Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Gavin Newsom Will Probably Win But Here's Why I'm Voting For Antonio Villaraigosa



9 or 10 years ago, Gavin Newsom, Mayor or ex-Mayor of San Francisco, invited a gaggle of Los Angeles political bloggers to meet him in a rented conference room of a fancy West Hollywood hotel. I had the impression everyone was impressed besides me-- and even I was a little impressed. He was really smart and was able to speak way more intelligently than most politicians can on every single subject every blogger threw at him. If smarts alone was the only criterion to back a candidate, I might have gotten behind him instead of Jerry Brown. But it isn't... and I didn't. He had two traits that disqualified him. He's a corporate Democrat (which is enough of a disqualifier no matter how many LGBTQ couples whose marriages he presided over as mayor... of the gayest city in the world) and he can't be trusted and should find another line of work. Can't be trusted? He screwed his best friend's wife-- had an affair with her and though Gavin has a new wife now, his best friend and his wife broke up. I can't see trusting someone who does that.

And that his character defect is still around was just borne out again in his campaign. Yesterday, in a post Dorothy Reik wrote she helped break the news that Newsom was trying to help make sure the #2 slot in the jungle primary was filled by a Republican because he knows it will be much easier to beat a Republican in November. Why is that a big deal? If there are no Republicans on the top of the ticket running for governor (and for the Senate), it will discourage some Republicans from bothering to vote-- which could be a boon to Democrats running for the House and for the state legislature. But Newsom only thinks about Newsom, not for the greater good.

Ron Brownstein understands the dynamic and he dealt with it yesterday in a report for CNN, One of Trump's top California critics could help him hold the House. First off, I don't know what makes Newsom one of Trump's top critics in a state that includes Ted Lieu, Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, Kevin de León, Eric Swalwell, Barbara Lee and even Nancy Pelosi. But Brownstein claims that "few Democrats anywhere present themselves as more inveterate opponents of Señor Trumpanzee. Gee, I never noticed.
And yet few Democrats anywhere are facing more pointed accusations than Newsom of pursuing a strategy that could help Trump achieve his highest political goal in 2018: maintaining Republican control of the US House.

The charge against Newsom, which his camp forcefully rejects, underscores how profoundly the dynamics of California's unusual top-two primary system distort the typical calculations for candidates and the two major parties.

...Newsom ran an ad earlier this month effectively bolstering the leading Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox. By promoting Cox, Newsom reduced the odds that he would face another Democrat in November and increased his own chances of victory. But he faced complaints that he was threatening Democratic hopes of recapturing the US House because a Republican in the governor's race would give California GOP voters more reason to turn out this fall and thus benefit their candidates for the House.

...Though the state has run three previous elections under the top-two rule, this is the first contest that is fully pressure-testing the system. In 2014, the one previous governor's race conducted under these rules, incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown cruised to re-election. And in the past three elections, Democrats inexplicably [has Brownstein never put the words DCCC and incompetence together in his mind?] failed to mount serious bids against House Republicans in several districts that were trending away from the GOP.

...Most attention has focused on the Democratic dilemma in Orange County. The Democrats began this year with high hopes in the four seats that Clinton carried across that steadily-diversifying county. But they now face the real risk that Republicans will claim both of the top spots and shut out Democrats for November in three of them. In descending order of threat, Democrats are confronting that possibility in the seat held by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and the districts being vacated by retiring Republicans Ed Royce and Darrell Issa. (Because there are no meaningful Republican challengers to GOP incumbents Mimi Walters in Orange County and Steve Knight north of Los Angeles, Democrats don't face that risk in those Clinton-won seats.)

In all three of the seats where Democrats face a potential shutout, Republicans have candidates with much stronger resumes in elected office, from former state Assembly member Young Kim and Orange County Board of Supervisors member Shawn Nelson in Royce's seat; to former State Assembly GOP Leader Scott Baugh, who is challenging Rohrabacher; to former Assembly member Diane Harkey and current member Rocky Chavez in the Issa seat. None of the leading Democrats contending for any of the seats hold elected office, or began the race with much name identification in their districts-- a remnant of the party's long-time failure to invest in building its support in Orange County. That's made it tougher for any one candidate to consolidate support.

