Patterico's Pontifications

5/27/2018

California Could Save the House for Republicans

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

Thanks to the state’s goofed-up primarily system:

After months of optimism that the state’s June 5 primary would position them to pick off seven Republican-held districts in November — a substantial down payment on reclaiming the House — Democrats are now trying to ensure that they do not hurt themselves because of their unusually crowded slates of candidates.

With so many Democrats running, the party’s fear is that the vote will be splintered, allowing Republicans — who have fewer candidates — to dominate some primaries. The party and allied groups are spending more than $4 million on just three campaigns, intervening in one contest to prop up a favored candidate; attacking a Republican from the right in another; and even reminding people not to waste their votes on “ghost candidates” who have dropped out yet remain on the ballot.

As any progressive activist will explain through gnashed teeth, the head-snapping scramble is because of the state’s “top two” open primary system, which allows the two leading vote-getters — regardless of political parties — to advance to the general election.

My sober political analysis:

Lolololololol

64 Responses to “California Could Save the House for Republicans”

  1. “As any progressive activist will explain through gnashed teeth, the head-snapping scramble is because of the state’s “top two” open primary system, which allows the two leading vote-getters — regardless of political parties — to advance to the general election.”

    I frankly find it hard to understand how that system is not Constitutionally infirm. A political party should be entitled to field its own candidate in the general election. Why should the state decide that two Democrats get to run and no Republican (or vice-versa)? Has anyone challenged this yet?

    Bored Lawyer (0e273f)

  2. 1. The “constitutional infirmity,” if there is indeed any, can only be found in the California state constitution. Written by and for progressives. The federal constitution says nothing about political parties, and indeed George Washington and several of his peers warned against their formation. Not like it really matters now anyway; Republicans aren’t your friend either. If you look to politicians for salvation from what politicians broke, you’ll end up disappointed every single time.

    Gryph (08c844)

  3. It would be rich indeed were this to happen. But I have no sense at all for the practical realities of California politics. To our host and other Californians, or ex-Californians, or the simply better informed about California than I am: How likely do you think Republicans are to actually win any of these districts?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  4. “I frankly find it hard to understand how that system is not Constitutionally infirm.”

    CA is constitutionally infirm so it all works out.

    harkin (e4ec42)

  5. @ Bored Lawyer (#1): Certainly individual candidates have constitutional rights that may be infringed by state electoral actions, as George W. Bush reestablished quite significantly in Bush v. Gore. But in general the Constitution no more purports to recognize or regulate or deal with political parties than it does abortion or gay marriage (these supposed constitutional rights being sneezes of the supposed living, breathing Constitution whose existence I don’t recognize).

    I’m hard pressed to see how being, for instance, a Republican in a congressional district in which the state has set up a general election between two Democrats gives rise to any constitutional claims on the part of the Republican, provided that he’s had equal protection and the process due him under state law regarding the primaries, however cleverly or stupidly they’re set up. Other than “it’s always been this way,” going back to the divides in George Washington’s cabinet and the first Congress, I’m not sure how that argument even plays out. What do you have in mind, I ask? (This is a sincere question asked in good faith, not rhetorical or sarcastic in the least, for although you may be Bored your comments on legal topics are quite acute, and I’m genuinely curious.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  6. and then there’s this account of geriatric steroid-slut Arnold Schwarzennegger’s latest hissy-fit

    “I pay no attention to what he says. He cannot be taken seriously,” Schwarzenegger said at the R20 Austrian World Summit, an annual climate conference he hosts in his home country. “He’s the worst Environmental secretary that we have ever had.”

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  7. A Republican might survive the primary but would s/he have any chance in the general election against any Democrat?

    It sounds like the Democrats are upset the primary won’t make it a sure thing that a Democrat will be elected, which would be the case if only Democrats won the primary. But even if a Republican survives, won’t a Democrat still be favored to win?

