NeverTrump’s Nemesis: California Delegation to Republican Convention

U.S. Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks at a veteran's rally in Des Moines, Iowa January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTX24HM9

CLEVELAND, Ohio — California was the state where Ted Cruz was going to make his last, decisive stand against Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Instead, the California delegation to the Republican National Convention is Donald Trump’s doomsday weapon.

The state’s 172 delegates were almost entirely “hand-picked by Trump,” the Sacramento Bee reports. And the sheer size of the delegation — the convention’s largest — makes it an effective tool for Trump to use to stop any “NeverTrump” insurgency at the convention.

The California contingent has been housed far away from the convention site, 60 miles west of Cleveland, in the Lake Erie town of Sandusky. The venue: the Kalahari water park and resort, where the drought-conscious Californian delegation might enjoy the sight of precious fresh water being wasted in every direction. (Some were not so impressed by the atmosphere, reminiscent of  National Lampoon’s Vacation: “It reminds me of a bad Chevy Chase movie,” one delegate told the Bee.)

Yet the delegation will be seated in the front rows for the duration of the convention, because it will present the most visible and enthusiastic bloc of Trump supporters in the Quicken Loans Arena.

The San Francisco Chronicle elaborates:

The 172-member California delegation, the nation’s largest, is Trump’s designated enforcer.

“We are the backstop,” California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte — in Hawaiian shirt — told me near the Zanzibar.

“If you want to mess, bring it on,” Trump’s California state director, Tim Clark — in flip-flops and shorts — explained. “This delegation was built for a fight. If the Never Trumpers want to start something, they have to go through us.”

Some members of the delegation have been on the Trump train forever; some, like Republican National Committeeman Shaun Steel, once called Trump a “clown” but now feel he is the best, and the only, alternative to Hillary Clinton. And one delegate, billionaire Peter Thiel — who is not staying in Sandusky — has a prime time speaking slot on the last night of the convention, when Trump accepts the GOP nomination.

The delegation has come a long way from early April, when the Cruz campaign mockedTrump’s California operation, predicting that Trump would fail to find enough delegates in each of the state’s 53 congressional districts.

Today, the delegation is strong, loyal, and — as even the East Bay Times observed — diverse, with youth, women, and minorities all represented amply.

Even the Chronicle acknowledged that the delegation’s vibe has changed. No longer is it made up of the “white-haired state senators” and “the political fanboys,” but grassroots activists like Rachel Casey, the woman who was infamously assaulted by anti-Trump demonstrators in full view of the media last month.

California was once among the states most skeptical of Trump. Today, in Cleveland, it is Trump’s most loyal.

Republicans hope that the rest of the party catches the same spirit.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This piece was originally published by

Record Voter Registration in California

As reported by the Wall Street Journal:

LOS ANGELES—Amid a surge in voter interest stoked by the presidential race, nearly 18 million Californians had registered to vote by Tuesday’s elections—the highest number ever for any state before a primary, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

That figure compares with about 17.2 million registered voters before the state’s 2012 presidential primaries, according to the office.

California officials reported a boom in residents registering as Democrats within the last 45 days of the sign-up period before Tuesday’s primary. During that time about 500,000 Californians newly registered or re-registered as Democrats, 136,000 as Republicans and 60,000 without a party preference.

Of all the state’s registered voters, the office said 44.8% are Democrats, 27.3% Republicans and 23.3% have no party affiliation. Minor-party registrations make up the rest. …

Click here to read the full article

Current One-Party System is Bad for California

californiaTechnically speaking, California’s political system is a “two party system,” but that is largely in name only in most places in the state.

California has become a “one party state” controlled by the California Democratic Party and California Democrat politicians.
Two key drivers was the decline of the Republican Party in the wake of Pete Wilson’s Prop. 187, and the redistricting deal in the early 2000s that helped Congressional Republicans and Republican incumbents by making most of California’s districts solidly Democrat or solidly Republican, according to a conversation with the late Allan Hoffenblum, legendary GOP strategist and former publisher of the California Target Book.

