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After California Primary . . . November’s Predicted Blue Wave May Be Turning To A Trickle

June 10, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

California symbolism was in play during the Golden State’s closely watched primary election in early June. Some of the symbolism — waves — was close at hand for the Pacific Coast state. Another part — earthquakes — came from far away but perhaps was even more important.
The touted upcoming November blue wave of liberal Democrat victories may have been turning into more of a dribble, while seismic shocks that rupture the landscape came from as far away as the other coast, in Maryland.
No doubt California still is strongly liberal Dem territory down much of its populous western coastland, but its reputed firestorm of resistance to Donald Trump flickered less fiercely from the June 5 vote.
Meanwhile, as veteran Democratic pollster and strategist Doug Schoen joined other Democratic voices across the U.S. in calling for moderation as the winning way, a Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland, Alec Ross, made the Earth shake for progressives by arrogantly denouncing President Trump as “a vulgar, demented pig demon.”
Yes, you read that remarkable effrontery right.
Ross told a primary-election debate, “When I’m governor and you are crossing from Donald Trump’s Washington into Maryland, you’re entering the resistance.”
For good measure, Ross flayed “the thugs in ICE” while expressing his ardor for “compassion, diversity, environmental stewardship,” with Maryland providing “an aspirational vision that contrasts with Donald Trump’s hateful vision.”
Maryland’s current governor is Republican Larry Hogan.
A moderate Dem strategist like Schoen must have been cringing at Ross’s rattling rhetoric that only would drive voters farther from a party they view as arrogantly elitist.
In early June, Schoen wrote at the Fox News site:
“If Democrats don’t want to squander their first real opportunity at controlling the House since 2010 — and likely their best shot for the foreseeable future — they must deliver a change in leadership, a change in policies, and a movement back to the moderate, inclusive message that won them control of government in the 1990s and the early 2000s.”
In California, resistance to Trump no longer seemed to be the mechanism for overwhelming success after that state’s GOP gubernatorial candidate whom the president endorsed, John Cox, came in second in the June 5 primary, collecting more than one million votes.
That means Cox advances to face number-one finisher and Democrat leftist Gavin Newsom for governor in November.
Under rather unusual California law, the top two finishers in the primary face off against each other in the fall, whether or not they’re members of the same political party. It would have been simple for a Democrat powerhouse state to have consigned any GOP gubernatorial candidate in the crowded field to the basement, but that didn’t happen.
Was even the Golden State tiring of having a Democratic governor after somewhat skeletal-looking, 80-year-old Jerry Brown resurrected himself to serve a second set of two terms beginning in 2011 after having done so the first time beginning in 1975?
The liberal San Francisco Chronicle noted in an editorial posted June 6 that “obscure Republicans proved competitive with prominent Democrats in contests for governor and U.S. Senate” in California.
Partisanship, the Chronicle said, “helped propel gubernatorial hopeful John Cox, a GOP newcomer from Illinois, past Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, a onetime Assembly speaker and Los Angeles mayor.”
Newsom received more than 1.3 million votes, Cox had more than one million, Villaraigosa around 544,000, and a second GOP candidate, Travis Allen, received nearly 400,000. The next two finishers in the big gubernatorial field were Democrats who received around 362,000 and 118,000 votes.
Some political chatter said that having a Republican in California’s race for governor in November will encourage GOP voter turnout.
Jim Holman, a San Diego publisher and Catholic activist, told The Wanderer that Cox’s victory was even more significant because Republican foe Travis Allen ran to the right of Cox as a truer Trumpster.
A June 4 report in the online Times of San Diego described a pre-election Allen rally outside that city’s Administration Building: “Surrounded by several dozen supporters wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats and waving tiny American flags, the Orange County assemblyman…said he’s the only Republican candidate capable of fitting a Ronald Reagan-esque ‘rock-solid conservative’ mold.”
Holman also said there was a “bright side” to GOP turnout in Orange County’s congressional districts, where “the GOP total votes were higher than the Dem totals.”
Washington Examiner electoral analyst Michael Barone noted seven California House districts currently held by Republicans that were carried by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Barone posted on June 7: “The good news for Republicans is that these districts look less Democratic than they did in November 2016. Hillary Clinton outpolled Donald Trump in all seven districts then, but this time Republican candidates got combined majorities of 53 percent to 63 percent in six of the seven. And in the seventh, the total Democratic lead was just 51 percent to 48 percent.”
Russell Berman, a staff writer for The Atlantic, posted on June 6 that Cox’s “26 percent…was surprisingly strong, easily outpacing former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who won just 13.5 percent. Cox was likely helped by late support from Trump, who tweeted twice in his favor in the closing days of the race and cheered the results on Wednesday morning,” June 6.
The day after the California primary, a conservative radio talk host in neighboring Arizona said, “There’s no longer any talk of a blue wave. It’s not out there.”
Added James T. Harris, a talk host at Phoenix-based KFYI (550 AM), “There’s going to be a red wave” in November.
Northern California conservative commentator Barbara Simpson told The Wanderer on June 6 that “the BIG one” among California results was the governor’s race, which “turned out well for Republicans and, while satisfying for Democrats, promises a wild November battle.”
There were 27 gubernatorial candidates on the primary ballot, none identified by party, she said.
A “swell of GOP votes in southern California surprised experts,” she said, giving Cox a boost to come in ahead of Villaraigosa.
The San Francisco Chronicle editorial also noted that while two Democrats will face off in November for a U.S. Senate seat, the number-two finisher, Democrat Kevin de Leon, wasn’t that far ahead of “a largely unknown Republican, James Bradley,” in third place.
The Chronicle reported that de Leon won 11.3 percent of the vote, while Bradley got nine percent. De Leon is running to the left of liberal Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
De Leon, with around 437,000 votes, is to face incumbent Democrat Feinstein, who scored 1.7 million votes. De Leon “faces a huge challenge — Feinstein took nearly 44 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary,” a Chronicle news story said. “She has served in the Senate since 1992 and is seeking a fifth full term.”

