What Democrats can they learn from
Tuesday’s California primary?

what-democrats-can-they-learn-frombrtuesdays-california-primary

The state with the highest population within the United States has its primary elections on July
7, and might provide hints of how Democrats are planning to take their party and if Republicans
will be able to navigate an easy path to retake their place in the House of Representatives.

To date, turnout has been very low at just 10% of California voters who were given an absentee
ballot this year have cast a vote. The enthusiasm of voters could have huge consequences for
the outcome in an area where Democrats surpass Republicans almost two-to-one and where
the vast majority of state-wide races are decided by an open primary that favors those who have
the highest number of votes. For Republicans losing, it could mean being excluded from
elections in November.

The results could have echoes beyond California A bid to remove District Attorney John
Sullivan, who is progressive in San Francisco could spur similar initiatives elsewhere. A few safe
Democratic seats could have progressive and moderate Democrats competing against one
another. Also, in the fierce congressional races in Central Valley, Los Angeles, and Orange
County, victories for the most important GOP candidates could in the long run. Deliver
Republican’s majority control over the House.

To get more information about the whole thing -and which races to be watching I spoke with Dan
Walters, a longtime Golden State reporter, and author who contributes a column to CalMatters
on Friday. The below conversation has been edited to make it clearer.

Christian Paz

Let’s begin by talking about the main problems that are affecting California at the moment. Are
we still experiencing the coronavirus epidemic? Are you experiencing inflation? Are you experiencing homelessness?

Dan Walters

Homelessness is a constant issue and always an element of the political climate in California.

The issue of inflation isn’t one that the government of the state, or even local authorities, is able
to take action on. One of the most obvious signs of inflation is the rising gas prices. The latest
developments regarding that are the legislature and the governor are arguing about a plan that
would basically provide money to Californians — with the notion that it will cover the cost of
inflation and, if not more it’s a sign that they are feeling their discomfort, as it were and yet they
are unable to take action to address the root of the causes of inflation.

The issue of crime is another one: It’s within the hands of the politicians of California. In the past
10 years or so, California has loosened up on sentencing for criminals through several ballot
measures as well as several laws passed in the legislative session. Penalties have decreased.
Criminal offenses that were felonies are now classified as misdemeanors. In addition, there’s
been an organized effort to decrease the number of prisoners in prison — and it’s happening to
redirect more offenders into any kind of rehabilitation or treatment programs instead of pursuing
punishment.

This has been taking place at the state level and has been carried locally, in the district
attorneys who saw themselves as reformers that want to adopt the notion of not having to put so
many people in jail as possible, and it’s working to a certain degree.

Christian Paz

This is what is the effort to recall that is taking place in San Francisco and Los Angeles is all
about?

Dan Walters

It’s true, that Chesa Boudin, the district attorney for San Francisco, faces a recall on the
upcoming Tuesday. It has a high chance of being passed. It’s in San Francisco, probably the
most advanced city in America. But crime is really affecting San Francisco, and a huge number
of robberies involving smash-and-grab at stores, cars are being broken into, as well as open
drug usage, etc. So Mr. Boudin is suffering from this.

There’s another recall in the works for George Gascon, who used to be the district attorney for
San Francisco, but he’s now the district attorney for Los Angeles. This recall is going to be on
the ballot in later the year. It’s the same argument that crime is widespread and the district
attorneys haven’t done much to stop it consequently, they should be removed.

It also contributes to the prospect of a contest as attorney general for California since the
current attorney general, who was appointed and not elected by Rob Bonta, a former
assemblyman, has a connection to those who support the reform of criminal justice that is a part
of the district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles. This means he’s facing the same
sort of pressure. There will be someone who emerges from the primary as his opponent will be
his opponent in November. Nobody is sure who that person is. However, it’s really a repeat of
the arguments and conflicts between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

If there’s a general trend to this year’s election in California It’s likely to be the issue of crime.

Christian Paz

Let’s take a look at some of these races. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is running for his
second term; he recently defeated an attempt to recall him last year. Alex Padilla is running to
end his term as a senator appointed by the president replacing the vice president Kamala Harris
and a full six-year term as senator. What is something we can consider?

Dan Walters

If there’s something out there that’s a bit flimsy or suggests the possibility of sea shift, it’s most
likely to be located during the congressional race in California.