Republicans are not competitive in the vast majority of districts, and once the 2016 election is over it has been reported by David Crane, Stanford University, that there will be no open Assembly seats in the state until 2024. Campaign consultants are already sulking over the lack of potential competitive elections in the years following 2016.

This lack of party competition will primarily hurt California working families and the declining middle-class and help powerful special interests. The reason is that the lack of a viable political opposition in the vast majority of districts allows politicians to pander to their “core constituencies” and ignore the vast majority of voters including independents and the political center.
The one bright spot is the passage of the “top two primary system” as the result of a back door budget deal which has enabled the rise of the “moderate democrat” in California politics which tend to be less tied to the Democratic pro-labor base and more sensible on business and independent voter issues (i.e. taxes, government regulation).

Republican challengers, and their backers, tend to be the ones who can challenge California Democrat politicians on their weakest policy stances including taxes, out of control government spending, and onerous and costly government regulation.
But in most legislative races in California the Democrat establishment candidates do not have a viable Republican challenger. The result is that many of the key issues facing California are not even debated in the campaign. This is bad for the state’s political system and its voters.

Most competitive legislative races in California are characterized as a race between a far-left “progressive, pro-labor” Democrat, and a more moderate “pro-business” Democrat. This trend is the result of the state’s relatively new “top two primary system” and is surely better than having no competition but does not provide the same benefits as a true two party system.
Most “moderate Democrats” are still pro-labor, just not as far left as the organized labor establishment–backed Democrat candidates. And most “moderate Democrats” stick to the California Democratic Party platform on most economic and social issues. They are essentially Democrats, with a pro-business slant, which is good for the state and its political debate, but does not tend to challenge the Democratic status quo on most important issues in the state.

For example, take the example of Senator Bill Dodd (D), running as a moderate Democrat in the Sacramento valley in 2016. He is selling himself as a reasonable centrist Democrat who can work with both Democrats and Republicans to get things done. But he is still “pro-labor” and tied to the Democrat labor base on most issues including environmental regulation and state spending issues–perhaps the state’s two most important current policy issues.

Perhaps most alarming, is that after 2016 many of the “moderate Democrats” may not even have the threat of a viable moderate pro-business challenger, which makes it likely that they could sway back to the left, even the far-left, staked out organized labor and California Democratic Party.

In conclusion, there are really two potential paths to bringing back electoral competition to California politics.
First, the Republican Party and its candidates could move closer to the political center to better challenge Democrat candidates. This is unlikely to happen because the state’s Republican candidates are simply a reflection of the state’s Republican voters who tend to be very conservative.

Second, the more likely scenario is that you will see an increasing split in the California Democrat Party between its “pro-labor” base and “moderate Democrats.” This split has increased dramatically in the last year, and likely to continue.
If one considers voting data, one finds that the political center is huge, larger than either party, and there is really a lot of room for new varieties of Democrat candidates to stake out a more centrist positions that appeal to independent voters who tend to be more fiscally conservative than the Democratic base yet still pro-environment. These voters tend to be more reasonable on regulatory issues and other common sense policy positions, such as keeping a lid on the state’s rising tax burden and expansion of the welfare state.

Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, the state’s current one-party system is bad for California and the average voter, particularly independents, who in many cases do not even have the option to vote for a candidate that fits their political and policy preferences.

Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Trump Has Big Lead in New California Poll

In a new poll on the eve of two crucial primary votes in Ohio and Florida, Donald J. Trump has a commanding lead among Republicans in California, which is the state with the largest single remaining source of delegates on the path to the Party’s nomination for President.

When matched with his three other contenders: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Marco Rubio, Trump wins the “closed” California Republican primary with 38.3%  of the GOP vote, compared to 22.4% for Cruz, 19.7% for Kasich, and 10.1% for Rubio.  Voters registering an “undecided” opinion were 9.6%.  Trump’s almost 16% advantage over Cruz is statistically significant and well above the margin of error of the poll, which is 4.8%.  The poll results demonstrate that Trump’s standing among Republicans in the Golden State has grown significantly in the last two months.  (In January, in a similar poll using a smaller sample size, the Field Organization pegged Ted Cruz as the leader in California, 25% to 23% for Trump.)  Trump’s lead is commanding in all four “Board of Equalization” districts across the state, suggesting if the election were held today, that he would win in virtually all of the state’s Congressional Districts and capture all of the state’s delegates.