    DRJ (15874d)

  8. It’s my guess the jungle primary favors the majority party, in CA the Dems. You run two pretty popular guys, like Villar and Newsom, and a Dem governor is almost inevitable. (It’s only a problem for the NYT when the other party uses it too for its own advantage!)

    I’m not a lawyer, but if a party can sue to change the election system because of supposed systematic suppression of minority voting power under the voting rights laws, why couldn’t Republicans also sue? Maybe Kevin Shenkman is available, after he’s done redistricting all the CA cities. Just a thought.

    And yes, DRJ, a Repub could win, if he or she ran an all out campaign. Neel Kashkari, the Rep placeholder in 2014, got 30-40% of the vote without mounting a campaign. After bearing this indignity, he was rewarded with a position of the Federal Reserve Board in MN, I believe. But the Repubs can barely rouse themselves to run at all, so I’m not holding out any hope for November. The growing anger over “homeless” attacks, immigration, etc., might help.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  9. Of course, having people vote is necessary. A lot of people have just given up. I don’t understand people who don’t vote but spend a lot of energy running their mouths about how awful the system is, but there you go.

    It’s easier to complain and defame than to do anything, I guess.

    Simon Jester (491cd3)

  10. The system is designed to be a one party state, if there is a upset: ie. brexit, that is the error.

    narciso (364166)

  11. everyone should vote cause it’s important to stand against the tyranny and the oppress

    vote like a pouncing tiger!

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  12. Beldar/3 — i think it is districts such as those of Ed Royce and Duncan D Hunter, that are otherwise strong C, but dems thought they could challenge one on one in November. Now at best these might be Dewhurst-Cruz type showdowns. I do wonder if a dam voter in such a district simply tunes out, votes Newsom and blanks the congressional slot, or votes Newsom and the mod R.

    urbanleftbehind (be744c)

  13. Cox can get this in June and November, he seems to be drawing from both Allen and Chiangs totals as it gets get closer. Newsom is far short of being hurt by a Raza ratflip maneuver (e.g. Nortes otherwise for Newsom going to Villar to get him and above Cox in Round 1, aphrael had this plan sort of). In the general Newsom should be very afraid of Eastins bloc to see if they stay home.

    urbanleftbehind (be744c)

  14. Error, Newsom doesn’t have enough votes to “lend”–such a move could even drop him to 3rd.

    urbanleftbehind (be744c)

  15. Bored Lawyer, this system was implemented as a state constitutional amendment with the passage of Proposition 14 in 2010, which passed with 54% of the vote. It was challenged in California courts and the challenge failed. I don’t know how one might attempt to challenge it as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

    JoeH (f94276)

  16. My thinking here is the issue of right of association. Republicans have the right to associate as a political party and nominate their candidate. Not have the State impose on them who their nominee is. (IMO, a forced open primary, which some states have, is unconstitutional. Some states allow anyone to cross-over and vote in the other party’s primary at will. Which is sometimes expolited for great mischief. Seems to me that a party has the right to say, only our members get to decide who our nominee is.)

    Now I suppose that what is happening here could be viewed as a two-tiered election — an open field, and then the top two candidates engage in a runoff. But what would stop the Republicans from getting together and agreeing that they are fielding only a single candidate (in one district for Congress, or for Senate)? Or holding a pre-primary primary to decide who their nominee is?

    Bored Lawyer (0e273f)

  17. A Republican might survive the primary but would s/he have any chance in the general election against any Democrat?

    Several of these districts are currently held by Republicans, so I presume that a Republican would have a chance in the general election.

    Chuck Bartowski (211c17)

  18. 3 — Beldar, in a normal primary they would likely lose all 3 districts. The reason there is hope is that in some of these districts the Dems have 6 or more candidates in the primary, while the GOP has only 2. With the “Jungle Primary”, where the top 2 vote getters square off in the general election in Nov., there is a chance that the Dems split their votes in so many slices that the only 2 GOP candidates, splitting a much smaller GOP electorate, end up as the top 2. That would shut the Dems out of the general in the fall.

