The Supreme Court ruling yesterday, allowing Washington state to have a "top-two" election system, is being deplored by the state's political parties. Not surprising, since they lose some control over who gets to run for partisan office. But the real impact may be on empire builders such as Speaker Frank Chopp. Imagine District ZZZ, which has been electing a Democratic incumbent for years. No ambitious challenger from the Democrats stands a chance in the primary, when loyalists and beneficiaries of Rep. Rottenborough give him early contributions and easily nominate him. The Republicans have long since written off District ZZZ, so their candidate gets a paltry 20 percent in the general election -- if anyone runs at all. Now, under the new system, the Democratic challenger has a much better chance. She runs a barely-respectable race in the primary and comes in second, ahead of the Republican nullity. Now it gets interesting. Republicans and independents get a chance to vote for the challenger in the general election. Money starts arriving. Rep. Rottenborough starts paying attention, probably moving toward the center. Instead of taking District ZZZ for granted, the state party has to divert some money from other races to make sure of holding the seat. Such might be some good outcomes of the new system, the so-called Louisiana primary. But don't get too giddy. The system is what we now have in nonpartisan races such as Seattle's mayoral and city council races. Last time I checked, incumbents still enjoy a crushing advantage, at least in these high-profile, high-cost races. However, when you look at what happened to the School Board and the Port of Seattle (where all incumbents lost), you might feel encouraged again.