Donald Trump

A total of 172 delegates to the Republican National Convention are up for grabs in the 2016 California primary election, more than 7% of all delegates who will decide the next Republican Presidential nominee, and 14% of the delegates needed to win the nomination.

The poll was commissioned by Landslide Communications.   This new Landslide Communication’s California Poll of Republican Presidential Preferences of likely Republican voters in the 2016 primary election is the second such poll to be released.  In early February, 2015, Landslide released a similar poll showing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leading in the state, with similar results confirmed in a subsequent Field Organization poll a week later using a smaller sample size.

Poll Frequencies, NSON Opinion Research’s Summary, and Demographic Cross Tabs are available for download at the end of this article.

Further Details on Landslide’s California Poll appear below.

 California’s importance in 2016 Presidential election to Republicans:

California is a decidedly “blue” state in which Democratic Governor Jerry Brown recently won re-election by over one million votes, bucking a national trend that favored Republicans.  And a Republican candidate for President has not won the state of California since 1988.

However, because California is the largest state in the union by population, with 53 Congressional districts, California has a very large delegation up for grabs for GOP presidential contenders at the next Republican National Convention.

There will likely be a total of 2,461 delegates at the 2016 GOP Convention. California is allotted 172 of those delegates, about 7% of the total. Of California’s delegates, 10 are awarded to the candidate who wins the statewide vote. In addition, a candidate who finishes first in any one of California’s 53 Congressional districts is awarded 3 delegates. The state party chairman and two national committee members are also delegates.  The winning margin at the Republican National Convention will be 1,230 delegates. Theoretically, a candidate who could sweep California’s Republican Presidential primary election could count on the state to deliver just over 14% of the total delegates needed for victory.

List of Presidential contenders in poll:

Poll participants were read a randomized list of the 4 candidates to choose from.

Poll questions:

The poll questions were prepared by James V. Lacy, Managing Partner of Landslide Communications, Inc.  Landslide is one of the largest producers of election slate mail in California. Lacy is the author of the book “Taxifornia” and editor and contributing author of “Taxifornia 2016: 14 Essays on the Future of California” available at, and is a frequent guest commentator on California issues on Fox Business News Channel’s “Varney & Company.” Lacy is also an election law and nonprofit organization attorney through his law firm, Wewer & Lacy, LLP, and is a recipient of the American Association of Political Consultant’s “Pollie” Award. Lacy is not associated with any Presidential campaign. Landslide Communications, Inc., has a history of conducting polls in California, including presidential polling and in the 52nd Congressional District race in 2014 between incumbent Scott Peters and Republican challenger Carl DeMaio.

Interview list:

The list used to make the calls was based on a sophisticated, representative election turn-out model for likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election prepared by Political Data, Inc., located in Norwalk, a respected source of voter files.

To account for a slight bias in the delegate selection process that awards a small “bonus” pool of delegates based on the statewide result, the interview list was balanced for region by Board of Equalization District, with the two more Republican leaning BOE districts of four having marginally more interviews reflected in the statewide total than average, to most accurately reflect the opinion of California’s Republican population.

Interviews and data compilation:

The poll questions were completed by 407 likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election based on Political Data’s model. (The Landslide Communication’s sample size is 25% larger than the sample size used by the Field Organization for similar polling in California.)  The sample size is considered large enough by NSON Opinion Strategy, a respected strategic public opinion research company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, to offer statistical significance in outcome, with +/- 4.8% margin of error at a 95% confidence level statewide. Telephone survey interviews were conducted statewide over two days from Wednesday, March 9th through Thursday, March 10th, by NSON Opinion Strategy.

A summary of the poll prepared by NSON, along with “frequencies” and “crosstabs” may be downloaded below.

For comment, please contact James V. Lacy at 714-878-6191.