This local failure has forced the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee into extraordinary exertions to avoid losing these seats to the GOP in June. The party committee has invested heavily in voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts to combat the traditionally low turnout of several key Democratic constituencies during the June primaries. It has successfully leaned on several lower-tier Democratic candidates to drop out, hoping to consolidate the Democratic vote.

Most dramatically, it has invested $3.5 million into an array of television and radio ads meant to lift a Democrat into the top two. That's included negative ads trying to weaken Republican candidates in each race (principally Baugh, Nelson and Chavez). More controversially, the DCCC has also tried to lift one Democrat from the field by running ads for Gil Cisneros, a lottery winner and philanthropist in the Royce seat, and Harley Rouda, an attorney and entrepreneur in the Rohrabacher district.

And yet even after all this work, Democrats are still biting their nails. The Democrats are especially on edge about the Rohrabacher seat, where the incumbent's weakness is leaving a large number of GOP-leaning votes available to Baugh.

"These are all within the margin of error, and that's what is so scary," said Democratic consultant Dave Jacobson, who is advising candidates in the Royce and Rohrabacher seats.

The maneuvering in the governor's race is adding to Democratic anxiety and uncertainty. It has raised the possibility that even if Democrats survive next week's challenge and place a candidate onto the general election ballot, the Republican odds of holding the Orange County anyway seats may be rising.

Newsom triggered the controversy earlier this month when he ran his ad criticizing Cox, an underfunded San Diego business executive who lost several races for office while living in Illinois, for being too close to Trump and too opposed to gun control.

That's the sort of message viewers might expect from Newsom, a liberal Democrat, in the general election. But airing during the primary, the ad, in effect, came with a big wink: by attacking Cox from the left, Newsom was actually bolstering his credentials with Republican voters and increasing the chances that Cox would finish second next week ahead of any Democrat in the race. Newsom reinforced the message last week when he launched separate attack ads targeting Democrats Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Los Angeles mayor, and state Treasurer John Chiang.

Villaraigosa and Cox are the two candidates with a realistic chance of finishing second to Newsom, who leads comfortably in all polls. And even some Villaraigosa supporters privately now give him little chance of overcoming Cox, who was also boosted among Republicans by an endorsement from Trump. (In recent polls, Cox has pulled away from a second Republican, Travis Allen, who has run to his right.)

With Republicans dwindling to about a quarter of the state's registered voters, Newsom would begin the general election as a prohibitive favorite against Cox.

But Newsom has frustrated Democrats who believe the party would be more likely to beat the vulnerable GOP House members if Republicans are shut out of the governor's race. That, the critics argue, would depress GOP turnout, partly because Republicans are already virtually certain to be excluded from the US Senate race, which will likely feature incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein against State Senate leader Kevin de Leon. Delaine Eastin, a liberal former state superintendent of instruction also seeking the gubernatorial nomination as a Democrat, surfaced this grumbling last week, when she tweeted: "It is clear that for all of @GavinNewsom's claims to oppose @realDonaldTrump-- he has put himself ahead of @TheDemocrats fight to take back Congress and win other down ballot races."

Many Republicans actually take the same view. John Thomas, a Republican consultant, says the impact on Republican turnout could be catastrophic for GOP House candidates if the party is excluded from both the governor and US Senate races. "Our models it would probably change turnout by three points and that might just be it," says Thomas, who is working with Republican candidates in Orange County. "Barring a black swan event in some of those Congressional seats, with a Democrat imploding, a three-point shift [in turnout], is probably untenable."

