By Doug Porter
The candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination are looking to the June 7th California primary to be the final showdown. One hundred seventy-two delegates are up for grabs, and there is a big-money push underway in the nation’s most populous state.
Donald Trump is now mathematically unable to seal the deal until the last day of the primary calendar. Senator Ted Cruz, who is holding rallies in Orange County and San Diego today, is ahead of the other candidates in terms of grassroots organizing and campaign infrastructure.
The contest to be the next GOP nominee has entered the professional political realm, as California is just too big to win with bluster and bullshit. To make matters worse, The Donald has seemingly gone into hiding after getting trounced in the Wisconsin primary and routed in the race for delegates in Colorado and South Carolina.
After months on end of Sunday talk show appearances, the nation was finally treated to a Sunday morning without an appearance by Trump.
His convention manager, Paul Manafort, did get some face time to complain about being out hustled at GOP gatherings:
“Well, he’s threatening, you go to these county conventions, and you see the tactics, Gestapo tactics, the scorched-earth tactics–Well, you look at, we’re going to be filing several protests because reality is, you know, they are not playing by the rules. But frankly, that’s the side game. Because the only game I’m focusing on right now is getting delegates. And the games that have happened, even this past weekend, you know, are not important to the long-term game of how do we get to 1,237.”
An article at Politico gives some insight into what’s going on, saying big-time GOP players in the state are forming the first California-specific anti-Trump super PAC. Consultants Ray McNally, Rob Stutzman and Richard Temple are behind the group, promising an eight figure war chest.
Cruz prioritized California long before his rivals, naming Ron Nehring, a former state Republican Party chairman, as his California chairman nearly a year ago. He’s since lined up numerous connected backers, including a former state chairman Michael Schroeder, who is serving a political director, and Dan Palmer, the son-in-law of prominent GOP financier Donald Bren, as finance chairman.
“When you begin that process, it’s not yet clear whether the race will go all the way to the end or not, but the more compelling reality is, if it does come to the end, you cannot organize a state the size of California in six weeks,” Nehring said. “It’s too big.”
Cranking Up the California Drama
The Los Angeles Times Kathleen Decker argues that Californians have a history of being indifferent to politics:
The high point for California drama was the 2003 recall, during which Arnold Schwarzenegger transferred a certain cinematic flair to politics. He announced his candidacy on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” During the campaign, a car was crushed by a wrecking ball to evince his opposition to an increase in the car registration tax; another time, a giant spigot spewing red liquid stood in for his objections to state spending.
But that race was a two-month sprint; typical campaigns here are multi-year events in which candidates of necessity spend more time in the living rooms of wealthy donors than talking to voters. They do that to finance the voter outreach efforts and — mostly — the television commercials that are the only real ways to communicate in a state with 17 million-plus voters — topping New York by more than 6 million.
All of the presidential candidates will make appearances here, repeatedly, before the June 7 primary. Cruz plans events Monday in Orange County and San Diego. Maybe the competitive nature of the contests will change how the candidates campaign. If not, chances are you’ll only see them on the television screen.
I suspect she may be surprised by this year’s contests. A San Diego Veterans group has announced protests at the Mission Valley Ted Cruz rally. Appearances by Democrat Bernie Sanders have already proven to be a phenomenon, with his recent San Diego rally dominating local media outlets for several days.
Gomez Calls on San Diego GOP to Denounce Trump
In the high-profile District 9 City Council race, candidate Georgette Gomez used an op-ed at the Times of San Diego to call out local GOP leaders who have largely remained silent about the racism and misogyny of the party’s front-runner.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has refused to condemn Trump and hasn’t ruled out voting for Trump if he is the GOP nominee.
The GOP members on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and San Diego City Council have not spoken out against Trump’s hate and division or stated who they will vote for in November.
As the Trump campaign heads to California, their silence is deafening. Allowing Trump to continue his hate-filled march to the nomination unchallenged by San Diego’s leaders sends a message that we will tolerate a campaign based on the politics of fear and division.