James V. Lacy is publisher of California Political Review.

CA Rep Pres Pri – Frequencies

16′ CA GOP Presidential Primary Poll (March)

CA Rep Pres Pri – Crosstab Tables


CA Primary Could Determine GOP Presidential Candidate

James Lacy, author of Taxifornia, explains to radio host Hugh Hewitt why the CA primary in June might actually matter in the quest for the GOP presidential nomination:

Angry California Republicans Call Drought Bill Dead for the Year

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Angry California Republicans threw in the towel late Thursday, conceding that a California water bill that had divided the state was dead for the year.

In a remarkably acrimonious ending to negotiations that once seemed close to bearing fruit, GOP House members acknowledged the bill’s failure while putting the blame squarely on California’s two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

“It’s dead, unfortunately,” Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, said in an interview Thursday afternoon, adding in a later statement that “our good-faith negotiations came to naught.”

The utter collapse of negotiations means a California water package – that in its latest manifestation spanned 92 pages – will not be slipped into a much larger, must-pass omnibus federal spending package needed …

Do Californians Even Care About High Taxes?

Tax surveyIn Tuesday’s Republican debate in Milwaukee a graphic was displayed to show where Facebook activity occurred discussing taxes. The green shaded areas on the graph indicated areas and states that had Above Average chatter on taxes (whatever average is). What catches the eye is that about two-thirds of California is white — no heavy tax chatter. Included in the white area are the large metropolitan and heavily populated areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Sacramento.

Does this mean that Californians don’t care about taxes, at least to the extent that they don’t talk about taxes on Facebook as much as residents of other states?

More to the point for analysts and consultants, does this Facebook chart bode well for the many advocates who are hoping to place tax increases on next year’s ballot? Are taxes not a concern for Californians?

Certainly, the Facebook graphic is not a scientific survey. Who knows how many likely voters are spending time on Facebook to discuss taxes?

Perhaps, Californians are not as concerned about taxes because the state is flush. The Controller’s Office announced yesterday that in October the state pulled in nearly $200 million more than was expected lifting the surplus over $500 million more than anticipated by budget projections.

A budget surplus would play a role in the coming debates over tax measures on the ballot and lead voters to feel that no new taxes are necessary – at least those who discuss such things on Facebook.

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Political Battle of the Ages: Boomers vs. Millennials

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

NEW GEOGRAPHY–The old issues of class, race and geography may still dominate coverage of our changing political landscape, but perhaps a more compelling divide relates to generations. American politics are being shaped by two gigantic generations – the baby boomers and their offspring, the millennials – as well as smaller cohorts of Generation X, who preceded the millennials, and what has been known as the Silent Generation, who preceded the boomers.

Both the boomers and the Silents gradually have moved to the right as they have aged. Other factors underpin this trend, such as the fact that boomers are overwhelmingly white – well over 70 percent compared with roughly 58 percent for millennials. People in their 50s and 60s have seen their incomes and net worth rise while millennials have done far worse, at this stage of their lives, than previous generations.

Although millennials are more numerous than boomers, the elderly are a growing portion of the population, and they tend to vote in bigger numbers. Voters over age 65 turn out at a rate above 70 percent, while barely 40 percent of those under 25 cast ballots. That may be one factor in why this presidential campaign is dominated not by youth, but by aging figures like Donald Trump (69), Hillary Clinton (67) and Bernie Sanders (74).

The Silent Generation

Leading generational analysts – Neil Howe, Morley Winograd, Mike Hais – have suggested that the experiences people have growing up shape political beliefs throughout their lives. This does not mean that people do not change as they age, but where they started remains a key factor in determining how far these changes spread within a generation.

The now-passing Greatest Generation – the group that survived the Depression and the Second World War – were largely shaped by the experiences of the New Deal and the boom of the postwar era. This has made them consistently less conservative than successor generations, and they have retained their Democratic affiliations.