    So the Dem national party is trying to pour money into just the top 2 candidates in each district, trying to make sure that 1 of them finishes in the top 2.

    The problem they have created for themselves is that with the domination of “identity politics” on the Dem side, each “group” that is part of their big tent wants to have a candidate in race. So the party failed to “cull the herd” early in the cycle, and all the constituencies are now too committed to back away.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  19. 19 — just to “name names” without actually using names, the State political apparatus is in the process of being taken over by the SoCal Hispanic caucus. For years the State party has been dominated by NorCal traditional liberals, joined by the Hollywood and SoCal coastal liberals.

    But the Hispaic caucus has been winning elections at the state and local level for 2 decades, and now has a very large number of office holders who have been on the “march” upwards for a while. And you combine that with term limits at the state level, and these long-time leaders of the Hispanic Caucus are now “marching” on the House seats — where there are no term limits.

    The 3 races being mentioned the most are all in north San Diego and south Orange County, long-time conservative strongholds. But the more conservative middle class has been leaving those communities, and the percentage of Latinos has increased greatly. You have a decent amount of liberals along the coastline in two of the districts, and that’s moving the districts more towards the Dems.

    Lets look at CA 39 — Ed Royce is retiring.
    There are still 6 Dems in the race, and 7 GOP. But the Dems are all “players”, whereas the GOP candidate include several “fringe” persons.

    Dems:
    Gil Cisneros — Navy veteran, and first time candidate. But he has a Hispanic name in a SoCal district with a large Hispanic population. Oh yeah — he won $226 million in a Lotto payout in 2010.

    Sam Jammal — Obama Admin. Commerce Dept. official. SoCal native, formerly worked for MALDEF, and was the Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Latino Voter Protection Task Force and worked on the Obama campaign. Getting DNC support.

    Dr. Herbert Lee — Chinese-American candidate, running on a straight-line ticket of all the Bernie Voter issues.

    Suzi Park Legget — Korean-American candidate. Looks sort of fringy. Not sure she has any support.

    Andy Thornburg — Pretty much your standard while liberal male — former high school teacher, teacher’s union official and organizer, social justice warrior. Seems to be the favored candidate of union groups.

    Dr. Mai Khanh Tran — another doctor, but she’s running almost exclusively on Obamacare protection. Another Asian — BUT, she’ll appeal on an identity basis to Southeast Asians rather than Chinese or Koreans.

    This District is 34% Hispanic and 28% Asian.

    The 3 Asian candidates are likely to keep most of that 28% away from the others, while none are likely to get in the top 2.
    Cisneros and Jammal are going to carve up the Hispanic vote, and Thornburg likely gets a solid 20-22% from liberal whites and union voters.

    Ed Royce won this District in 2016 with 57% of the vote, so there is a bit of a GOP cushion in the vote total. The GOP candidates are as follows:

    John Cullum — is an evangelical Chirstian, and that is the central plank of his campaign. He got 14% of the primary vote in a smaller primary in a nearby district in 2014, which has been held by Loretta Sanchez for many years.

    Bob Huff — formerly State Senate minority leader, but left that office to run for LA County Board of Supes, and lost. A veteran of elected office in the area since 1995 when he won his first City Council Race in Diamond Bar. Has won elections to State House 3x, and State Senate 2x. Clearly the top GOP candidate in the race.

    Young Kim — younger female Asian who served one term in State Assembly. Ran for same Assembly seat 3 times — all against same female Hispanic Dem. Won 1, lost 2 — all close. Will take some Asian votes away from Dem Asian candidates.

    Phil Liberatore — CPA and business owner. Finished 3rd in jungle primary in solid GOP district in 2012. Fits the profile of a “Tea Party” candidate/Freedom Caucus member. I’ve read that the Dems are working to boost his profile so he’ll drain away votes from the Top 2.

    Shawn Nelson — current member of Orange County Board of Supervisors. Basic white male conservative GOP candidate from Orange County. Has same constituency as Huff, so he’s the threat to split votes with him, but they could end up the Top 2 GOP finishers.

