Friday, October 14, 2016

There's No Real Republican In The California Senate Race-- But Blue Dog Loretta Sanchez Is Close Enough


Very weak dab from Sanchez, a very weak candidate

Perhaps you read yesterday that Trump was apologizing to the corpse of war criminal Slobodan Milošević for the U.S./NATO bombing to stop the ethnic cleansing (genocide) of Muslims who had lived there when the Drumpf family was still raising pigs in Karlstadt. Perhaps Trump was trying to please Serbian fascist leader Vojislav Šešelj, founder and head of the neo-Nazi Serbian Radical Party. According to Trump's Russian allies at Sputnik News, Trump is the apple of fascist eyes in Serbia. Same in Russia, where Putin ally, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Vice Chair of the Duma and leader of the neo-Nazi Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, also endorsed him. But you know who hasn't endorsed him? American newspapers. Even the ones who hate Hillary have been urging their readers to vote against Trump. Not even the most right-wing newspaper in California, the Bakersfield Californian has endorsed Trump... yet.

But the endorsement season is still young and they're just getting going. A couple of weeks ago, they urged their readers to vote for a Democrat-- sort of-- in the California Senate race. The Bakersfield Californian doesn't usually endorse Democrats and the one they endorsed isn't really one anyway. Republicans find it harder and harder to get on statewide ballots now that California has adopted the jungle primary. The Senate general election is between two Democrats, the Democratic establishment's Kamala Harris and a none-too-bright Blue Dog from Orange County, Loretta Sanchez. Sanchez is the stand-in for the GOP in the Senate race, and the Bakersfield Californian recognized her as such and endorsed her.
California’s U.S. Senate race is a classic example of an “unintended consequence.”

When California voters passed the 2010 ballot measure that established the state’s “top-two” primary system, they were promised the chance to elect moderate Republican and Democratic candidates.

The theory was that regardless of their political party affiliations, to get enough votes to land in one of the “top-two” primary spots and progress to the general election, candidates must appeal to all California voters, not just their parties’ hard-core bases. The “top-two” system’s goal was to shed the extremes in favor of the middle.

While that might be happening, what also has occurred is that two candidates from the same party have ended up competing against each other in some really nasty general election local races. The November campaign to fill retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat is the first time one of these intraparty battles is being waged in a statewide race.

The “unintended consequence” is that party bosses, rather than California voters, may decide the outcome of the Senate race.

Democrat Kamala Harris, the current state attorney general and former San Francisco district attorney, faces veteran Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Orange County.

In February, Democratic Party bosses voted to endorse Harris. That has meant that the state party is throwing its money and considerable resources to Harris, leaving Sanchez empty-handed.

But don’t count Sanchez out. She has spunk and guts. Recall her scrappy 1996 campaign to unseated long-time flame-throwing conservative Congressman “B-1” Bob Dornan. And during her nearly 20 years in Congress, she has bucked the liberal wing of her party with her business-friendly, moderate votes. As a member of the “Blue Dog Coalition,” she often has reached across the aisle to work with Republicans.

While these are qualities voters might find appealing, they no doubt are why the Democratic Party elite are shunning her and trying to ensure the election of the more “progressive” Harris. In response, Sanchez is trying to cobble together a coalition of moderate and conservative Latino voters, and Republicans.

Although Sanchez has been endorsed by Republican North San Diego County Congressman Darrell Issa, former Congressman Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, former Republican Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, and her libertarian-leaning hometown newspaper, the Orange County Register, Republican lawmakers generally are sitting out the race-- pouting because their party has no candidate competing.

But many of her Republican congressional colleagues concede she is the better candidate. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, recently told the Los Angeles Times that Sanchez would be “infinitely easier” for Republicans to work with. He said her views about agriculture and water access demonstrate she understands rural issues.

In an attempt to rile up Democrats and Latinos by tying Sanchez to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Harris’ campaign calls these lukewarm supporters “Trump-esque” Republicans.

But Trump, who brags about contributing to politicians in exchange for favorable treatment, also is tainting Harris’ campaign. He contributed to Harris’ past attorney general campaigns. And Sanchez is quick to note that Attorney General Harris’ response to consumer fraud complaints involving Trump University was lacking.

Meanwhile, voters seem to have been left on the sidelines of this intraparty fight, with party leaders expecting them to just go along with their hand-picked choice for Senate.

The Californian hopes they won’t. California’s next senator should have political courage. She should be willing to work with people in both political parties. She should have a business-friendly, moderate voting record. And she should have demonstrated that she gives a hoot about the entire state, including rural counties, like Kern.

She should be Loretta Sanchez.
Sanchez has been trying to cobble together an ad hoc coalition of right-wing Democrats, low-info Latinos and Republicans. It isn't working. Harris has led her in every single poll and the RealClarPolitics average shows Sanchez with just 18.3% support-- and Harris 22 points ahead of her. But, who knows... maybe the deplorables will show up to vote in November and look at the ballot and pick her as the more deplorable candidate. Which she is. As for Harris... I don't know. I don't trust the California Democratic Party at all and when they get behind someone it's cause for skepticism. I have't made up my mind if I'll vote for a 3rd party candidate or vote for Harris. Elizabeth Warren is backing her and that means something... although Elizabeth Warren-- while not backing the actual sworn enemies of working families like Patrick Murphy (FL), Evan Bayh (IN) and Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ)-- is backing some pretty crummy candidates I'd never vote for-- lesser of two evils types like Katie McGinty (PA), Ted Strickland (OH) and Maggie Hassan (NH). Today, though, I got an encouraging e-mail from the Harris campaign:
From working with Elizabeth Warren to challenging the Big Banks and bringing back almost $20 billion to California consumers during the house crisis to providing a path for unaccompanied minors coming through Mexico to receive our protection and support.

And from fighting for California’s climate change laws-- some of the toughest in the country-- to fighting for criminal justice reform and creating models of what can be done in our nation.

I have a track record that has proven what we can accomplish when a leader actually acts like a leader and shows up for the people.
Decent pitch. I want to see late polling before I decide. If there's any chance Sanchez could win, I'd vote for Harris for sure. Otherwise...

Sanchez prepares for the dab

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At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife once gave Sanchez some money long ago. In return, Sanchez sent a "Christmas" card showing what was supposed to be a humorous torture of a cat. While I doubt the torture was real, (at least I hope so), such a "sense of humor" completely turned me off of any thoughts of supporting her despite my not living in her Congressional district. Anyone who could think harming animals is funny would feel similarly about hurting humans.


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