Elon Musk Restores Trump’s Twitter Account After 51.8% Vote in Favor of Reinstatement

Elon Musk reinstated Donald Trump’s account on Twitter on Saturday, reversing a ban that has kept the former president off the social media site since a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was poised to certify Joe Biden’s election victory.

Musk made the announcement in the evening after holding a poll that asked Twitter users to click “yes” or “no” on whether Trump’s account should be restored. The “yes” vote won, with 51.8%.

“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, using a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people, the voice of God.”

Shortly afterward Trump’s account, which had earlier appeared as suspended, reappeared on the platform complete with his former tweets, more than 59,000 of them. However his followers were gone, at least initially.

It is not clear whether Trump would actually return to Twitter. An irrepressible tweeter before he was banned, Trump has said in the past that he would not rejoin even if his account was reinstated. He has been relying on his own, much smaller social media site, Truth Social, which he launched after being blocked from Twitter.

And on Saturday, during a video speech to a Republican Jewish group meeting in Las Vegas, Trump said that he was aware of Musk’s poll but that he saw “a lot of problems at Twitter,” according to Bloomberg.

“I hear we’re getting a big vote to also go back on Twitter. I don’t see it because I don’t see any reason for it,” Trump was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. “It may make it, it may not make it,” he added, apparently referring to Twitter’s recent internal upheavals.

The prospect of restoring Trump’s presence to the platform follows Musk’s purchase last month of Twitter — an acquisition that has fanned widespread concern that the billionaire owner will allow purveyors of lies and misinformation to flourish on the site. Musk has frequently expressed his belief that Twitter had become too restrictive of freewheeling speech.

His efforts to reshape the site have been both swift and chaotic. Musk has fired many of the company’s 7,500 full-time workers and an untold number of contractors who are responsible for content moderation and other crucial responsibilities. His demand that remaining employees pledge to “extremely hardcore” work triggered a wave of resignations, including hundreds of software engineers.

Users have reported seeing increased spam and scams on their feeds and in their direct messages, among other glitches, in the aftermath of the mass layoffs and worker exodus. Some programmers who were fired or resigned this week warned that Twitter may soon fray so badly it could actually crash.

Musk’s online survey, which ran for 24 hours before ending Saturday evening, concluded with 51.8% of more than 15 million votes favoring the restoration of Trump’s Twitter’ account. It comes four days after Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2024.

Trump lost his access to Twitter two days after his supporters stormed the Capitol, soon after the former president had exhorted them to “fight like hell.” Twitter dropped his account after Trump wrote a pair of tweets that the company said cast further doubts on the legitimacy of the presidential election and raised risks for the Biden presidential inauguration.

After the Jan. 6 attack, Trump was also kicked off Facebook and Instagram, which are owned by Meta Platforms, and Snapchat. His ability to post videos to his YouTube channel was also suspended. Facebook is set to reconsider Trump’s account suspension in January.

Throughout his tenure as president, Trump’s use of social media posed a significant challenge to major social media platforms that sought to balance the public’s interest in hearing from public officials with worries about misinformation, bigotry, harassment and incitement of violence.

But in a speech at an auto conference in May, Musk asserted that Twitter’s ban of Trump was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.”

Earlier this month, Musk, who completed the $44 billion takeover of Twitter in late October, declared that the company wouldn’t let anyone who had been kicked off the site return until Twitter had established procedures on how to do so, including forming a “content moderation council.”

On Friday, Musk tweeted that the suspended Twitter accounts for the comedian Kathy Griffin, the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and the conservative Christian news satire website Babylon Bee had been reinstated. He added that a decision on Trump had not yet been made. He also responded “no” when someone on Twitter asked him to reinstate the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ account.

In a tweet Friday, the Tesla CEO described the company’s new content policy as “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.”

Click here to read the full article at the OC Register

California Governor Set to Release $1B for Homelessness

California Gov. Gavin Newsom agreed to release $1 billion in state homelessness funding he testily put on pause earlier this month, but only if local governments agree to step up the aggressiveness of their plans going forward to reduce the number of unhoused people in the state.

The Democratic governor said his afternoon meeting Friday with about 100 mayors and local officials in person and virtually was productive, with leaders getting on the same page about what needs to be done and willing to step up on their goals.

“It was nice to hear their progress. And it was nice to hear their recognition that we have to get to another level,” he said to reporters after the two-hour plus meeting. “What I want to see is what everybody wants to see: the streets of California cleaned up. We want to see encampments cleaned up, we want to see people housed.”

Newsom, who coasted to reelection this month, is on the hook in his second term to show reductions in the growing number of unhoused individuals, some of whom camp out along city sidewalks and under highway underpasses, exasperating even the most politically liberal voters in the country’s most populous state.

He stunned the state when he announced two weeks ago that he would withhold $1 billion in spending until cities and counties came up with more robust plans, calling submitted plans “simply unacceptable” as they would collectively reduce the state’s homeless population by just 2% over the next four years.

Mayors and county officials — many of whom are Democrats — as well as advocates for low-income housing pushed back against his effort to withhold funding, saying it was counterproductive to hold money needed for shelter beds, outreach workers and other services for unhoused people. They pleaded with the governor for more direction — as well as guaranteed, ongoing funding to build more ambitious plans.

On Friday, he reiterated the record amount of money his administration has spent on housing and homelessness, including a recent commitment by state lawmakers to spend $15.3 billion over the next three years. The money has kept tens of thousands of people housed, he said, but acknowledged people were not seeing results on the streets.

Newsom said he had no plans on turning his back on local governments, but that “finding new dedicated money as we enter into what could be a recession with the headwinds, one has to be sober about that — just as they’re sober about that with their budgets.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg defended Newsom, saying after the meeting that he understood the governor’s need to provoke local governments into action. He praised Newsom for his leadership on the issue — from converting motels into homes to new mental health courts to treat homeless people with schizophrenia and other serious mental health conditions.

But not everyone understood the point of Friday’s meeting.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who joined virtually, said there were too many people and little room for “forthright, constructive dialogue.” He and other mayors were told several days ago that Newsom planned to release the money if they submitted new plans.