    Andrew Sarega — fringe candidate as currently an officer with Newport Beach PD, and has little to no actual support I can find.

    Steve Vargas — city council member in small city of Brea. Nothing of significance in his background. Not likely to get above 2-3%, but might cost the Dems some Hispanic votes.

    So, there are 2 “white male” conservatives, one Evangelical, one Tea Party, and a young conservative Asian female. The 2 “white male” conservatives have successful electoral histories and/or are currently hold significant office. They could both get between 15 and 20%.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  20. Thanks, Chuck.

    DRJ (15874d)

  21. Also, Patterico, I think you meant to say “primary” not “primarily” in the first sentence of the post.

    DRJ (15874d)

  22. 19 — Clarification — Thornburg likely gets 20-22% of DEM vote, but that’s not the way they count in the jungle primary. This is likely only about 10-12% of he overall vote.

    You could end up with 4 or 5 Dems each getting 8-12%, and 3 GOP candidates getting around 15%.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  23. Chuck,

    Are any of the Republican candidates aligned for or against Trump and that might split the GOP voters, or is that not an issue?

    DRJ (15874d)

  24. Are any of the Republican candidates aligned for or against Trump and that might split the GOP voters, or is that not an issue?

    I have no idea, DRJ. I haven’t lived in California in almost 20 years. My children live in the Sacramento area, but I don’t keep track of Congressional districts there.

    Chuck Bartowski (211c17)

  25. Trump recently endorsed Cox, who was a Gary Johnson vote in 2016; Trump did wait until Cox made a public mea culpa for that vote. Travis Allen is more traditional Orange County, bro/Cobra Kai Trump supporter, but alas didn’t get the endorsement.

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  26. so he’s more Daniel russo then,

    narciso (d1f714)

  27. No, more like the apologetic kid who swept Russo’s leg.

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  28. In the semifinal…

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  29. doesn’t William zabka look strange, (a friend got to go see the karate kid film, and I took some lessons,) the sensei was not like martin cove, the wooping crane, really isn’t practical,

    narciso (d1f714)

  30. Sounds to me as if “jungle primaries” are the first round of a general election, with the official general election being in reality a runoff round.

    Kishnevi (9dfc8c)

  31. jungle primaries is the most goddamn racist thing i ever heard my whole life

    ooga booga seriously california?

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  32. $5.00/gal., gasoline and single-use plastic grocery bags banned.

    “Meet the future…” – Butch Cassidy [Paul Newman] ‘Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid’ 1969

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  33. 32 — nope. Heard an interesting story a couple days ago from my brother-in-law who is a rig supervisor in the oil drilling business.

    Production levels of oil in Texas are back to where they were 3-4 years ago when oil started its long decline.

    But that level is being accomplished with only about 65% of the number of wells in production as was the case back then.

    You are also back a price levels where shale oil and fracking again become highly profitable.

    Getting all the rigs back in production, along with shale production restarted, has a bit of a time lag. But once those sources hit the supply lines, the price is going to tumble again.

    In addition, with the Iran deal now gone, the Saudi’s are going to get back on board with needing to keep oil prices low in order to starve Iran from its oil production revenues. IMO the Saudi’s are simply trying to time the market — they know prices will fall when US production is all back online, and they are simply delaying a bit to realize the revenues the best they can until they turn up their own production again.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  34. The Saudis are moving into fracking gas wells.

    DRJ (15874d)

  35. Sorry to bother you Chuck. I need to read better anyway. Clearly I missed the part where it said this is about “seven Republican-held districts.”

