Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Voting advice sought

My ballot for the June 5 California primary has arrived. No applause here. I am not excited about my choices in the statewide offices, to say the least.

Gavin Newsom seems to have an insurmountable lead in the race to replace termed out Gov. Jerry Brown. Gavin was a lousy mayor of San Francisco: all symbolic theater, no progressive policy or governing competence. (In this, the opposite of the retiring Brown.) Oh yeah, he was also a big player of our favorite game of Hate the Homeless. I guess he's good looking, if you like tall straight blondes who wear expensive suits. He's led all the polls, mostly by substantial margins.

In the crazy top-two open primary system we've afflicted the state with, the only question in June is who wins a chance to spend millions of dollars running against Gavin in the November election. The two candidates who get the most votes in June get to play out the string. Party affiliation doesn't matter. If the top-two are both Democrats, that's who gets to advance.

The most likely Democrat to come in second would be Antonio Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles. When he was coming up in politics, he seemed a plausible guy to give California its first modern Latinx governor. People of various Latin ancestries are the largest ethnic group of California. It's time. But Villaraigosa's career has taken a sad political trajectory. In pursuit of the big time, he's made himself the conservative alternative. The cops and the charter school entrepreneurs are his big funders and supporters. These are not people I want a governor listening to. Apparently he hopes he can put together conservative Dems and GOPers who have no choice from their own party to make a run at Gavin in the fall.

California being California, where Trump is an abomination and the Republican Party close to vestigial, Newsom would much prefer to run in the fall against a Republican than against Villaraigosa, even though he likely defeats either opponent. So he's running attack ads now highlighting Republican John Cox's endorsement from Trump and the NRA -- he's trying to raise the guy's profile among Republicans and lift him above Villaraigosa. For Gavin's purposes, running against a weak Republican would be a gift.

The thing is -- in the fall, having two Democrats running against each other for Governor (and two Democrats running for Senator as well, a near certainty) would help create an environment that will be all the better for flipping many of the 14 California Congressional seats held currently held by Republicans. With no candidates at the top of the ticket, we can hope that many GOPers just will stay home, while Democratic enthusiasm for capturing Congress still is running sky-high.

This background leads to my voting advice query: is this the year for tactical voting?

Since Gavin is sure to get the most votes in June (and almost certainly in November), should I vote for Antonio Villaraigosa even though I loath the idea of electing him, because this might help the more significant project of winning a Democratic Congress?

Or should I vote for the best of the also-rans running for Governor, candidates who can't possibly break through like Delaine Eastin?

Comments welcome and urged!


Rain Trueax said...

I read that 1 million more people are leaving California than moving there (hope they aren't heading for Arizona or Oregon lol). If I was in California though, I think I'd be among them. Being more conservative than liberal these days (I still consider myself a moderate), I think I'd head for Montana as a destination (tempting to me anyway and Missoula and Bozeman are pretty liberal cities).

In '16, though I did vote for Hillary, I was tempted not to vote. I'd have the same problem if I was in CA right now; so I sympathize with your choices. It'll be interesting to see if West Virginians buy into the racism of Blankenship and throw that election for sure to Manchin. Sounds like it could end up another Alabama. I find it hard to believe any state would support a Blankenship but many did Moore and I didn't understand that either.

JT&CT said...

Good question. I'm going to say, Do the Right Thing. I'm more attracted to John Chiang and Delaine Eastin. There's little question in my mind that CA's future lies in reigniting our education system. It's going to take Jerry Brown level intelligence and a lot of cooperation with Washington to get us back to a good place. I'm not sure Newsom has a clue; Villaraigosa probably does and may have a shot at Newsom in the General. If he does though, it will be by doing what you're saying. Coalescing the vote of folks who are nervous about Newsom is a good strategy. That makes me very nervous.

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