McCain And Obamacare

Meanwhile, in Arizona speculation remains on the boil about seriously ill Sen. John McCain continuing to hold his title although not having been in the nation’s capital since last December. Were his seat to become vacant, moderate conservative and McCain friend Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey would name a replacement to sit until a 2020 election.
When word recently circulated that McCain may want his wife, Cindy, to replace him, adverse reaction sprang up. She is viewed as to his left politically.
Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state running against Ducey in the August 28 Arizona gubernatorial primary, quickly made a campaign issue of the chatter.
In a May 31 email, Bennett said: “I want Arizona to know that I will not appoint Cindy McCain to the U.S. Senate as the Arizona governor. John McCain’s ‘thumbs down’ is the reason we still have Obamacare, and his wife will vote the same way. And Gov. Ducey told him to do it. Obamacare is a job killer and hurting small businesses in Arizona, and it needs to be repealed.
“I thank Sen. McCain for his service to this country and have the highest respect for the sacrifices he has made, but I am running to be the governor of Arizona and am not afraid to make tough decisions. I will use the position of governor to rid us of Obamacare however I can,” Bennett said.
“Who would I appoint? The person who will vote ‘thumbs up’ on repealing all of Obamacare, and who displays a clear record of being pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, is committed to securing the border, and who will support helping Trump make NAFTA a ‘Fair Trade’ deal,” he said.
A longtime foe of McCain, local conservative GOP activist Rob Haney, told The Wanderer on June 6 that since “Ducey moved to Arizona in his youth, he has had very close ties to the McCain political syndicate of betrayal and corruption. No doubt, McCain has already made it clear to Ducey who should be appointed as the senator’s successor.
“McCain’s establishment allies would have also been advised of his pick, to ensure that Ducey stays in line, whether McCain is alive or dead, when his successor is announced,” Haney said. “However, I do not believe McCain will resign. He would want to avoid giving Ducey’s primary opponent, . . . Ken Bennett, an opportunity to attack Ducey prior to the primary election for appointing an obvious McCain RINO successor.
“In any case, Bennett should use every opportunity to tie Ducey to McCain to energize the anti-McCain Republican primary vote,” he said.

The Conservative Logjam

Conservative GOP political consultant Constantin Querard told The Wanderer on June 5 that Ducey’s selection “will carry major consequences, the way a president picking a Supreme Court justice makes a huge difference electorally. If he wants to make the base happy, he could pick one of our conservative congressmen — (Andy) Biggs, (David) Schweikert, or (Paul) Gosar, for example. Each of them would be a massive improvement over John McCain.”
Querard also raised the possibility that Ducey could solve a current GOP standoff by naming former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to the vacancy. Arpaio, who turns 86 on June 14, is one of three candidates in the August Republican primary to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by unpopular Jeff Flake.
Arpaio and family physician Kelli Ward potentially are splitting the conservative vote, while the third hopeful, “moderate” Cong. Martha McSally, conceivably could win the nomination by slipping past them.
If Ducey “wants to really capture the public’s attention,” Querard said, “how about appointing Sheriff Joe Arpaio? I think it’s likely the sheriff would only serve a few years before coming home, and he’d certainly be a solid Senate vote for the Trump agenda. It would also clear up the conservative logjam in the current Senate primary.”
Another possibility, he said, would be the governor picking “a conservative policy heavyweight connected to the Goldwater Institute or someplace similar…who wouldn’t be as well known to start, but whose votes would really please the GOP faithful. . . .
“If Ducey hits a home run, then whatever small chance Bennett has will evaporate,” Querard said, but if he chooses a liberal type, “then it will cause him problems in the primary and in the general.”

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