, including support for gay marriage and higher taxes on the wealthy.

In fact, some of them are members of both committees, including the Oregon AFL-CIO, Locals 49 and 503 of Service Employees International Union,

One exception is the Oregon Business Association, which supports the driver’s license measure, but is not opposed to the open-primary measure.

The only business group opposing that one so far is the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, which represents mostly moderate to liberal small-business owners.