In contrast, the Silents – many of whom grew up under President Dwight Eisenhower and during the Cold War – have gradually moved toward the Republican column. After generally supporting the Democrats in 2006, they have backed GOP candidates but remain surprisingly balanced in their affiliations; Pew estimates Silents who at least lean Republican constitute 47 percent, versus 44 percent Democratic.

Surprisingly, Silent Generation Democrats are not much more socially conservative on issues – such as gay marriage, abortion and climate change – than the younger generation. But Silent Generation Republicans are far more socially conservative than their younger counterparts, particularly on immigration. This may be one factor that keeps the Donald Trump energizer bunny animated.

Boomers Move Right

Although now outnumbered by millennials, 83 million to 75 million, boomers, those born from 1946-64, remain the largest voting bloc, accounting for some 35 percent of the electorate. Despite being closely identified with the 1960s hippie movement and the counterculture, this group has been heading right for at least 30 years. This may be traced to their experience with the inept and depressing Jimmy Carter presidency and their support for the more self-assured optimism of Ronald Reagan.

Since the second term of the first boomer president, Bill Clinton, that generation has favored the GOP in virtually every election. And they are getting more conservative over time. Since the 1970s, the percentage identifying themselves as liberal has dropped consistently while those holding conservative views have steadily climbed. In 2011, 42 percent of boomers identified as conservative, more the twice the number who considered themselves liberal.

Focus on Generation X

Generation X, smaller than the boomer and millennial demographic behemoths, with roughly 65 million, occupies a particularly critical, if unappreciated, niche in our evolving political structure. Born from the mid-1960s to early ’80s, this generation will produce our next generation of leaders.

The politics of the X’ers are complex. On social issues, they are notably more liberal than boomers but considerably more conservative than millennials. Younger X’ers, many of whom grew up under the generally successful era of Bill Clinton, are notably more liberal than their older counterparts, but a strong majority do not approve of President Obama.

Overall, the X’ers represent something of a swing vote and could be a source of some moderation on social and environmental issues. As a group, they are widely seen as more pragmatic than boomers, who tend to embrace ideological politics. Although likely to support the GOP nominee in 2016, the margin may not be great and, if the Republicans remain committed to embracing clownish candidates, the X’ers could even end up in the Democratic column.

Millennials: Game changers?

With the exception of the Greatest Generation, the millennials are the only age cohort that can be said to be solidly Democratic. Given their huge numbers and relative youth, they will ultimately dominate our political system. By 2030, there will be 78 million millennials and 56 million boomers. But, as in other generations, their political affiliations could shift, at least somewhat, depending on how the parties shape their message over the next decade or two.

Millennials’ social views strongly benefit Democrats. The Republicans have turned off a large portion of a generation that embraces gay marriage by a huge margin and is heavily pro-immigration. The shift to the Democrats could be supercharged if Trump, disliked by four-fifths of Latinos in some surveys, gets the GOP nomination.

Millennials also could push the Democrats even further to the left. They have become a major base of support for socialist candidate Bernie Sanders. The Vermont septuagenarian has played well to this generation’s latent anti-capitalism (about as many of them favor socialism as the free market system; his call for free college no doubt appeals to those worried about college debts). More than three times as many millennials like Sanders’ Facebook page as Hillary Clinton’s, and he is polling about even among them with the former secretary of state, well ahead of his national rankings.

Although smaller in numbers, Republican millennials have gained some ground in recent elections, with most white millennials now in favor of a GOP takeover of the White House in 2016. Their expanding presence could have a potentially moderating impact on a party that appears committed to engaging in ideological and demographic suicide. Young Republicans tend to be more socially liberal – 64 percent, for example, embrace broad acceptance for homosexuality, compared with 45 percent of GOP boomers – and more often define their conservatism in economic terms, a potentially strong issue after seven years of generally anemic, and highly concentrated, income and job growth.

Who wins?

Generational politics pose both risks and rewards for each party. A Trump candidacy may excite older voters and many younger white voters, but the cost among a pro-immigrant, heavily minority millennial voting bloc could prove damaging over the longer run.

