Election Day in California

The big one to pay close attention to in California is the race for governor. It appears that Gavin Newsom will likely cruise his way into the November general election, but the real competition is who will finish second: Antonio Villaraigosa, John Cox, or John Chiang.

If John Cox, the only Republican with a chance, comes in second place and faces off against Newsom in the general election, it almost guarantees the far-left progressive Democrat with grandiose dreams of a single-payer healthcare system in CA will win be the next governor. However, if Villaraigosa or Chiang finish second, both Democrats, there is a chance a more moderate Democrat head the state – Villaraigosa who is a strong advocate for choice in education and Chiang who is more hawkish on the budget. I prefer either over Newsom.

I struggled over this vote. My heart said to vote for John Chiang (so did my brain) because his ability to articulate his message was much greater than Villaraigosa. Additionally, I felt he was the best person to leave in control of our state. Villaraigosa, however, was polling better, and I feared voting for Chiang would potentially split the moderate vote and propel John Cox to finish second.

Ultimately, like during the 2016 presidential election, I went with my gut and voted for Chiang. Democrats have a chance to rebrand themselves nationally. After years of overspending, Chiang offers the best hope to highlight the fiscal responsible side of the left. Don’t get me wrong, as a libertarian, John Chiang is far from ideal for me, however, I have to be realistic; John Chiang is as fiscally conservative as you can get to win a statewide election in California.

John Chiang states on his website that, “California should utilize 100 percent renewable and carbon-free energy by 2045.” This is incredibly important. I watch folks driving electric vehicles (EV) on the freeway all day in Los Angeles. I’d bet 15% of the homes in my neighborhood have a Tesla in their driveway (this is not a reliable statistic, only my personal perception). But that only goes as far as the grid itself. If the production of energy is by carbon producing means, it renders the EV irrelevant. Ensuring California is producing renewable energy allows consumers to fully maximize the benefits of EVs.

We’ll see how it turns out tonight.

 

CA moderates should rally behind one candidate: Chiang or Villaraigosa

Today the LA Times published the latest poll in a tight race for second place in the June Primary for California governor – Villaraigosa and Cox are within the margin of error.  If you are a supporter of any of the other Democratic candidates, say John Chiang or Delaine Eastin, but are not a supporter of Gavin Newsom, this puts you in a bit of a predicament.la-polling-for-california-s-governor-race-20180522

As a moderate voter in California, it seems there are really only two candidates that seem palatable: Chiang and Villaraigosa.

The latest poll would seem to push moderates into a certain direction; however, there are still a very substantial number of undecided voters out there that could easily sway the results at this point. With only a few days to go until the election, it’s a bit surprising so many are left unsure.

I look forward to the results, and depending on the outcome, November could be a very simple decision or very difficult.

The California Primary is upon us

George Skelton wrote a column in the LA Times as a disgruntled moderate witnessing the failings of the top-two open primary in California. I agree with his sentiment, but disagree with what he believes is the cause of the issue. Skelton argues that because voters in California continue to drift further apart and gravitate closer to their wings of each party (left-leaning voters tend to outnumber right-leaning voters 2:1), the top two finishers in the June 5 primary may well be a left-wing Democrat and a right-wing Republican. This is mainly because there are four contending Democrats – one consolidating much of the support and three others splitting the remainder. That leaves the two front-running Republicans with a good chance of finishing second.

Now, there are still a number of voters who are undecided, which could sway the results and leave Republicans totally off the ballot in the General Election. If you’re a moderate, that’s what you want to see.

Skelton wants to see the top-two system reformed. I want to give it more time to find its footing. You see, in California, with a top-two primary, voters who decline to join a political party still have the opportunity to participate in the primary process. Because party registration in the state is slowly shifting and newly registered voters are choosing to register as an “independent,” we will notice that fewer people become tied to any particular party, or at least see themselves as a more pragmatic thinker rather than a follower of some predetermined dogma.

Skelton and I disagree with the fabric of human thinking in this sense – now this isn’t to attack him, I generally enjoy his commentary and find him a very refreshing voice in the Times; however, that is my point. Voters are more informed than we like to give credit. Of course, if you are a Republican, you generally think all Republican voters have “done their homework” and those voting Democrat are misinformed or ignorant of reality. This is true on the other side, as well.

The truth is that most of us do our homework. We have our beliefs, and those beliefs are rooted in the fabric of our experiences. The more we remove ourselves from party dogmas, the more we’ll allow our experiences to influence our voting behavior, and we’ll free ourselves to think about issues based on our cultural, professional, and intellectual pasts.

Skelton isn’t wrong to fear Gavin Newsom taking on a right-wing Republican, no matter which of the two (R) candidates wins, but that’s no reason to think the system is flawed. The system is working – he says it himself – the California legislature is more moderate today than it was prior to the top-two primary system being implemented (though that’s partly due to independent redistricting).

I’m not going to publically endorse any candidates for governor; however, I do hope that either John Chiang or Antonio Villaraigosa finish in the second spot to face-off against Newsom in November. Both are more fiscally responsible than Newsom but both are socially progressive. I know who I’ll be voting for, and I’m sure that those voters who do not yet know who they’ll support are in the process of doing their best to make an informed decision.

Happy Voting California!

A lost Republican dignity

In the year 2000, the George Bush/John McCain rift in the Republican Party was real – Bush the more isolationist (if you can believe it) and McCain the globalist. There was a real fight for the lifeblood of the party. Today, just 18 years later, Bush and McCain are two among the same side of the party I used to call my own.

In 2016 as the GOP primary was really heating up and Donald Trump looked to be gaining more and more momentum, I told many around me that Republican voters were at a crossroads of identity. Ultimately I felt they were left with two drastically different candidates in respect to both ideology and personality; one a more reasonable and sensible candidate in John Kasich and the other a brash outspoken, “America First” Donald Trump.

Of course, I would argue that the “America First” model of policy will not end with America in first and is at best, myopically nativist.

I write this to say that the recent comments by White House staffer, Kelly Sadler, about Senator John McCain are shameful. Those who defend them – or are willing to overlook them – must take a deep and thoughtful look at their own moral compass. John McCain is much more than a firmer presidential candidate, he’s more than a long serving senator and representative of the State of Arizona, and he’s more than a POW from the Vietnam War – is is all of the above and a true American patriot.

I will be the first to say I don’t always support his policy points of view; however, I would never discredit the value he adds to the policy dialogue. Moreover, the class and dignity of the Bush/McCain era is in danger of extinction. Republicans across this country should be calling on Sadler’s removal – but, at least this administration “tells it like it is.”