No, this doesn’t have anything to do with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. If it were, the headline would be something like “On Election Day, Be VERY Glad If You’re Living On a Deserted Island With No Chance of Rescue.”
I just received my vote-by-mail ballot and I was reminded of the political and electoral cesspool that is California: the two choices that I have for Senator are a Democrat and a Democrat. In California, Republican statewide candidates need not apply.
This will be the first time this has happened since state voters began directly electing Senators, one hundred and two years ago.
This particular bit of genius goes back to 2010, when California voters decided by a 54-46 margin to approve Proposition 14. At the time, it was officially titled the “Top Two Primaries Act.” Now, of course, it can be titled “Top Way to Make Sure Leftists Run Everything Act.”
Beginning with the election in 2012, all U.S. Congressional races and all state Assembly/Senate races are subject to an open primary race, with the top two vote getters appearing on the general election ballot. There is no independent or political-party nomination process and write-in candidates are only allowed in the general if they happened to be one of the top two in the primary.
The public argument was that such a process would encourage voters to select more moderate candidates. My instinct, although I’ve no way to independently verify this, of course, is that the private argument between the statists who wanted this was something along the lines of “This is how we can stack in our favor as many decks as possible.”
The official summary of the proposition, “Encourages increased participation in elections for congressional, legislative, and statewide offices by reforming the procedure by which candidates are selected in primary elections. Gives voters increased options in the primary by allowing all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference. Provides that candidates may choose not to have a political party preference indicated on the primary ballot,” has enough blatant nonsense that even a Cal Berkeley Poli Sci major could read its tealeaves.
Fast forward to 2016 and the
dishonorable Barbara Boxer is retiring. The tiny (4’ 11”) Boxer, after holding office for 23 years, is leaving the Senate having contributed nothing of note during her entire tenure, other than drawing solid reviews from ProChoice America and a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood. Her position summaries from OnTheIssues.org read like a grab bag wish list from the wettest of radical leftist dreams. On the other hand, she received a VERY solid F from the NRA and a Liberty Score of F-4% from Conservative Review (beaten only by my other Senator, Dianne Feinstein who received an F-0%).
The two top vote-getters in the primary were Kamala Harris (Radical Leftist D) and Loretta Sanchez (Radical Leftist D). The Republican candidate was an extremely distant third. Considering the “lesser of two evils” discussions that are occurring amongst conservatives over Donald Trump’s candidacy, they are nothing like trying to decide between Harris and Sanchez. They’re both awful disasters.
Harris has been California’s Attorney General for 5 ½ years and received more than twice as many votes as did the runner up, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Having received emphatic endorsements from Feinstein and Boxer (as well as the pro-choice Emily’s List), she is the strong favorite.
Sanchez is trying a very unique approach to win voters as the underdog: She is positioning herself as a centrist reach-across-the-aisle moderate. I’ve heard ads on radio that have two Republicans discussing their seeming Scylla and Charybdis options, when a helpful friend points out how much more “sensible” she is than the hard-left ideologically driven Harris. To my thinking, that’s like preferring death by a 9mm caliber bullet to a .45 caliber one because the former is much cuter.
On the other hand, one could say that the ad actually makes a decent point: Conservative Review gives her an F-23% (compared to Nancy Pelosi’s F-11%). Mathematicians will point out that an F-23% is better than Feinstein’s F-0% or Boxer’s F-4%. As much as that might be true, for guys like me, anything below a B-minus is unacceptable and anything below a C-minus is positively nausea inducing.
I remember Sanchez’s victory, when back in 1996 she barely gained 1,000 votes more than long-time Rush Limbaugh’s substitute host Bob Dornan. It occurred right in my backyard, here in Orange County’s city of Santa Ana. At the time there were LOTS of discussions about voting hanky-panky.
A decade or so later, when my contracting company was doing work in an upscale neighborhood in the city, one homeowner told me that the house next door was owned by none other than Loretta Sanchez. I asked her what kind of neighbor she was. Her response: “She’s great. The house is always kept in perfect order, although I don’t believe anyone has ever spent a night there in the last ten years.” Ever since then, I have not been a fan, regardless of her “coalition building” rebranding efforts.
Of course, that the two top vote getters for California’s open seat are Democrats is a function of the reality that Republicans are rare within the state and that actual conservatives are almost permanently extinct. The new voting system doesn’t have anything to do with that. Even so, I’d prefer to have the opportunity to cast a losing vote in a general election than not be able to vote at all.