Newsom has said openly he'd prefer to oppose a Republican this fall. But his advisers forcefully rebut the notion that he's advancing his own interests over the party's.
I guess Newsom hasn't screwed their wives... yet. Besides, if something horrible comes out about Gavin between the primary and the general, Democratic voters might move to another Democrat in the general if they had that opportunity, but still wouldn't move to a Republican. And no one knows how much filth about Newsom is out there ready to be exposed more than Gavin Newsom does.

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At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually a fan of this site, but not of this post. So . . . Villaraigosa believes in smashing unions, and calls this "standing up to power"-- oh, Right!! And if you like scandals, look at Villaraigosa getting his murderer son a pardon from prison when Guberner Gubernator Schwarzenegger was leaving office-- that was not scrubbed from google! So what's worse . . . a consensual sleazy affair, or letting politically connected rich kid murderers back on the streets?

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually a fan of this site, but not of this post. So . . . Villaraigosa believes in smashing unions, and calls this "standing up to power"-- oh, Right!! And if you like scandals, look at Villaraigosa getting his murderer son a pardon from prison when Guberner Gubernator Schwarzenegger was leaving office-- that was not scrubbed from google! So what's worse . . . a consensual sleazy affair, or letting politically connected rich kid murderers back on the streets?

At 6:44 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

...But Here's Why I'm Voting For Antonio Villaraigosa

Yes, we really need another charter-school-loving neoliberal in the governor's mansion. You people are crazy.

At 1:05 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I think Delaine Eastin would be the better candidate for CA Governor.

At 1:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've said all along through this primary that the "democrats" were going to blow the opportunity they were presented. It's well under way, and I'll bet that the RNCC is breathing easier with each new report.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Europe 2008 said...

A moral compas debate doesn’t leave Villaraigosa ahead of Newsom. Villaraigosa’s 20-year marriage ended amid revelations of his affair with a TV news reporter while he was mayor. Let alone the alleged affairs in his own office staff.

Villaraigosa also accepted donations from an attorney on Bill Cosby's legal team.

Newsom owned his discreation and apologized. Did Villaraigosa? (No)

Now if the argument is to disagree with Newsom’s political strategy, fine. But make that point and stand on it alone. Because when one tries to say Newsom was unfaithful to his marriage and ignores that Villaraigosa was also... the entire argument fails in credibity.

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I usually read your posts for solid information but this sounds more like a tabloid with some unsubtiatiated claims about GOP turnout. The Top Two has certainly led to gaming of the system by many candidates. As a matter of fact, Villaraigosa is propping up Travis Allen & Becerra is doing the same with his republican opponent. The bigger problem is the multitude of dem candidates in congressional districts whose support is split among Dem party factions. And despite the low number of republican voters in the state overall, they still exist in good numbers in these districts and they show up for midterms. Plus, they have reasons to do so including the gas tax, sanctuary state policy, bullet train and there’s Trump’s endorsement of Cox too. Blaming Newsom and therefore voting for Villaraigosa while ignoring his history and current policy agenda seems more spiteful than substantive. And it’s interesting that the vitriol towards the charter folks in the last election by the person who tipped you off about the Newsom, now favors Villaraigosa? Go figure...

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Certainly Newsome's dalliances are troublesome, but I'm far more concerned about his propensity to grandstand for the media. Villaraigosa has this problem as well. He's just not as flamboyant about it.

Just for the record, I remain undecided as to whether I should support any of these "democrats" or find someone else.

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really pathetic, Howie. I posted some links on Dorothy's article about how bad Villaraigosa is. He was also a member of "Fix the Debt," Pete Peterson's anti-Social Security group. If you want to make a protest vote - instead of just a spite vote - at least vote for Delaine Eastin. Plenty of Republicans will already be voting for Villaraigosa so he could actually get enough delusional Dems and Republicans who want to privatize public education and destroy teachers unions - and come in #1 in the general. Yeah, Newsome is a jerk but not nearly as bad as Villaigarosa.


At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Chaing gets my vote. If we had IRV, Delaine Easton would too.
Villaigarosa - not if he were the only one on the ballot. Vile, venal greasy.


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