Broadly, the governor seemed to be on a different page than the state housing department, which worked with San Jose and other cities on their original plans, said Liccardo, also a Democrat.

“There seems to be countervailing notions about what is required,” he said.

The California State Association of Counties was blunt in its criticism.

“We can’t fix an ongoing crisis with one-time commitments. Progress requires clear state, county, and city roles aligned with sustainable, equitable funding. We need to get out of our own way and work together,” said Graham Knaus, executive director of the association that represents the state’s 58 counties.

Addressing homelessness has for decades been left to local governments in California, but Newsom took office in 2019 vowing to own an issue he said he understood intimately as a former mayor of San Francisco, where tent encampments crowd sidewalks and people in clear mental health crisis are a common sight.

California had an estimated 161,000 unhoused people in 2020 with the number expected to be higher this year, the result of the state’s high cost of housing and historic under-building of homes. Advocates for the homeless say that they can’t keep up and that even as they find housing for some, many more lose their homes.

That possibility of a separate funding stream for homelessness became dimmer this week after state officials announced Wednesday that California will likely have a $25 billion budget deficit next year after a run of historic surpluses.

The state’s 13 largest cities, 58 counties and 44 groups of homeless service providers submitted 75 applications detailing their plans for spending $1 billion in what was the third round of disbursements.

An additional $1 billion is on the table, but Newsom won’t release that money unless those governments pledge “to be more aggressive across the board,” said Erin Mellon, spokesperson for the governor’s office. Plans are due in two weeks.

Applicants also must agree to implement as many best practices as possible, including more efficient methods of getting people into housing and streamlining the building of more homes for poor and extremely poor households.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

GOP Elites Want to Turn from Trump. Will the Base Let Them?

Forget the scathing editorials from conservative media blaming former President Trump for the GOP’s mediocre midterm. Never mind their underwhelmed reception to his 2024 presidential launch. Disregard the major donors who are bailing this time around.

Keith Korsgaden is firmly on board for a Trump reprise. He’s quite sure he’s not alone.

“There are 74 million people that voted for Donald Trump in 2020, and those 74 million of us still feel the same way — that he’s one of us,” Korsgaden said. The Visalia restaurant owner has been a Trump supporter since that momentous descent down Trump Tower’s escalator in 2015.

There may not be quite the unanimity that Korsgaden predicts, but his loyalty underscores a stark reality: Republican power brokers may be ready to break from Trump, but a significant slice of Republican voters? Not so much.

As the 2022 midterm election wheezes to an end, the start of the 2024 campaign feels both uncharted and uncannily familiar. Trump began his bid for a comeback — the first attempt by a former president since Herbert Hoover — as the front-runner for the Republican nomination who nonetheless appears vulnerable to a serious intra-party challenge.

The fundamental question facing the Republican Party during this long run-up to the next election is who truly is in control: the elected officials and opinion leaders who have shaped their party’s agenda from the top, or the grassroots bloc of Trump faithful who have ruled from below. The latter may have shrunk in numbers since the former president left office, but they still command outsize influence in GOP primaries — and there may be just enough of them to propel Trump forward in a crowded field of competitors.

Republicans face daunting scenarios: an ugly primary battle that could aggravate ideological tensions within the party, or an easy waltz to the nomination by a candidate with proven unpopularity among crucial voters such as women and independents.

“I don’t believe he is completely intractable from the Republican Party,” said Mike Madrid, an anti-Trump GOP consultant. “Here’s what I do believe — I believe the Republicans have so swallowed the hook that when you rip it out, it’ll bring up all its guts and probably kill it.”

Republican elites have been here before, publicly breaking from Trump after the predatory vulgarity of the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape, his equivocation in denouncing white supremacists in Charlottesville, and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that was catalyzed by his false allegations of election fraud. But so long as Trump was able to mobilize infrequent voters to back him or his endorsed candidates, his influence on the party was never in doubt.

It may be different this time. In tones typically reserved for Trump, media personalities are speaking reverently about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 19-point romp to reelection. The party’s strong performance in Florida’s congressional races also enhanced DeSantis’ reputation for carrying down-ballot candidates to victory. By contrast, top party figures have pointedly noted, Republicans have struggled in three consecutive national elections since Trump won the White House in 2016.

“If a political party can’t stay committed to their central premise, which is winning elections, then what’s the point?” said David Kochel, a veteran Republican strategist.

There is some evidence the GOP is ready to move on. A recent NBC poll found that 62% of Republicans said they considered themselves more a supporter of the party than of Trump, the highest number since the question was first polled in January 2019. Club for Growth, a conservative group once allied with Trump, circulated pollsshowing DeSantis with a healthy lead over the former president in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states on the path to the GOP nomination, as well as Florida and Georgia.

Christine Matthews, a pollster who has Republican clients, said the sense that primary voters ready to look beyond Trump is “very real,” driven by their belief that he is hobbled by his antagonistic relationship with the media.

“They’re able to justify moving on from him by saying, ‘The media will never give him a fair shot. They’ll always be against him. So even though we really like him and think his policies were great, it’s probably time for someone new,’” Matthews said.

So far, the consensus pick for that someone new is DeSantis, who offers the former president’s instinct for culture war combat in a less chaotic presentation. 

“DeSantis is the stock to buy, Trump is the stock to sell in politics,” said Matt Mackowiak, a Texas-based GOP strategist.

The most pressing challenge for DeSantis will be how to parry Trump’s attacks, Mackowiak said. The Florida governor “has survived a lot of attacks from a lot of people, but Trump is different. He just is.”

By announcing his bid before the Senate runoff race in Georgia next month, Trump risks even more of a rupture with his party if Republicans end up losing that race.

Many GOP operatives still smart over the Georgia Senate runoff in January 2021, when Trump’s fixation on his election loss dampened turnout among his supporters and Democrats went on to win the two races and control of the Senate. 

One of those victors, Sen. Raphael Warnock, is hoping Trump will have a similar effect on the electorate this time around. On Thursday, his campaign released an ad that is solely footage from Trump’s 2024 announcement, in which the former president endorses Warnock’s GOP challenger, Herschel Walker. The commercial ends with two taglines: “Stop Donald Trump” and “Stop Herschel Walker.”

