There is no sign of a youth surge in any state. This is bad news for Bernie Sanders two ways: it hurts his numbers in the primary, and it hurts his campaign to the extent he promises a General Election win based on voters who are still not showing up. Sanders is trailing most of his 2016 numbers, even if you add in all of Elizabeth Warren’s support, which isn’t realistic. His campaign’s attempt to catch flies with vinegar instead of honey seems to be backfiring.
We’ve had our first coronavirus-tinged result. Maine voters rejected an attempt by Antivaxers to reverse the state legislature’s restriction of vaccine exemptions to medical necessity, by almost three to one. Maine becomes the fifth state with this law; California was third; New Jersey narrowly failed to enact, but before the latest epidemic arrived.
The Far-Left wing of the Democratic Party is doing poorly. Nancy Pelosi’s opponent from the left, one Shahid Buttar, lost in the primary 72–12. Even 12 was better than any of the Republicans running, so under the Top Two primary rules, he gets another shot in November. Good luck. More on Pelosi below.
Meanwhile, in CA–25 there were two elections: the regular primary for November and the special election to finish Katie Hill’s term. The list of major candidates was identical. In both, State Assemblywoman Democrat Christy Smith is ahead, and newcomer Republican Mike Garcia is second. The special election runoff may tell us something, because the Republicans totaled together are more than Smith plus Far-Left Democrat and TV personality Cenk Uygur, whose vanity campaign crashed at 5%. Republican Steve Knight, who lost to Hill, was third and is eliminated. As for Hill herself, she’s founded a new, probably unnecessary, PAC to elect women, which is run out of the WeWork office at University and Shattuck.
Disaster: Republicans took the top two slots to replace Smith herself in Assembly District 38, guaranteeing a Blue-to-Red flip. The two Republicans are splitting about 55% of the vote, while four Democrats are splitting 45% with the best at about 12, distant third. We can prevent shutouts by going back to partisan primaries, or by adopting ranked-choice voting as used in our City Council races, or, less technically, by getting some of these candidates to put society’s needs over their own oversized egos’.
Pelosi, Part Two: The Left’s bad results were not limited to ephemera like Buttar and Uyghur. In TX-28, wretched conservative Democrat Henry Cuellar defeated liberal Jessica Cisneros. We donated to Cisneros, who was endorsed by both Sanders and Warren. Cuellar was endorsed by Pelosi and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Sanders isn’t all wrong in his attacks on Democratic leadership. They prefer suffering the occasional betrayal by Blue Dogs like Cuellar, especially when they hope to control him with offers of endorsement or committee assignments, to more challenges from the Left. I hope we don’t regret Pelosi’s choice here as much as Senate Democrats’ truly-calamitous decision to stick with Joe Lieberman after he lost his Democratic primary, which good deed he repaid by constant warfare against Obama.
Other California results: Josh Harder finished first, but well under half the vote. We need to see the usual increase in Democratic turnout between the primary and general. Ammar Campa-Najjar finished first, and he needs a similar turnout bump. TJ Cox, on the other hand, had a dismal primary, finishing behind the man he defeated in 2018, David Valadao, by 60–31. That should shrink as mail ballots come in, but not enough to make it look close. Besides poor turnout, Cox has had an issue with the IRS. He looks like he needs major help.
And on another election, Bibi Netanyahu looks stuck on 58 seats. He needs 61 to form a government. So far he has used both bribery and extortion to induce opposition members to defect. A lesson for us: notwithstanding Bibi’s aggressive, inciteful past campaigns, the center-mush opposition parties were completely unprepared for his viciousness. “No one could know he would do that” rings hollow and true at the same time. Bibi opened a phony investigation into his principal opponent Benny Gantz’s entanglement with a bankrupt enterprise (see: Burisma) to balance his own well-founded corruption indictments; he sent a rabbi with a secret recorder to talk to Gantz’s lead campaign aide, and got admissions that Gantz might not be strong enough to defend Israel from Iran, which were then leaked to mass media. (I don’t know how Trump plans to imitate that particular coup.) If we want to win, we have to prepare for every imaginable cheat, and the unimaginable, too.