That’s a terrible message to send to our vibrant, bi-national and multicultural city. San Diego Republicans, find your courage, take a stand and speak out against Trump.
Latinos Seeking Citizenship to Vote Against Trump
The Donald’s anti-immigrant rhetoric (Cruz, et al are similarly bad, just not as loud) has spurred Latino green card holders in Southern California to complete the necessary steps towards gaining citizenship so they can vote.
From the Union-Tribune:
Organizations such as Mi Familia Vota, or “My Family Votes,” have significantly ramped up efforts to increase the number of Latinos eligible to vote.
Executive Director Ben Monterroso said the group has seen a marked increase in Latinos looking to naturalize before the election.
“Not only that, but with the expectation that they want to get out and vote against Donald Trump,” he said. “That’s new. We have been leading citizenship workshops for a long time, but we’re seeing more and more Latinos coming out each time.”
The nonprofit has gone from hosting citizenship workshops three times a year to at least once a month at each of its locations, Monterroso said.
Meanwhile, on the National Scene, Not So Good for Trump…
The Donald called in on the normally friendly Fox and Friends show on Monday morning, only to be confronted with news about his children Ivanka and Eric not being registered to vote in New York state and therefore unable to vote for their father.
How did he handle this? He lied.
From the Washington Post:
“They had a long time to register, and they were unaware of the rules and they didn’t register in time,” Trump said. “So they feel very, very guilty. They feel very guilty. But it’s fine, I mean, I understand that. I think they have to register a year in advance, and they didn’t.”
A year in advance? The state Board of Elections has a slightly smaller window: The new voter registration would have needed to have been filed by March 25. Of 2016. Those two votes probably wouldn’t have mattered much, but it’s impossible not to see how their inability to register mirrors the campaign’s inability to figure out the process elsewhere.
It’s not clear whether the two weren’t registered or whether they needed to change their party registration to vote in the closed primary. If it’s the latter, the deadline was earlier. They’d have needed to change their registrations by Oct. 8 of 2015. But they had an expert who could have guided them through it: Donald Trump.
Oh, about those about those yuuuge charitable donations charitable donations ($102 million over the past five years, he says) the billionaire candidate has supposedly doled out over the years…
To back up that claim, Trump’s campaign compiled a list of his contributions— 4,844 of them, filling 93 pages.
But, in that massive list, one thing was missing.
Not a single one of those donations was actually a personal gift of Trump’s own money.
Democracy Springtime in Washington
Thousands of protesters are expected to stage sit-ins at the US Capital building and engage in other acts of civil disobedience around Washington over the next week.
From The Hill:
More than 3,600 people have pledged to participate in the sit-ins this week, according to Democracy Spring, the group organizing the protests.
“Almost every American agrees our democracy is seriously out of whack — that our elections and government are dominated by wealthy special interests. And yet Congress is doing nothing. So today we say no more,” lead organizer Kai Newkirk said in a statement.
The protesters are calling for votes on four specific bills to create a public campaign financing system; restore a provision of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court that requires federal approval of changes to voting procedures in certain states; modernize voter registration; and overturn the Citizens United decision that allows corporations to spend unlimited sums in elections.
Although the protesters do not have a position on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, they are also urging the Senate to hold hearings to shed light on Merrick Garland’s positions on campaign finance and voting rights policies.
I get nostalgic thinking about Washington DC in the springtime. Having lived there during much of the 70s and 80s, I miss the cherry blossoms, the tulips, the wafts of tear gas in the air….
On This Day: 1947 – Jackie Robinson became the first black player in major-league history. He played in an exhibition game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. 1970 – Paul McCartney announced a “temporary break with the Beatles.” He cited “personal differences” and adding that he will no longer record with John Lennon. 1997 – Some 25,000 marched in Watsonville, Calif., to show support for United Farm Workers organizing campaign among strawberry workers, others.
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