Some of Trump’s onetime allies in conservative media have been withering in their criticism about his drag on the party after his preferred candidates flopped in key Senate and House races in last week’s election. The New York Post has been especially lacerating; the day following his 2024 kickoff, it tersely teased “Florida Man Makes Announcement” on the cover and buried the story about the speech on page 26 with the headline, “Been there, Don that.”

Other outlets greeted Trump’s candidacy with similarly unenthused headlines. “Trump 3.0 is a changed man — he’s now a loser,” said the Washington Examiner. “Oh, Trump Believes in Yesterday,” opined Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal. The National Review’s take was simply titled, “No.”

“The way and force [with which] they’ve turned on him has blown my hair back,” said Howard Polskin, whose daily newsletter, TheRighting, rounds up headlines from the conservative media ecosystem.

But recent GOP history is full of cautionary tales about the challenges of reorienting the party, especially if its most committed voters aren’t on board.

In 2012, after two consecutive bruising presidential losses, party stalwarts decided it was necessary to remake Republicans’ image. Fox News’ Sean Hannity said he “evolved” in his thinking on immigration and endorsed a pathway to citizenship. The Republican National Committee commissioned what was widely called an autopsy, which prescribed softening stances on social issues and promoted immigration reform as a way to attract voters of color, young people and women. 

The Republican grassroots felt differently. Conservative shock jock Rush Limbaugh railed against the document. Four years later, the party backed a candidate whose hard-line immigration stance could be summed up with the phrase, “Build the Wall.”

“We were projecting what we thought was going to be best for the party onto the voters, rather than listening to what the voters wanted and trying to fashion a party that appeals to them,” said Tim Miller, a former RNC official who worked on the report.

For years, party leaders tried to steer conservatives to more electable candidates, leading to John McCain and Mitt Romney becoming the GOP nominees. Both lost in the general election.

“Donald Trump broke the mystique” of that strategy, Miller said, by being a candidate who gave the grassroots what they wanted and still won a general election. Now, “it’s hard to see them buying an electability argument again,” said Miller, who has been a fierce Trump critic.

Despite myriad commentators and editorials decrying Trumpism as a cause for the most recent GOP disappointments, some supporters of the former president haven’t been persuaded.

“Blaming President Trump is preposterous,” said Celeste Greig, a longtime GOP activist from Northridge. She said the fault lies more with poor campaign efforts by local and state parties.

Greig said that in her wide network of conservative stalwarts, “I haven’t found any of my friends, any of my acquaintances, that said he shouldn’t run.”

For all the high-profile breaks from Trump, others were quick to show their support. Grassroots favorites such as Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia swiftly endorsed Trump’s 2024 bid. Sen.-elect J.D. Vance of Ohio, who won the primary thanks to the former president’s backing, penned an op-ed titled, “Don’t Blame Trump.” 

“What will be critical to watch will be how Fox News prime time treats him,” said Polskin, who tracks conservative media. “They are by far the biggest megaphone in the biggest right-wing media universe.” 

The crowded right-wing media ecosphere may also pressure some of the bigger outlets to return to Trump’s camp. When Fox News recognized Biden’s 2020 win, Trump publicly bashed the channel and urged his supporters to move to smaller, more hard-line channels — OAN and Newsmax — and Fox’s ratings plunged

Even if this current antagonistic tone persists from major outlets, a vast array of podcasts, streaming shows and conservative websites will continue to generate plenty of Trump-aligned content.

“We’re in a new media terrain,” said Heather Hendershot, professor of film and media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, contrasting the monolithic audience in the network era to the current fractured media landscape. “You can’t point back to as splintered a moment as it is today.”

That’s a reason Korsgaden, the committed Trump fan, has not been swept up in the DeSantis fervor of the major conservative outlets. He is not a fan of Trump’s swipes at the Florida governor, but he thinks DeSantis has plenty of time for a White House bid in the future. And good luck to any media personality or party leader who tries to convince him otherwise.

Click here to read the full article on LA Times

What Divided Government Means for Washington

Republicans’ narrow control of the House of Representatives will usher in a return to divided government in Washington next year, likely shattering the chances of any major legislation, stoking divisions within the GOP and putting President Biden on defense as the new Congress investigates his administration.

Mr. Biden, who downsized his agenda to get bills through a Congress narrowly controlled by Democrats, will now have to contend with House Republicans who have said they plan to pressure him to cut government spending and make other policy changes by threatening to withhold votes to keep the government open or to ensure that the U.S. meets its debt obligations.

The extent of their leverage will likely be limited by Republicans’ performance in the midterms, which fell far short of the blowout many in the party had predicted. The GOP has won enough seats to capture the House majority, the Associated Press said. But supporters of former President Donald Trump and congressional leaders were already blaming each other for the smaller-than-expected margin, a possible sign of divisions to come.

Legislating will likely grind to a near halt, including some bills that once saw bipartisan support but have recently drawn skepticism from Republicans, such as assistance for Ukraine in defending itself against Russia. Republicans will get to push a competing agenda if they can hold their caucus together on key priorities—a daunting task with such a small majority.

“Everybody’s relevant, nobody’s irrelevant,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R., Ky.). When asked what the razor-thin majority would look like, he said: “Go ask Joe Manchin,” referring to the centrist Democrat who is a key swing vote in the Senate.

Republican leaders say their plans include boosting border security, restricting abortion, encouraging more pay for police and reversing Democrats’ plans to expand the Internal Revenue Service. They will also use their oversight authority to investigate the Biden administration and the president’s family.

“A new Republican House is going to view its mandate as to stop the Biden administration, and I don’t see a whole lot of opportunities for them to necessarily work together,” said Brendan Buck, who worked for Paul Ryan and John Boehner when they were GOP House speakers.

Democrats won a crucial victory in Nevada to retain their hold on the Senate, regardless of the outcome of a coming runoff in the Georgia Senate race. The Democrats’ slim majority in the Senate means a priority for the party in the next two years will be confirming Mr. Biden’s nominees for judges and positions in the executive branch.

Meanwhile, the 2024 presidential campaign is kicking off, with Mr. Trump on Tuesday announcing another run for president.

