It’s a mistake for California Democrats to feel smug: Thomas Elias

 The November election for California election might not be our finest hour.  Unless the Democrats collapse, Tom Elias believes that thirty legislative races (Assembly, State Senate and Congress) will be Democrat vs. Democrat, furthering eroding the California Republican party.  Why?  Because Republicans will be asked to support Democrats—and some will never come back.  Then you have a strong probability that NO Republican will be running for the U.S. Senate on the November California ballot—a disaster for our potential candidates in 2018 for Governor and other statewide offices.“Younger voters, male and female, tell poll takers they are more interested in what they believe a Democrat might do for them in the next few years. This message from youth, both registered Democrats and those with no party preference, is one reason Clinton this year has adopted a more strongly liberal tone than ever before. She strongly stresses immigration reform, increased wages and voting rights.

None of that is likely to change the pattern of new voters steering clear of all political parties. Which means Democrats can’t be smug, any more than the shrinking GOP should be depressed. For the tide moving toward no party preference is not yet fully understood by either party, and if they make wrong moves, the errors could redound for years.

My good friend Tom Elias tells Republicans not to be depressed—though from 1999 to 2013 the GOP gained 44,000 voters.  From January, 2013 to April 8, 2016, the GOP LOST 420,000 registered voters—that is depressing.  We have been told the California GOP has “rebranded” itself—it supports making illegal aliens comfortable, supports bonds for failed government education—legislators voted to create higher vehicle and health care insurance taxes.  Maybe the rebranding is the problem?  We will see on June 7 and in November.

Democrat Donkey

 

It’s a mistake for California Democrats to feel smug: Thomas Elias

By Thomas D. Elias, The Pasadena Star-News, 5/23/16

There’s a certain smug quality about the California Democratic Party as it heads toward a primary election likely to produce more intra-party runoffs than ever before, possibly ranging right up to the ballot-topping race to succeed Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate.

But just because there may be as many as 30 runoffs pitting Democrat vs. Democrat this fall does not mean all is hunky-dory for this party, which before this spring’s big registration rush to vote for Bernard Sanders for president had gained only about 75,000 registered adherents since 2012, despite California’s significant population increases.

Yes, Democrats do enjoy a 17-point registration advantage over Republicans, one reason both major parties have considered this state “safe” for Democratic presidential candidates for two decades. But no, Democrats are not justified in crowing about it.

That’s because mid-May figures from Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla, California’s top election official, demonstrate that typically in recent years, when new voters register, they sign up as “no party preference (NPP),” refusing to identify with either party.

The rise in NPP registration from 21 percent of the total in 2012 to more than 24 percent today is completely unprecedented and represents an almost total rejection of both parties. Yes, Republicans have actually lost hundreds of thousands of their adherents to the NPP column, far more than Democrats have lost, but Democratic numbers are not growing much despite the party’s expensive and labor-intensive outreach and registration efforts.

This could have great meaning in the primary, where polls show that in the minds of many likely voters, Hillary Clinton represents the traditional Democratic Party, while rival Sanders has become the latest emblem of change.

The last time she ran for president — in 2008 — perceptions were similar, but NPP registration was far lower. So Clinton won a big plurality in California that spring, enough to keep her going through months of losses to “hope-and-change” symbol Barack Obama in other states.

This time, California votes almost last, and as usual its vote will have only symbolic meaning. Since NPP voters can cast ballots in Democratic primaries, but not Republican ones, their impact will be felt far greater on the Democratic side.

Many of those NPP voters are young people only recently eligible to participate – the same kind of voters who gave energy and manpower to Obama’s campaigns. They could create a stark generational split in the Democratic vote.

The trick for Democrats this fall will be getting those young NPP voters to turn out again in November.

Academic studies indicate that it’s highly unlikely the new voters would go Republican in the fall, as very few voters switch parties during an election year even if the candidate they liked in the primary has lost. But they might stay home unless Clinton can motivate them in a way she has not so far.

So Democrats appear just as flummoxed by the NPP phenomenon as Republicans. Both parties sometimes react to the reluctance of youths to choose a party by reminding new voters of what happened many years ago.

Clinton, for example, has difficulty comprehending that feminist appeals have not worked well with young women voters, who take for granted the status she helped win for them via her efforts in the 1970s and ’80s, long before she became a national figure.

Younger voters, male and female, tell poll takers they are more interested in what they believe a Democrat might do for them in the next few years. This message from youth, both registered Democrats and those with no party preference, is one reason Clinton this year has adopted a more strongly liberal tone than ever before. She strongly stresses immigration reform, increased wages and voting rights.

None of that is likely to change the pattern of new voters steering clear of all political parties. Which means Democrats can’t be smug, any more than the shrinking GOP should be depressed. For the tide moving toward no party preference is not yet fully understood by either party, and if they make wrong moves, the errors could redound for years.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. John Steele says

    I refuse to vote for any elected office if it is ONLY two democrats.. I leave it blank. I urge other like minded individuals to do the same.. Do not accept the ” lesser of two evil ” theory.. It’s still evil.

  2. askeptic says

    The solution to Dem v. Dem general elections:
    NONE OF THE ABOVE, as a ballot line.

  3. Make that “slightly less lefter leftist Dem.”

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