Democrats have reduced Republicans in half, from 14 seats to just seven, and Republicans
recouped a little bit in the past two years. Since then the districts have all been redrawn as a
result of redistricting. This change is also a good thing because it has created a lot of
congressional races that are competitive. This is due to Republicans scrambling to keep the
seats they’ve won, or the seats they won two years ago, such as the one in Orange County.
There’s a good 50-50 chance to lose one or two seats in California.

This is important because Republicans are seeking to win back majority control over the House
which means it’s likely that the issue will be a matter of two congress races that are in California
and is also known to be the home of the speaker of House, Nancy Pelosi, and minority leader
Kevin McCarthy. In a twist of fate, the outcome of these congressional elections in California will
decide who will be likely to become the new speaker in Congress at the next Congress.

Christian Paz

Another question to consider is what happens during the race for state comptroller, isn’t it?

Dan Walters

There’s a good chance that Republican Lanhee Chen will be elected, but it’s not an ideal
possibility due to the vast disparity in the number of registered voters in California. Republicans
have only a quarter to less than a quarter of voters registered. They are also a minority.
Democrats make up nearly half. Therefore, it’s something unusual to allow to be a Republican to
prevail in any statewide race, not including the controller however, I’d think he’s the only
candidate with a high chance of being the Republican who could win. There’s no guarantee
however it’s an opportunity.

Christian Paz

It is no secret that the Los Angeles primaries include a race that has drawn the attention of the
nation to my home town The race to become the mayor. If no candidate wins an absolute
majority of the vote, then it will go to a runoff. This could be surprising. A recent poll found Rep.
Karen Bass, who was thought to be the frontrunner, in a neck-and-neck against billionaire
businessman Rick Caruso a more recent poll that we discussed indicated that the race was
becoming tenser and tightening. What is the state of the race in the first few days?

Dan Walters

It’s a toss-up, and there are other candidates who are on the ballot and it’s not certain that one
candidate is likely to win 50 percent or more. If there’s a problem in the race, then again the
issue is a crime. Homelessness and crime are the two main issues that drive this race.

Another thing to keep in mind, as well within Los Angeles and in the overall state The key to all
of this is voter participation. The turnout of the elections held within Los Angeles is historically
extremely low. There was a time when they held elections in Los Angeles all by themselves
during off-years. They have now switched to holding their elections in even-numbered years,
which is expected to boost turnout slightly, which could benefit the Democrats since they
typically are more successful with greater participation.

But, the overall participation in California could be the lowest it’s ever been this year in light of
the amount of mail-in ballots received against those in the past.

The most significant thing that will happen this November is likely to be a plethora of
high-octane election initiatives, which could make history for expenditure on ballot measure
campaigns (voter Referenda). Over a billion dollars, almost certainly.

Christian Paz

Another race I’m monitoring includes one of the Los Angeles County primaries for sheriff. Sheriff
Alex Villanueva appears to move a little towards the right and has been in conflict with certain
members in those of the Democratic established within Southern California.

Dan Walters

It’s a fascinating situation since He was able to count on the support of all Democratic leaders at
the time he ran for office at the time, and they’re now not a fan of the way they view him.
However, there’s not much of a campaign organized to discredit him, which means it’s likely that
he’ll be able to succeed. There are some hottest local contests for district attorneys and sheriffs
in other counties. One of them is located within Sacramento County. The sheriff in Sacramento
County isn’t seeking reelection, but he’s campaigning for Congress. So you’re in for an
extremely spirited race for the position of sheriff in Sacramento County, and there’s an equally
spirited fight for the position of district attorney position in Sacramento County because the
incumbent district attorney is seeking to unseat Rob Bonta for state attorney general.

Christian Paz

Are there any particular primary elections in the state legislature that you’re watching right now
that could be indicative of broader political shifts?

Dan Walters

On the legislative side, There aren’t any Democrat or Republican fights in the near future. All of
the major fights are Democrats against Democrats or progressive Democrats and moderate
Democrats for which group will be in control of that state’s legislature. The big money-making
groups are playing all across the board.

Business groups are pumping cash into moderate Democrats as well as the labor unions as well
as progressive groups are pumping funds and support to the progressive Democrats. There are
about 12 races that are worth watching. The primary is just setting the stage for November and
in races in which the top two candidates coming out, are all Democrats There is an opportunity
for more moderate and more progressive battles.

Christian Paz

We might also get a glimpse of the way California Democrats think about the direction they’d
like to move their party. What else is your focus on Tuesday night?

Dan Walters

Recall of the district attorney from San Francisco and how the election goes for the Mayor in
Los Angeles are two things I’m watching. The rest is all stage-setting for November.