Several of Mr. Trump’s endorsed candidates lost key races, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is seen as a potential challenger to Mr. Trump for the GOP presidential nomination, won easily. The shadow primary could deepen divisions within the House GOP’s narrow majority between Mr. Trump’s loyalists and those ready to move on.

Mr. Biden said after the midterms that it remains his intention to run again but said he wasn’t in a hurry, adding that he expected to make a decision by early next year. Democrats’ performance in the midterms could help Mr. Biden fend off any potential primary challengers as he makes his final decision.

Still, more voters disapproved than approved of the job being done by the president, and more than half of the electorate thinks Mr. Biden, 79 years old, lacks “the mental capacity to effectively serve as president,” according to preliminary results from a poll of more than 94,000 registered voters for The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and Fox News.

The midterm results add Mr. Biden to the list of U.S. presidents who lost House majorities roughly two years after they took office, but unlike his immediate predecessors, Mr. Biden staved off heavy losses.

Former President Barack Obama—who in 2010 lost more than 60 seats and control of the House and saw Democrats’ Senate majority narrowed by six seats—called the outcome a shellacking. Mr. Trump responded to his party’s setback in 2018—when Republicans lost more than 40 seats in the House and the majority—with a defiant, nearly 90-minute press conference. Congressional probes followed both elections; Mr. Trump was impeached twice and acquitted twice in the Senate.

After wrangling members of their own parties to pass some priorities in the first two years of their presidencies, Messrs. Obama and Trump turned to executive authority after the midterms, as Mr. Biden is expected to do. Mr. Biden and Democrats would likely block most Republican proposals. Overriding a veto requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate.

Republicans say they could use must-pass bills to push for spending cuts and other priorities, threatening government shutdowns, but it could be difficult to unite the conference around a strategy. The government was shut down in 2013 under Mr. Obama, when some Republicans pushed to repeal Obamacare as part of a spending package. A spending fight between Congress and the Trump administration after the 2018 midterms turned into the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

Generally in shutdowns, government employees miss paychecks, but essential government functions remain open. They haven’t significantly affected economic output, but a prolonged stalemate can affect the stock market. They can have a negative effect politically as polls in recent years have shown voters disapprove of shutdowns.

“When you’ve got divided government, you have the tools that you have at your disposal, and walking away from those tools is dereliction of duty,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R., Texas). “You’re not going to pass grand bipartisan bills to save America.”

Mr. Biden said at a press conference recently that voters don’t want constant political fighting and that he plans to invite leaders of both parties to the White House in the coming weeks.

“I’m prepared to work with my Republican colleagues,” he said. “The American people made clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.)—who is favored to become speaker in the new Congress, though he faces an uphill climb in securing the needed votes—has pointed to legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling as an opportunity to push for spending cuts. In 2011, a standoff with the GOP-controlled House over the debt ceiling sent stocks plunging, leading to Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating for the first time.

Mr. McCarthy has said the House GOP wouldn’t write a blank check for aid to Ukraine, and he has said House Republicans will try to undo legislation that gave the IRS $80 billion to hire tens of thousands of workers, audit more high-income Americans, improve taxpayer service and implement better technology.

Many GOP lawmakers have signed on to a proposed federal abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy, which Democrats campaigned against ahead of the midterms. Early results show the issue helped Democrats win in many races. A survey compiled by the Associated Press found that 10% of those who voted called it the most important issue.

“On the debt limit, on funding the government, on Ukraine, on a whole host of issues, every piece of legislation is going to be about trying to get it across the finish line with someone having a problem that they need to contend with,” said Ron Bonjean, a former senior House GOP aide. “It’s going to be legislative quicksand for the next couple of years.”

Although there is little appetite for major bipartisan bills, there could be support from both parties for narrow bills dealing with regulations on cryptocurrency, tech companies and China, some lawmakers and aides said.

Separate from the legislative jockeying, House Republicans are preparing broad investigations of the Biden administration, including scrutiny of the president’s handling of the southern border. The U.S. Border Patrol arrested a record 2.2 million people caught crossing the southern border illegally in the past year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Lawmakers have also said they would look into the U.S.’s chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan; the origins of the Covid-19 virus and pandemic policies; and the foreign business dealings of Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden. Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing. The younger Mr. Biden has said the Justice Department is investigating whether he paid his taxes.

They could also look into the Justice Department’s operations under Attorney General Merrick Garland, who infuriated many GOP lawmakers when he authorized the application for a warrant to seize records with classified material that Mr. Trump took to his home in Florida. The search was part of an investigation into possible mishandling of classified information as well as violations of laws governing retention of presidential records. Mr. Trump has called the probe an effort by Democrats to undermine him.

The White House bolstered its legal team over the summer, hiring Washington defense lawyer Richard Sauber and Ian Sams, who was a spokesman for Vice President Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign. That group is expected to grow ahead of the new Congress, according to people familiar with the planning.

Top Republicans have played down the possibility of impeaching Mr. Biden, but rank-and-file members, who would likely have more power in a narrow House majority, have called for such a move. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R., Ga.) has introduced articles of impeachment against Mr. Biden.

During the Obama administration, Republicans dug into the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and a government loan guarantee to the failed solar company Solyndra.

Click here to read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

Democrat Christy Smith, Losing Ground, Blames Her Own Party

With Mike Garcia winning blue district again, she says she got ‘next to zero’ help.

The race for a hotly contested Los Angeles-area congressional district had not been called, but Democrat Christy Smith sensed she would end up on the losing end. And she felt there was a clear reason why.

“Our campaign got next to zero outside resources to fight this battle. In fact, I was fighting the institutional power of my own party from the outset of this race,” Smith said in a scathing series of remarks on Twitter.

With no help on the airwaves and little elsewhere from Democratic Party committees and PACs, she said, “we didn’t stand a chance.”

Smith is no different from scores of other candidates who believe victory would’ve been theirs if not for stingy support from Washington. But her unusually blunt remarks Sunday highlighted the stark turn of events in the campaign for California’s 27th District — a contest in which Democrats were expected to mount an all-out effort to oust incumbent Rep. Mike Garcia after he barely eked out a win two years earlier.

