Sunday, June 10, 2018

Reflections on the 2018 California Primary - Part II

California’s Democrats were eagerly anticipating a blue tsunami last Tuesday. It would wipe out the residue of the California republican Party. Hillary Clinton carried California by a 4 million vote margin over Donald Trump. The once mighty, highly competitive republicans have dwindled to a measly 21.1% of voter registration in California, trailing Democrats with 44.4% of the voters, and even independents with 25.5%. The Republicans have not held a statewide office in 8 years. They are a distinct minority in the state legislature. California has 53 Congressional seats. Republicans currently hold 14 of those seats, seven of which were carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. This year was supposed to be a blue wave – a total, enthusiastic rejection of President Trump and his acolytes in Congress. California would join the bluest of blue states. California is leading the War on Trump. The Governor and especially the Attorney General, Xavier Becera, are the generals. The seven Republican Congressional district that voted for Hillary Clinton are in the blue wave bullseye. The only question was how far left California would go? Someone forgot to tell the Democrats in California. The voters stayed home. The California voter turnout was 22% of registered voters. The percent will rise somewhat because roughly 1 million early votes have yet to be counted. Yes, early votes are counted late. They will decide a few close elections. Every vote counts. The turnout in Los Angeles was 20.1% compared to 28% in Republican Orange County. LA didn’t even vote for its former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Gavin Newsom carried LA with 323,857 votes compared to 203,951 votes for Antonio. Angelinos know their former mayor. Republicans in Orange County outvoted the Democrats in three of the four Orange County districts and were close in the fourth, which is now mostly in San Diego County. Over $108 million was spent on California’s Congressional races, mostly by Democrats. For example, Young Kim led the votes in Orange County’s House District 39. She spent $640,000 on her campaign, compared to the Democratic runner up, Gil Cisneros, who spent $3.89 million, mostly of his own lottery winnings. Money can’t buy you love. Nor does it necessarily but an election. The Clinton Campaign and outside supporters outspend the Trump Campaign 2:1. The Clintonistas spent way over 1 billion dollars. The Russians only spent around $200,000 in Facebook ads. Outside charter school supported spent $22.7 million on Mayor Villaraigosa. It was a waste. He came in third with but 13% of the votes. A Republican came in fourth with 10%. John Cox, the Republican businessman who came in second with 26%, was helped not with money, but with a May 18 endorsement tweet from President Trump. Money sometimes talks. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, posing as conservatives, spent 2.3 million against Republican Scott Baugh to hold him to third place in Congressman Dana Rohrabucher’s 48th Congressional District. Scott was portrayed as “insufficiently conservative.” The Lieutenant Governor outcome is very interesting. Oodles of money was spent on TV ads for Eleni Kounalakis. Most was funded by her father. She received only 23.7% compared to the union backed Assemblyman Tony Hernandez’s 20.6%. Not a lot of enthusiasm for the Lt. Governor contest. Similarly, a fortune in outside Charter School backers spent a fortune on Marshall Tuck, who came close to winning four years ago. He received 37% of the vote against the teachers union backed Tony Thurmond’s 35%. California’s Attorney General Becera only won 45.3% of the ballots. A retired Republican judge, Steven J. Bailey, will be his November rival. The AG also ran an expensive TV campaign. One wonders why both he and Senator Feinstein polled under 50%. The two recalls of the state senator and judge both came in about 60%-40% for recall. The Democrats wasted another $4million in their futile attempt to save Senator Josh Newman. A Republican will replace him, ending the Democrats legislative super majority necessary to increase taxes without a public vote. The gas tax was forced through the legislature by a supermajority. It is 12 cents/gallon on gas, 20 cents/gallon on diesel, and a $100 increase in the car registration fee. A referendum to repeal it will be on the November ballot. 12 cents may not seem like much, but it averages out to $800 per motorist annually. Drivers feel it every time they fill up as the price of gas climbs towards $4/gallon. Several Democratic incumbents who voted for the increase had thin margins last Tuesday. Some of them may be in trouble. A relatively unknown impact of the recall is the silent elimination of a stealth 95 cents tax on water bills. It had been snuck into the state budget which is about to be voted on by the legislature. Also of interest are a few district attorney races. George Soros, a financial Godfather for Democrats, has been funding nationally campaigns to elect progressive, soft on criminals, DA’s. He failed in Alameda, Sacramento and San Diego Counties. His candidate probably also fell short in Contra Costa County. The Democrats should win the November statewide elections, but who can be sure in these volatile times. Voters are surly. The Gas Tax Repeal will be on the ballot. Governor Brown run reelection 4 years ago 60%-40% against an unknown, but highly competent, Neal Kashkari in 2014. The gubernatorial election will be closer this year, how close??? Gavin Newsom will win big in the Bay Area and LA. He has boatloads of money for his campaign. Then again, Hillary Clinton outspend Donald with over Senator Diane Feinstein also only won 44.2% of the votes. Her November rival will be outgoing Senate Majority leader Kevin De Leon, who only won 10% of the votes. She even won 44% in his home district in Los Angeles. The state senator is far to the left of Senator Feinstein, who should win in a blowout. The Republicans will vote for her as the lesser of the two liberal evils. National maps of voting by counties show vast spaces of red. Democrats carry the large voting metropolitan areas. So too in California. The Republican John Cox won more votes in most counties than Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who carried the blue coastal counties from Los Angeles almost up to the Oregon border The coastal Democrats treat rural California, the Central Valley, and the Inland Empire as their Flyover Country full of deplorables, except in election years. They vote! An interesting sidelight of the primary is that Los Angeles County deleted 118,000 voters because of a printer’s error. The Fonz was one of the missing voters. One outcome in November will be an increasing number of Asian American and Hispanic American elected officials.

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