    DRJ (15874d)

  36. good good good

    that’s a powerful blow against the global warming hoax

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  37. the Saudi’s are going to get back on board with needing to keep oil prices low in order to starve Iran from its oil production revenues

    nono they want to ipo aramco in 2019

    they want the fascist merkel-led euro-pussies to honor the sanctions is what they want

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  38. back around 2006, there was that book by matthew simmons that speculated that the ghawar fields were running dry, the geological version of the da vinci code,

    narciso (d1f714)

  39. @33. It’s unleaded regular is going for $5.00/gallon, now, swc.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  40. This will make the NEVER-TRUMPERS very sad. My impression is they want the Democrats to win – so they can stop Trump’s “horrible” “authoritarian” “Demagogic” attempt to reform our immigration laws and make half-way decent trade deals.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  41. @40. When the blue wave washes ashore our Captain will change course accordingly. He’ll let the compass spin and ride w/t prevailing wind toward any winning star… to make America ‘grate’ again.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  42. I see David French has been in published by the New York Times. His “muh principles” has been recognized as worthy of notice.

    And benefiting the Left.

    Which doesn’t upset “Conservative” David French one bit. If David French’s Conservative “muh principles” led to a Liberal-Socialist government, well that’s OK with Him.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  43. @33. swc- if memory serves, you’re in Hawaii; any issues erupting for you w/volcanic activity on the big island or are you safely on one of the other rocks… saw a news story that the Arizona Memorial at PH is closed indefinitely until repairs are made to cracks appearing on the memorial visitor access ramp. Sucks for tourist who’d long planned a trip there.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. Last Post – going to enjoy Memorial Day.

    California is your future peeps – unless you stop immigration.

    Yeah, I know. Its DIFFERENT where you live. Where YOU Live, it’ll *never* change. Y’know just like slavery was going to last forever – in 1860. And the Republican party was going to rule forever – in 1928. And the Democrat FDR coalition was going to last forever – in 1964. And the Cold War was going to last forever – in 1984.

    Just keep living in dream land.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  45. Well its demography and indoctrination plus migration, which makes a toxic mix.

    narciso (d1f714)

  46. Wow that was the gong show of contenders.

    narciso (d1f714)

  47. Sorry to bother you Chuck.

    You are never a bother, DRJ. It’s always a pleasure to interact with you.

    Chuck Bartowski (211c17)

  48. Even if you are a never Trumper, you have to give the guy some credit for moxie. He won the primaries against Republicans, traditional party, press, etc. And then did same thing in the general election.

    Remember Obama saying at least he had been a President unlike Trump?

    P.s. Keep tweeting, Trump. Don’t back down. The media and the Swamp will try to cut your balls, but punch them in the face…until they whine (like the never Trumpers here).

    P.s.s. And I’m not even a Trump Republican…I prefer Palin or even more Rand/on Paul. But I LOOOOVE the don’t back down. Keep it up!!!!

    Anonymous (ea5569)

  49. There are nasser, Weinstein spacey types all over that ballot.

    narciso (d1f714)

  50. @33 Where is the 5-buck unleaded? Gas buddy has my county ranging $3.39 – 3.79. Maybe $5 at the Chevron at the bottom of a freeway off-ramp, somewhere, (we have no freeway) but not where the locals shop… Not that it makes any difference.

    Gramps (85597f)

  51. Bored Lawyer (16):

    “Republicans have the right to associate as a political party and nominate their candidate. Not have the State impose on them who their nominee is.”

    Yes,they have. What they don’t have a right to, however, is for the state to automatically put their nominee on the general election ballot just because he is their nominee. Nor do they have the right to pick their nominee in a primary election administered by the state.

    “what would stop the Republicans from getting together and agreeing that they are fielding only a single candidate (in one district for Congress, or for Senate)? Or holding a pre-primary primary to decide who their nominee is?”

    Absolutely nothing could stop them from doing these tings. Enforcing any such agreement is the problem.

    gwjd (62b1c4)

  52. “doing these things” — please excuse the typo.

    gwjd (62b1c4)

  53. Thanks for those who’ve offered further information and predictions, I appreciate your efforts.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  54. It would be rich indeed were this to happen. But I have no sense at all for the practical realities of California politics. To our host and other Californians, or ex-Californians, or the simply better informed about California than I am: How likely do you think Republicans are to actually win any of these districts?