“This is a massive screw-up on their end,” said political consultant Brandon Zavala, who ran Smith’s 2020 campaign but did not work on this year’s race. “We’re looking here at a Biden plus-12 [district] that we’re about to hand to Republicans.”

The typical postelection second-guessing of spending decisions has sharpened with Democrats exceeding expectations in this midterm election. Instead of losing control of the House in a rout, the party nearly held the GOP to a draw, with Republicans probably now on track to have a bare-bones majority.

Now, it appears every spending decision in close races in California and across the country could have tipped the balance enough for Democrats to keep House control.

Veterans of past midterm elections cautioned that such armchair quarterbacking misses the whole picture of how parties decide where to devote resources.

“In hindsight in any election, the easiest thing to say is, ‘I wish I had done more of X,’ ” said Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist and a former top official for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The hardest thing is, ‘I would’ve done less of Y’ in order to pay for it.”

Smith’s woes underscored a particular challenge for candidates running in the Los Angeles media market, where reaching voters via television can be prohibitively expensive. In a year when Democrats were playing defense all across the country, the party opted to stay out of Los Angeles’ broadcast market entirely — a decision that reverberated through closely watched congressional races.

In Orange County, Democrat Jay Chen was outspent by roughly $5 million, according to AdImpact, a firm that tracks TV and digital ads, in his unsuccessful bid to unseat GOP Rep. Michelle Steel, who got millions of dollars of assistance from the House GOP campaign arm and allied outside groups. GOP Rep. Young Kim had around $500,000 more in advertising than her Democratic challenger, Asif Mahmood, whom she easily defeated.

Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, who remains locked in a close contest with Republican challenger Scott Baugh in Orange County, also got no advertising help from the House’s Democratic campaign committee, although her commanding fundraising meant she had plenty of funds to outspend her opponent.

In Riverside County, Will Rollins, the Democrat who challenged incumbent Republican Rep. Ken Calvert, had a slight advantage on-air, but his unexpectedly narrow loss made some allies wonder whether more party help could’ve made a difference.

“With greater investment from the party leadership, Democrats could have flipped the [seat]. We hope the close nature of this race leads to a meaningful investment in this district — and in breakthrough candidates like Will — moving forward,” the liberal nonprofit group Square One said in a statement.

The Rollins and Mahmood campaigns declined to comment about party spending decisions. A Chen spokesman praised the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for its help reaching the district’s multicultural voters, including with digital advertising in Vietnamese, Korean and Mandarin. “While the outcome in this race fell short of what we had hoped for, the DCCC … was an engaged partner,” spokesman Orrin Evans said.

Los Angeles was one of the most expensive media markets in the nation even before a flood of advertising for the city’s mayoral race and statewide gaming initiatives pushed prices higher.

Sheri Sadler, a veteran Democratic media buyer, said the market was so expensive that she didn’t place ads in L.A. for state controller candidate Malia Cohen. “You have to have a war chest in L.A.; that’s just the way it is,” Sadler said, adding that the effectiveness of broadcast ads is declining as viewing habits change.

“The prices keep going up and the ratings keep going down,” she said.

Drew Godinich, a Democratic strategist, said such costly media markets can “act as protective bubbles for incumbents.”

“For challenger candidates, it’s a high barrier to entry — the cost of first defining yourself positively, and then defining your opponent, is nearly prohibitively expensive,” said Godinich, who worked for the DCCC in California in 2018.

Nowhere was the party’s absence more acute than in the 27th Congressional District, which includes Santa Clarita, the Antelope Valley and parts of the San Fernando Valley. The once-solidly GOP region has grown more Democratic as Los Angeles residents moved there for affordable housing. Redistricting — the every-decade redrawing of congressional maps following the census — made the district even bluer by excising conservative Simi Valley.

Garcia handily beat Smith in a special election in 2020 and by just 333 votes for a full term later that year. In that election, Smith, along with the DCCC and House Majority PAC, which is affiliated with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), spent nearly $10 million.

Soon after winning reelection, Garcia joined 146 other House Republicans in objecting to the full counting of electoral college votes in January 2021 an effort to overturn Biden’s win in the presidential election. The vote came just hours after supporters of then-President Trump overran the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Garcia maintained a conservative voting record: He opposed impeaching Trump for his role in the insurrection, voted against citizenship for “Dreamers” and co-sponsored legislation that would have in effect banned abortions nationwide.

But he also worked on issues tailored to the district, particularly regarding military families and veterans — a potent issue in a region with deep ties to the armed forces and the aerospace industry. His ads highlighted his background as a former Navy fighter pilot and focused on fiscal issues such as lowering taxes.

Smith, in an interview, said she lacked the money to tell voters about his record, a message she believes could have tipped the race.

“Absolutely, it would have made a difference,” she said, adding she had gotten “hammered” by outside Republican groups’ TV ads.

With the possibility that the district would be “the tipping point to hold the House,” Smith said on Twitter, “the utter lack of investment made no sense.”

Smith also faulted national Democrats for recruiting former Navy intelligence officer John Quaye Quartey to run against her in the primary. (Quartey’s campaign declined to comment on the issue, as did the DCCC.) Smith said she and her allies had to spend heavily in the primary to defeat Quartey, who ultimately received single-digit support.

Garcia and GOP groups spent over $7 million on advertising between Labor Day and election day, while Smith spent less than $1 million; Democratic allies spent under $50,000 on digital ads, according to AdImpact.

This year, the House Majority PAC initially booked $3.3 million in television time in Los Angeles, but canceled it, as they did in other races around the country. A spokesman for the committee did not respond to a request for comment.

The DCCC never booked a dime. A spokeswoman said the committee faced unprecedented spending by Republican groups.

“We had to make tough calls and fully invest in the candidates we believed could not only get close, but win difficult races in California and nationwide,” said Maddy Mundy, a DCCC spokeswoman.

The National Republican Congressional Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund, which spent heavily promoting Garcia, did not respond to requests for comment. Nor did Garcia’s campaign.

As of Tuesday evening, the race had not been called by the Associated Press. Republicans remained on the cusp of capturing the House majority, needing only one more win.

Garcia declared victory the day after the election and applauded Smith for “jumping in the ring again.”

While Smith has not conceded, she acknowledges that overcoming Garcia’s lead is unlikely. She said in an interview that she felt it was important to speak out before the race is called.

