How many times have you heard someone say, "I don't know who I like in this election, but I sure know who I don't like"?
Negative emotions are a powerful driving force in politics. That is why so many ads, from campaigns as well as special interest groups, try to tear down the perception of opposing candidates.
When campaign season rolls around, you can count on your favorite TV show being saturated with ads featuring grainy black and white photos, ominous music and gravelly voiced announcers intoning:
"Why did [fill in the blank] betray the voters and make sure his/her cronies got rich? Phone his/her office now and demand an answer."
Of course, they don't want you to call the office, they just don't want you to vote for the candidate named.Read More
Updated on August 15 to include a response from the Bernie Sanders campaign.
What was once an obscure, weedsy legal battle over labor classification in California is now well on its way to becoming a capital-I Issue on the presidential campaign trail.
This morning, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee supporting a California bill that would make it harder for companies to classify workers as "independent contractors." In the process, she not only waded into what has largely been a California-specific debate, but provided yet another way to distinguish herself from the many other Democrats in what remains a very crowded field hoping to unseat President Donald Trump.
"All Democrats need to stand up and say, without hedging, that we support AB 5 and back full employee status for gig workers," she said.
Warren's very public declaration comes a few months after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders penned a similar op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, in which he called for national legislation to "bar these employers (like Lyft and Uber) from continuing to misclassify their employees."Read More
More than any other presidential candidate, Kamala Harris’ biography is singularly Californian.
Born and bussed to school in Berkeley, tested by San Francisco’s cut-throat municipal politics and propelled onto the national stage as the state’s top law enforcement officer and then its first female senator of color, Harris’ approach to politics and policymaking were honed here.
What most Americans are still just beginning to learn about California’s junior senator—the particulars of her political pedigree, her record on criminal justice, her reputation as (depending on your point of view) a pragmatic or an over-cautious political figure—we’ve seen it here for decades.
Here are eight ways that California shaped Kamala Harris and that Harris has shaped California.
In a state full of transplants, Harris is a lifelong Californian.Read More
For more than 20 years, political observers have pointed to California’s Proposition 187 campaign as the seminal moment in Latino political consciousness--a year in history when Latinos across generational, educational, economic and national divides united in a singular voice against a threat to the community.
Latinos have experienced a similar event nationally—The El Paso Moment—when a deranged racist, whose rhetoric at times matched the President of the United States, gunned down 22 people and injured dozens more.
Resentment and racism toward Latinos has been simmering in the underbelly of American society for a long time. But in the past few years, this dark force has risen to the surface, even as many denied it was happening.
The El Paso Moment will mark the day in our history when people could no longer pretend there wasn’t an explosion of violent actions and attitudes towards the fastest growing segment of our nation’s population.
Latinos were targeted for slaughter and the President’s words and deeds fomented the event and--as more and more Republican officials are acknowledging--the GOP has been complicit by its silence.Read More
Give Gavin Newsom credit on this one. Signing a bill that would require Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns to qualify for next year’s California primary ballot was a savvy political maneuver for our governor.
Not only does it reinforce his pre-eminence as the state’s preeminent Resistor-in-Chief, his decision unites his party behind him at a time when he is preparing to take on difficult policy challenges that are likely to divide it.
California Democrats may not agree on housing or education or tax policy, but they are fully united in their animosity toward Trump. Newsom is smart enough to realize that any criticism he takes from his own party on these and other issues will be muffled by the unanimity of support he will receive from taking potshots at the president. So kudos to a politically adroit governor for a shrewd political stratagem.
But the practical impact of Newsom’s maneuver is negligible and the potential downside is considerable.
The question of whether a state can impose additional requirements on a presidential candidate beyond those specifically outlined in the U.S. Constitution is an unsettled one. Legal experts are lining up on both sides of the argument with a level of ferocity that suggests a drawn-out court battle.Read More
Interested in helping to redraw California’s electoral map—dicing up the state into legislative and congressional districts and shaping the next decade of Golden State politics?
You now have another week and change to get that application in.
State Auditor Elaine Howle, charged with staffing California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, announced today that her office would be extending the application period from August 9 to August 19.
All regular voters without a history of state government employment, lobbying or big campaign spending are encouraged to apply.
Particularly if you aren’t a white guy.Read More
Gov. Gavin Newsom set off a blizzard of criticism last week by signing a law requiring that all presidential and gubernatorial candidates provide five years’ of income tax returns in order to appear on California’s primary ballot.
Most of the pearl-clutching has plopped into the following three baskets:
I’m neither a constitutional lawyer nor scholar–don’t even play one on TV–but I can read plain English, and as several real constitutional experts have opined, I see nothing whatsoever unconstitutional about this measure. The Constitution clearly gives states the power to determine how their presidential electors are chosen.
And there is urgency. Newsom was particularly justified because the United States is facing an unprecedented circumstance with arguably the most utterly corrupt president ever to sit in the White House.
California already establishes various kinds of requirements on candidates for public office such as filing fees, a certain number of verified voter signatures in lieu of fees, and most important and germane, so-called statements of economic interests.Read More
A new poll gives Sen. Kamala Harris a narrow lead among Democratic voters in her home state of California, but otherwise shows that the race is still up in the air.
That’s probably terrible news for Joe Biden.
And the poll is also bound to disappoint Pete Buttigieg. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, raised more money in California in the past quarter than any other Democratic contender, yet he lagged in fifth place among the state's likely Democratic voters.
The new survey from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that 19% of Democrats and left-leaning independents who are likely to vote say they would cast their ballot for Harris if the presidential primary were held today.
There's still seven months before they could actually cast those ballots, but the state's March 3 primary is a few months earlier than it has been in years past. And that seems certain to give voters here an earlier, more consequential say about who will take on President Donald Trump in the general election.Read More
Updated: July 24, 2019
The way California holds its presidential primary violates the constitutional rights of political independents and misuses taxpayer dollars to “benefit wholly private political parties,” a nonpartisan election group argues in a lawsuit it filed against the state this week.
A filing from by the Independent Voter Project argues that Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who administers elections, is ignoring a state constitutional requirement to hold an “open” presidential primary, in which anyone—regardless of political party—can participate.
Currently, each political party decides who gets to vote in its primary, forcing political independents who want to participate to jump through additional administrative hoops, or to join a party outright.
“The State of California can’t create a process that includes some voters and excludes others,” said Chad Peace, the Independent Voter Project's legal counsel.Read More
President Donald Trump and the Democrats who dominate California politics are locked into a rather bizarre, symbiotic relationship.
Almost daily, they fire political and legal bullets at each other across 2,728 miles – by highway – of American soil, each knowing that no matter how strange the missives may appear to ordinary folks, there’s no penalty to be paid.
Trump shores up his standing among his core supporters by jibing at California. And the state’s politicos, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, play to the anti-Trump sentiments of their voters.
The latest incarnation of this syndrome is legislation, now awaiting Newsom’s signature, that would require any candidate for president in 2020 to release five years of income tax returns as a precondition to appearing on California’s presidential primary ballot.
It’s a reaction to Trump’s refusal to reveal his income tax returns, thus defying what has become a presidential custom, albeit one not required by law.Read More