Democrats, too, face risks, particularly if they continue on the path of radical wealth redistribution and draconian climate change regulation. Although still strong, support for Obama has been steadily weakening since 2008. Millennials are the only age group to still approve of President Obama’s record, but by only 49 percent, not exactly a ringing endorsement.

The future may be determined by the extent that millennials feel that Democratic policies inhibit their ability to move up economically. Younger millennials, having grown up during a weak economy under a progressive president, are notably more conservative than older ones, notes a recent Harvard study.

They increasingly share some attitudes with conservatives, having become notably more deeply distrustful of many of the nation’s political institutions. Nearly half describe themselves as independents, far more than any other age group.

To be sure, mllennials will likely stay more liberal than boomers (about as many are conservative as liberal), but they could shift further to the right once they enter their 30s and start earning a living. Once they are accumulating such things as a house and starting families, they may not easily embrace policies that would see much of their income taken away – radical redistribution is more appealing when you have little and know even less.

To take advantage of these trends, Republicans first need to adjust their views on social issues, notably on immigration and gay rights, and come up with policies to address rampant income inequality. If they fail to do so, generation dynamics will likely allow the Democrats to dominate electorally for the next decade or more.

(Joel Kotkin is executive editor of, the Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University, and a member of the editorial board of the Orange County Register. His most recent book is “The New Class Conflict” –Telos Publishing: 2014. Joel Kotkin lives in Orange County. This piece first appeared at The Daily Beast.) 

Fiorina: The Falling Star

The rapid rise and equally rapid fall of Carly Fiorina deserves our attention.

Before the most recent GOP debate, she was languishing in the polls at only 4 percent of the vote, according to a Sept. 9-Sept. 13 CBS survey. After a smashing performance at the event, she soared into second place with 15 percent (CNN, Sept. 17-Sept. 19). Now the most recent polls have her falling back into the pack with only 6 percent support (CBS, Oct. 4-Oct. 8).

What happened?

Her initial rise was partially due to her headline-stealing riposte to Donald Trump for his ill-considered comments demeaning her physical appearance. By linking her cause to that of all women, she effectively played off the GOP front-runner’s publicity and vaulted to the top of the field.

But the deeper reason for her climb was that Republicans want to nominate a woman to counter Hillary Clinton; they found Fiorina, a self-made woman, a far more authentic model of female advancement than they did the former first lady. Here was a woman who did not depend on her husband’s career to move ahead and who did not have the baggage of scandal and secrecy that burdens Clinton’s candidacy.

Fiorina showed an eclectic knowledge of national affairs and fluently recited key facts about our weakened defense posture. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO seemed like a non-ascorbic, scandal-free alternative to Clinton.

There has been no major scandal or faux pas to bring Fiorina down. While the impact of her debate performance may have worn off over time, why is she suffering this fate while Trump, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio have continued to gain from their debating styles?

While The New York Times contributed to her fall with a front-page article chronicling — and bashing — her record at HP, it was the bloggers who brought Fiorina down. The Times story regaled the saga of how Fiorina had induced HP to buy Compaq despite evidence of its declining clout and emphasized the 30,000 layoffs under her tenure as CEO.

But the bloggers really did a number on her conservative credentials. They quoted her 2010 comment during her contest with Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” and noted her endorsement of Rubio’s (R-Fla.) plan for amnesty for illegal immigrants, as well as her support for Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court and her willingness to weaken Proposition 13, which holds down property taxes in California.

The blogs left Fiorina bleeding.

For rest of article click here.

Originally published on on October 13, 2015


Duf Sundheim, former state GOP chair, jumps into 2016 Senate race

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

Former California Republican Party chair Duf Sundheim, 62, is jumping into the 2016 U.S. Senate race, in what’s expected to be a tough race against the Democratic front-runner, state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Sundheim, a moderate, pro-choice Republican who has worked with former Secretary of State George Shultz and former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on political reform issues that include redistricting, open primaries, and pension and education reform, vows to bring a bipartisan approach to the job.

A former member of the Republican National Committee board of directors, Sundheim has long been active in trying to broaden the appeal of the California GOP, which lags 15 points behind Democrats in state voter registration. …

Click here to read the full article