“I wanted to put the narrative out at a time when hopefully it didn’t seem like sour grapes,” Smith said. “Regardless of the outcome of this particular race, I still have a responsibility as a Democratic leader in the state to highlight areas where we could be doing better.”

Jacob Rubashkin, an analyst with Inside Elections, a nonpartisan campaign newsletter, said he was sympathetic to Smith, but he also recognized why national Democrats pulled back.

“You have to consider, any Democrat that’s losing any Democratic district, that is being won by a Republican despite Joe Biden carrying it by double digits, has to be considered a missed opportunity,” he said. “But I’m not surprised at all by this result.”

He said Smith’s history in the district explained the party’s decisions.

“I think Democrats took a look at 2020, when Joe Biden won the [district] by 11 points or so — they spent $10 million to support Christy Smith trying to beat Mike Garcia. Then she came up just short. Then they looked at how her campaign was going over the summer. And they triaged. They decided that the money was better spent elsewhere,” Rubashkin said.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Oakland Voters OK Noncitizen Voting in School Board Races, but the Measure Might Never Go Into Effect

Oakland voters say noncitizen parents or guardians of school-age children should be allowed to vote in school board elections. The issue now heads to the City Council — and after that, to the courts, which already are wrestling with a similar law in San Francisco.

Measure S, approved by 62% of the voters last Tuesday, would not immediately allow voting by non-U.S. citizens but would authorize such action by the City Council, which voted in June to place the measure on the ballot. Council members said noncitizens, including legal residents and undocumented immigrants, make up 14% of Oakland’s population and currently lack “representation in key decisions that impact their education and their lives.” About 13,000 are parents or guardians of children younger than 18.

The question now is whether the forthcoming ordinance conflicts with a long-standing provision of the California Constitution that declares, “A United States citizen 18 years of age and resident in this State may vote.”

A 2016 San Francisco ballot measure, the first in the state, allowed noncitizen parents to vote in school board elections, starting in 2018. This July, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer ordered a halt to noncitizen voting in the city, saying the constitutional provision allowed only U.S. citizens to vote and could not be overridden by a local government. But the state’s First District Court of Appeal put Ulmer’s ruling on hold while the case was on appeal and allowed noncitizens to vote for school board candidates last week.

The conservative groups that challenged San Francisco’s measure, the United States Justice Foundation and the California Public Policy Foundation, also filed suit to remove Measure S from the Oakland ballot. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Michael Markman denied their request in August, saying it was premature because the measure would merely allow the City Council to pass a voting-rights ordinance. Markman said at a hearing that he thought Ulmer was probably right in deciding the state Constitution allowed only citizens to vote, but also observed that the issue would most likely be decided by higher courts.

Attorney James V. Lacy, leader of the two groups, says he plans to file another suit, probably in December, to challenge the expected Oakland ordinance. Lacy has contended the local measures would allow citizens’ votes to be “diluted” by noncitizens. He also argued — and Ulmer agreed — that the state Constitution allows only U.S. citizens to vote.

In his ruling in July, Ulmer said the Constitution’s declaration that citizens “may vote” was intended to prohibit others from voting. If “may” was changed to “shall,” he said, all citizens would be required to vote, which is the law in some nations but not in the United States. And if the provision saying citizens “may vote” does not exclude noncitizens, as the city contends, Ulmer said it would also allow children or non-Californians to vote in local elections.

Eligibility to vote, the judge said, is a matter of “statewide concern” and is not subject to varying rules by local governments, even self-governing charter cities, which include both San Francisco and Oakland.

Appeals courts, and possibly the state Supreme Court, will have the last word on noncitizen voting. But the San Francisco case is back before Ulmer, and City Attorney David Chiu’s office is urging him to reconsider the state constitutional language.

The Constitution “does not say only citizens may vote,” and leaves the door open for greater eligibility in local elections, Deputy City Attorney James Emery wrote in a filing with Ulmer last week. “Charter cities may serve as laboratories of democracy demonstrating the benefits of noncitizen voting in local contests.”

Emery cited a 1992 state Supreme Court ruling allowing Los Angeles to provide city funds to candidates for local offices, despite a state ballot measure that prohibited public funding of political campaigns. The filing also offered appreciative statements from some noncitizen parents who had voted in San Francisco school board elections.

“For the first time in my life,” said Hwaji Shin, a lawful permanent resident and mother of a child in elementary school, “ I felt like I was a full member of the school community whose voice matters.”

Click here to read the full article at the San Francisco Chronicle

This failed California ballot prop spent 50 times more for each yes vote than the abortion measure

Prop 27 spent nearly $100 per vote; Prop 1 spent less than $3

Voting is free, but your vote can be really expensive.

If you are among the 17% of voters who said “yes” to Proposition 27, about online gambling, your vote on that measure might have been one of the most hard-bought in California history. When all the votes are counted, the online gambling industry will have spent in the neighborhood of $100 for each yes vote on a measure that could go down as one of California’s most-spectacular election fails.

Combined, the committees supporting and opposing the seven propositions on the ballot this year spent over $630 million in total. But if you break that cash down per vote, the differences are gargantuan.

On the winning side, Proposition 1, which cemented abortion rights in the state constitution, spent under $3 for each yes vote. And this year’s other winners – propositions about school arts funding and tobacco – spent well under $10 per supporting vote. In the case of Proposition 31’s flavored tobacco ban, almost all of that was bankrolled by billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

With hundreds of thousands of late mail-in ballots still being tabulated, as of late Friday afternoon yes votes on Proposition 27 were still north of $150 a piece. That amount will decline over the next week as the final votes are tallied. But the margin will only get larger when comparing Proposition 27’s dollar-per-yes vote with that of successful but less-expensive measures. Tribal casinos backed a dueling sports gambling measure, Proposition 26, but spent most of their money – about $40 a vote – in a successful fight against Proposition 27.

“Even though we knew it was coming, it was just stunning how much money poured into Props. 26 and 27,” said Thad Kousser, professor of political science at UC San Diego, and co-director of the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research.

Several factors pumped up the totals this year, according to Brandon Castillo, a partner at a consulting firm that ran several ballot measures in the elections: inflation, an increasingly complex media landscape and a longer voting period.

