The crazy in this year's election has everything to do with Barack Obama's presidency. There is some fraction of the electorate that can't get its gut around the fact that for eight years, the president has been a Black man. (A lot of the same ones are probably equally allergic to the idea of a girl president.) And so, Trump.
David Axelrod, Obama's chief political operative, called this out in January.
Whenever I get worried that the GOPer's campaign of “ambient viciousness” will overwhelm us all, I drop in at Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium and look at Obama's approval rating at the top of the page. Today he's running at plus 3% -- the best in months. Looking good for November.
And so, finally, this Democratic primary will end today. Bernie has given us a vision of a social democratic future. If we have a decent future, I'm sure it will be a social democratic one; nothing else will work in a time of greed, increasing longevity, and robotics. But the Bern could not, yet, overcome the country's racial divides. Race matters in this country and there is no decent future that does not dismantle structural white supremacy. The rest of the country has not noticed yet, but this has begun to happen in California. Though still deeply troubled, we are a different sort of racial cauldron than in the 1990s when the white electorate hoped it could simply vote away the Black and brown.
I should hesitate to generalize from anecdotes, but I am guessing Hillary Clinton will win in California by a larger margin than expected. Two long time Bernie supporters have confided to me that in view of the "Trump national emergency" they've jumped to Hillary. I could easily be wrong. In any case, she'll clinch tonight.
More and more, I think smart progressives should understand the "Trump national emergency" as a chance to chip away at the state and local levels where Republicans have been winning.
In California, gaining Congressional seats will depend on whether Democrats make it through our asinine, undemocratic (small "d") "top two" primary system. Results to watch include CA-24, an open seat around Santa Barbara where Democrat Lois Capps is retiring and where split Democratic votes might put two Republicans in the November race, locking out the Donkey Party. Likewise CA-21 where a Republican holds a Democratic leaning seat in the Central Valley. In the year of the Trump, if a Dem gets into the final, that seat could be a pick up. Otherwise, California Congressional seats are probably about defending the status quo for both parties.
The nearest Senate contest to California likely to matter in November is in Nevada where Harry Reid is retiring. This one is the only plausible pick up opportunity for the Koch-party, so watch the money fly and hope former Dem Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto can win it.
Meanwhile, today's primary seems to have brought people into the electorate, all to the good here in California. The LA Times reports that California has seen 650,000 new voter registrations for the primary, 74% of them Democrats. That's more than some states have voters! We're big.