    If the top two vote-getters are both Democrats, the party does not need to expend any resources in the district (absent a truly awful candidate). If one is a Republican, and especially if the highest Democrat vote-getter appeals to a small part of the electorate (eg., too progressive or too moderate, or whacky conspiracy theorist), the national party needs to expend money, volunteers, and talented staff to keep the district.

    California’s system is a gift to Democrats in the rest of the country. They start the general election with many seats already locked up, leaving them free to put staff and cash in purple and red states.

    bridget (9121d8)

  55. Like I say, its glitch with any right of center outcome:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/RushetteNY/status/1000979459049213952?p=v

    narciso (d1f714)

  56. #7

    The way I read it, the chaos might result in two Rs running for the seat. Seems wrong, maybe I misread.

    Estarcatus (10fa1e)

  57. Andrew Sarega has not been a police officer for more than two years.

    Paul Martin (52ff12)

  58. Liberal governments still trying to pick winners and losers.

    More tensions? The EU plans to shift more than €30B in funding away from central and eastern Europe, slashing Poland and Hungary’s share of “cohesion spending” while boosting support for Greece, Italy and Spain. The proposed reforms, set to be unveiled today in the bloc’s budget for 2021-2027, are said to reflect the “evolution of disparities” in Europe since the financial crisis.

    felipe (023cc9)

  59. 58.

    I once went to an EU specialty science conference. Part of the rules were that they had to do the conference in a part of the EU that was impoverished or undernourished or whatever the term was (disadvantaged?) One year was a Greek island. One year was a remote Irish castle. Etc. Great conferences too. Idea was to be sort of a Gordon Conference but it was really much more collegial and boozey than a Gordon Conference. Basically, they were doing what Gordon was meant to do.

    Anonymous (1aa96e)

  60. Bored Lawyer, at 1:

    California used to have a system in which all candidates from all parties appeared on a single ballot, and the top candidate from each party went to the general election. The Supreme Court ruled that this violated freedom of association.

    We now have a system in which all candidates from all parties appear on a single ballot in the primary, and then the top two candidates, regardless of party, appear in the fall *without a partisan label designation on the ballot*. There’s no freedom of association issue, and as far as I know no constitutional issue at all — we’re just having a general election in June and a runoff in November instead of a general election in November and a runoff in December.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  61. DRJ, urbanleftbehind has it right @25. Allen is trying to portray himself as being in the Trump mode, but Trump endorsed Cox.

    My current expectation is Cox comes in second and gets creamed in November, because all Newsom really needs to do is run campaign ads of Cox’s open admission (in the debate) that he thinks it was a mistake to vote against Trump in 2016 and that Trump is doing a good job.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  62. Beldar, at 3: it depends. There are a handful of Republican congressional seats in the state. Some of them are in traditionally Republican, or Republican-registration-lead, areas. Some incumbents (Nunes, McCarthy) are probably safe. Others (Walters, Rohrbacher) are in trouble.

    But if two Republicans somehow make it to the general election because the Democrats split the primary vote sixteen ways, then a Republican will win by definition.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  63. Patricia, at 8:

    > I’m not a lawyer, but if a party can sue to change the election system because of supposed systematic suppression of minority voting power under the voting rights laws, why couldn’t Republicans also sue?

    They did in the 90s and forced us to abandon our old system. There isn’t much of a case on this one, though. Although I suppose that if the gerrymandering case comes out with a reasonable standard against political gerrymandering, this is a logical doctrinal extension in ~30 years or so.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  64. Shipwreckedcrew at 18: also, don’t underestimate the importance of the angry Bernie crowd who, because they think that Hillary used the party apparatus to steal the election from Bernie, believe that *any* interference by the state or federal parties, any attempt by them to control or influence the outcome of primaries, is tantamount to stealing elections and fundamentally evil. These guys are a real problem right now, and it may be that they need to watch their antics cause top-two Republican elections *for a couple of election cycles* before they get the message.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

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