The new vote-by-mail system in California has expanded the timeline of when people are voting, meaning advertising has to come earlier to be effective – even though blasting the airwaves in early summer wasn’t a winning strategy for Proposition 27. “It’s been a massive change,” said Castillo. “You don’t have election day, you have election month.”

Castillo thinks the “dollar per vote” analysis highlights the massive cost of these statewide elections but misses some important factors. It doesn’t take into account the baseline voter knowledge or support of an issue, which can make or break a campaign.

Abortion, for instance, is something most voters have a strong position on already so money doesn’t make much impact. Castillo thinks even $500 million could not have defeated Proposition 1. But a repeat effort to toughen regulations on dialysis clinics? Voters have to be educated by each side, and that takes money. “They don’t wake up knowing how they feel about kidney dialysis,” Castillo said.

“The ones that spend lots of money are the ones that have a really narrow base of support,” Kousser said. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money on Prop. 1. What you need to spend money on are things that only help your mobile gambling company, or your rideshare company,” he said, referring to Proposition 27 and Proposition 22 – a 2020 measure to exempt Uber, Lyft and DoorDash from a state law that classifies their drivers as employees.

California gaming tribes, online gaming companies and cardrooms spent over $420 million combined on Propositions 26 and 27, with money going for support and opposition to the two competing sports-betting propositions. Both measures came up short at the ballot box, but Propostion 27 – the subject of the most spending – lost by a larger margin.

DraftKings, FanDuel and several other online gaming companies poured $159 million into the campaign committee that sponsored Proposition 27.

The opposition to Proposition 27 spent even more than supporters of the measure, but they also got nearly five no votes for every yes vote. The “Yes on 26, No on 27” campaign, run by Castillo’s firm, spent $114 million, almost entirely on opposing Proposition 27, after early polling showed both propositions were fighting uphill battles. The other “No on 27” committee spent an additional $106 million.

Castillo was also the campaign manager for the “No on 29” committee, funded by dialysis providers, which successfully defeated the health care worker union’s challenge, on the ballot for the third time. Their firm has handled over 50 ballot measures over the past several decades, and the most expensive ballot measure campaigns in the country for the last three cycles.

Last election cycle’s biggest spenders – Uber, Lyft and DoorDash – won with Proposition 22, spending about $25 for each yes vote. But this year, the most expensive measures lost.

Will they be back again next election? It’s unclear. The dialysis measure has lost by a larger margin each year, but losing hasn’t stopped the health care worker’s union from challenging dialysis providers at the ballot box so far.

Click here to read the full article at the Mercury News

Gov. Newsom Relying on Politics and Deceit over CA’s High Gas Prices

We are witnessing political science and not climate science

Californians pay the highest income taxes in the nation, have the highest taxes on the wealthy, highest gas taxes and highest gas prices at the pump, highest housing prices, highest energy prices, most regressive taxes hurting the poor… need we keep going? California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest proposal is a new tax on oil suppliers, and will only serve to make gas prices even higher.

But CLIMATE CHANGE!

Gov. Newsom continues to demonize the oil and gas industry for “windfall oil company profits,” while patting himself on the back for “taking action to lower prices at the pump, by ordering the switch to winter-blend gasoline.” He also is “demanding accountability from oil companies and refiners that do business in California,” by calling for a windfall tax on oil companies, claiming that money “would go directly back to California taxpayers.”

We don’t believe for a minute that Gov. Newsom is woefully ignorant of the supply and demand economic model of price determination in a market. So that means the governor is relying on politics and deceit.

California’s record-high gas prices have been as high as nearly $8.00 per gallon in some locations.

Newsom cannot legislate a better climate by increasing energy costs, and turning over more energy decisions to unelected state bureaucrats, lobbyists, and activists. This is one of the worst things California’s Governor and politicians can do while claiming they are  “saving the planet,” but really harming Californians economically.

The Western States Petroleum Association has warned Gov. Newsom will start banning gasoline, diesel and even hybrid cars and trucks in 2026, well before California has an electrical grid that can handle the increased energy demand while keeping our light on, or before there are more affordable electric vehicle options for families.

Energy providers currently direct electric car owners to NOT charge their vehicles during hot days when they anticipate energy shortages and possible rolling blackouts.

The California Air Resources Board is leading this charge to fulfill Gov. Newsom’s executive order to ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035.

California is rich in natural resources which once powered the state: natural gas deposits in the Monterey Shale formation; geothermal energy, abundant rivers and waterways such as the San Joaquin River Delta and hydroelectric dams; the Pacific coastline; 85 million acres of wildlands with 17 million of those used as commercial timberland; mines and mineral resources, vast farming and agricultural lands, and hunting and fishing.

But California politicians and appointed agency officials, under pressure from radical environmental organizations and lobbyists, decided to ignore the energy producing natural resources, and instead move to an all-electric grid, and the only approved “renewable energy:” solar and wind energy, or “boutique fuels.”

In August, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California conflated climate change, drought, wildfires and the oil and gas industry through dextrous questions and weighted demographics.

The pollsters obviously had a desired conclusion, and created the questions and demographics to draw that conclusion using a significantly higher number of polled Democrats, a significantly higher number of high income Californians, and a significantly higher number of polled whites.

The PPIC poll conclusion supports Gov. Newsom’s claims about “windfall profits,” justifying his restrictions of the oil and gas industry under the guise of “climate change.”

Newsom listed oil company profits in a recent email, and then accused refiners like PBF Energy of “making more profits off of Californians than in any other state.”

In 1982, California had 43 operational oil refineries and a population of nearly 25 million; today we have 11 operational oil refineries and a population of nearly 40 million. And these 40 million residents are driving more cars, living in more houses and apartments, working in more commercial buildings, shopping in more stores, and traveling more across the state – all of which takes much more traditional energy.

The Globe has addressed Gov. Newsom’s claim that oil companies “are ripping you off. Their record profits are coming at your expense.” Newsom left out the part where in 2021 he largely killed hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in California as part of his overall plan to end oil extraction… because of Climate Change. He also announced his action to halt issuance of fracking permits by 2024.

And then Newsom claims, “Big oil was making these record profits at a time when Californians were seeing gas price hikes at the pump, despite the fact that the cost of crude oil was down.”

In October, Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) boiled down the actual problem of California’s highest-in-the-nation gas prices and gas taxes in a letter to the governor. The highlights are:

  • California’s isolated markets
  • an inability to access additional fuel that meets California’s stringent standards
  • the most hostile regulatory requirements
  • the most aggressive environmental policies
  • the extraordinary expense of cap and trade
  • the highest tax per gallon of gasoline
  • impossible standards that are not found in any other state in the nation
  • limited supply

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Unsettled California Races Could Tip US House Control

The outcome in a string of closely matched California U.S. House races that could play into control of the chamber remained unsettled Friday, as millions of ballots remained uncounted in the nation’s most populous state.

More than a dozen races in the state remained in play, though only a handful were seen as tight enough to go either way. It takes 218 seats to control the House. Republicans had locked down 211 for far, with Democrats claiming 200.

It could take days, or even weeks, to determine who gets the gavel next year.

Should Democrats fail to protect their slim majority, Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield would be in line to replace Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.

In California, the primary battlegrounds are Orange County — a suburban expanse southeast of Los Angeles that was once a GOP stronghold but has become increasingly diverse and Democratic — and the Central Valley, an inland stretch sometimes called the nation’s salad bowl for its agricultural production.

One of the tightest races matched Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, a star of the party’s progressive wing, against Republican Scott Baugh, a former legislator, in an Orange County district about equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.

Returns showed Porter expanding her narrow lead to 4,555 votes, or 51.2% to 48.8% for Baugh. Earlier, Porter’s edge had been about 3,000 votes.

In another close contest in a Democratic-leaning district north of Los Angeles, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia saw his comfortable edge over Democratic challenger Christy Smith dip slightly. His margin remained at 12 points, 56% to 44%.

Democrats have long dominated California’s congressional delegation, which is dropping to 52 seats next year, from 53 seats, because its population growth has stalled, though it remains the largest delegation in Congress.

In the current term, Republicans hold only 11 of the 53 seats in the strongly Democratic state.

With counting incomplete, Republicans claimed six races so far and were leading in six others.

Democrats tallied wins in 30 seats and were leading in 10 other contests. In two of those races, only Democrats were on the ballot, meaning the party will hold control of those seats.

But much uncertainty remained. As of Thursday, nearly 5 million ballots remained uncounted statewide.

East of Los Angeles, Republican Rep. Ken Calvert regained the lead after trailing Democrat Will Rollins. With about half the votes counted, Calvert held a 1-point edge. Calvert, first elected in 1992, is the longest serving Republican in the California congressional delegation.

In the Central Valley’s 22nd District, where about half the votes have been counted, an update showed Democrat Rudy Salas cutting into the lead held by Republican Rep. David Valadao, who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump. The two are divided by 5 points, after Valadao earlier had a more than 8-point advantage.

In a competitive district anchored in San Diego County, Democratic Rep. Mike Levin saw his edge grow slightly against Republican businessman Brian Maryott. Levin holds a 4-point margin, with about two-thirds of the votes tallied.

Click here to read the full article at AP News

Culver City Teen Voting Measure Likely to Fall Short

Even if initiative fails, proponents call effort a success by engaging youths in democracy.

Photo courtesy of Keith Ivey, Flickr.

A youth-driven push for a ballot measure to lower the voting age will probably fall short in Culver City after months of advocacy on both sides.

The ballot initiative, known as Measure VY, would allow Culver City residents as young as 16 to vote in city and school board elections. No other municipality in the country put such a proposition before voters this election cycle.

As of Thursday evening, the latest numbers from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk show 4,918 votes against the measure compared with 4,264 votes for it, a difference of about 54% to 46%.

Because the county has yet to finish tabulating ballots, Measure VY is not necessarily dead.

But Ada Meighan-Thiel, 17, said she recognizes it’s not looking good for the ballot measure. She and a dedicated grass-roots crew of her fellow Culver City High School students spent months advocating for it. But she hasn’t given up hope.

“We’re waiting for some more votes. … Whether those votes will be a bit more progressive than the ones who’ve already been counted is hard to say,” she said Wednesday. “Hopefully the margin will be a bit slimmer by the time we look next.”

City Clerk Jeremy Bocchino said Thursday that because the county coordinates all ballot counting, Culver City does not have any special insight into outstanding ballots.

“There’s no telling how many more ballots will be coming in,” Bocchino said, noting that vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by election day are counted if they are received with seven days. “Your guess is as good as mine as far as how many ballots are still out there and what the turnout may be. We have more than 28,000 registered to vote and we don’t know how many actually turned out to vote.”

Even if Measure VY ultimately fails, Meighan-Thiel said the excitement and awareness young Culver City residents built around lowering the voting age — a movement often referred to as “Vote 16” — made the effort a success.

“We still started a conversation about teen enfranchisement, and I think that’s really valuable regardless of outcome,” she said. “We recognize that political participation isn’t just about voting. It’s about being active in your community, and we did just that on the campaign trail.”

Andrew Wilkes is chief policy and advocacy officer for Generation Citizen, a nonpartisan national civics education organization that provided support to Measure VY proponents. He echoed Meighan-Thiel’s sentiments.

“If it goes the way the trend line holds, reaching 46% is a landmark accomplishment. I think it also represents the need and the desire for young people to participate in our democracy,” he said.

“The movement continues to grow in interest and strength. … This lays the groundwork for the baton to be passed to rising high school students.”

Across the U.S., a small number of communities have put ballot measures to lower the voting age before voters over the last decade. Six municipalities in Maryland now allow people as young as 16 to vote in some elections. In California, Berkeley and Oakland approved the practice in 2016 and 2020, respectively, but Alameda County has yet to implement the change.

Vote 16 proponents argue that if 16- and 17-year-olds can work and pay taxes, they should have a say in politics. They point to research showing that 16-year-olds have adult levels of cognitive capacity.

Opponents worry that people that age are too naive and impressionable to make informed political decisions. They also fret that allowing younger teens — who often lean left — to vote could disproportionately benefit more progressive candidates and causes.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times