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Archive for the ‘California Politics’ Category



Senate Debate: Kamala Harris Wins By Not Losing

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

kamaladebateThe entertainment highlights from last night’s U.S. Senate debate in Stockton: Tom Del Beccaro attacked Kamala Harris for being a squish on crime. Ron Unz blamed Pete Wilson for wrecking California’s Republican Party. Duf Sundheim seemed precariously close to a James Stockdale moment. Loretta Sanchez sounded like she’d been sucking on a helium balloon moments before the event started.

In the end, however, it was a genteel and subdued affair, with no memorable moments, candidate breakthroughs or big mistakes, and none of the five rivals said much they haven’t already said before. In other words, nothing changed, which means that Attorney General Harris remains the odds-on favorite to finish first in the June 7 primary, with Sanchez still positioned to make it an all-Democratic run-off in November.

Here’s a wrap on how the wannabes did:

Kamala Harris. Harris is infuriatingly cautious, if not craven, constantly deflecting even the most non-threatening questions with evasive platitudes: What should government do about income inequality? “No question, it’s a big issue.” Has Obama done enough on terrorism? “It is a very real issue.” Immigration? “It’s the most front and center human and civil rights issue of our time.” The thought of listening to this kind of blather for six or 12 years (our actuarial odds don’t extend much past that) makes the notion of watching grass grow seem like Carnival in Rio. Still, she’s by far the class act in the field – lucid, adept and serious-minded if still under-informed about national issues. She lacks the fire of the retiring Barbara Boxer and the earnest depth of Dianne Feinstein but in this field, she looks more like a U.S. Senator than anyone.

sanchezdebateLoretta Sanchez. Perhaps it’s because she’s represented Disneyland for all these years that the two-decade Congress member vocalizes like some squeaky denizen of the forest in a remake of Sleeping Beauty. Over the years, we’ve had at least one or two conversations in which she was reasonably coherent, instead of stringing together non sequiturs, which is what she mostly did last night: What will you do to break gridlock in Washington? “I’m not the status quo, I’ve been changing the Congress for 20 years.” Um, okay. Her biggest problem is her message, which boils down to me, me, me. I’m on the Homeland Security Committee, I’m on the military committee, I’m an expert on national security, yadda, yadda, yadda. Guess that’s why things are so swell inside the Beltway, Loretta, and thank you for that. Still, Sanchez is the only one besides Harris who’ll be able to afford to air any advertising before the primary, and with three GOPers cutting up the Republican vote, she should make the playoffs, after which anything can happen.

Tom-Del-BeccaroTom Del Beccaro. We’re no fans of the loathsome former Republican Party chairman, but he did an excellent job last night of staking out a clear base among the most conservative and libertarian elements of the party. He wisely kept contrasting himself to the rest of the field – “I’m different than everyone else,” began his answers to a host of questions – even though his proposals reeked of failed Reagan-era policies – government is the problem, not the solution; the power of markets will spur untrammeled economic growth that will trickle down to the masses; our militaristic foreign policy should be based on “moral clarity.” Del Becarro is slick to the point of oleaginous, but he speaks directly to the GOP right wing and if any of them bothered to tune in last night, he did himself a lot of good.

dufsundheimDuf Sundheim. Full disclosure: we really like Sundheim because he’s open-minded, thoughtful and fair, and harkens back to the days of smart moderate Republicans like George Shultz, Ken Maddy and Pete Wilson. But we couldn’t quite figure out what he was doing last night: editorial page editor and debate panelist John Diaz of the Chronicle, which co-sponsored the debate, nailed him with a question noting his liberal positions on issues from guns to gay marriage – “Why are you a Republican?” – and Sundheim kept making odd historic references – the election of 1860 and Harry Truman’s work on the U.N. with Senator Arthur H. Vanderberg – when he was wasn’t channeling Chris Christie by suggesting visa holders should be tracked like Fed-Ex packages, or referring to his wife, which he did at least three times, to the point that we ended the night knowing far more about her than him. It all was enough to put us in mind of Admiral James Stockdale, Ross Perot’s 1992 running mate, who famously opened his debate against Al Gore by asking, “Who am I, why am I here?”

ronunzRon Unz. If we were in a focus group, listening to a politician we didn’t know stake the positions on key issues that Unz took last night, arguing them with considerable clarity and force, we would be most impressed and might likely support the guy. Alas, we not only know Unz, but also recall his signal political achievement is the divisive Proposition 227 in 1998, which cut back bilingual education in the state; worse, he admitted on the stage that the only reason he got into the Senate race was to champion his opposition to an effort in the Legislature to undo the measure. Still, Unz’s stances in the debate – for an increased federal minimum wage, against the bail-out and subsidies for Wall Street, cutting salaries for UC and CSU bureaucrats to reduce tuition, bashing the Bush Iraq war as the original sin that led to widespread terrorism, legalizing drugs – seemed to capture the current political zeitgeist better than anyone else who showed up.

diazMedia matters: Excellent work by our old pal Diaz, who politely but firmly followed up with several candidates who tried to ignore his original questions, and strongly represented his colleagues in the newspaper trade amid a shifting cast of KCRA talking heads, all of whom seemed to be directly imported from happy talk morning shows.

Our big beef with the Chron was that it tried to stiff anybody who wanted to watch the live stream on their website for the cost of a digital subscription, a cheesy ploy not mentioned in Joe Garofoli’s ballyhooing of the  webcast in his debate advance, which carried a link to it. Kudos to KCRA for providing a free and robust online version for voters in markets that didn’t get the broadcast, most especially those in the politically crucial precincts of Santa Barbara, which were blacked out from the broadcast.

Here’s the Calbuzz Twitter feed (slightly edited) in reverse order:

Duf says we’re losing faith in future and politics — end high-speed rail, fix water, keep you safe — let’s shake things up

Loretta voted against Iraq war, bailout, Patriot Act — changed policy on charging wounded soldiers for meals — emotional ending

Unz says it’s going to be difficult for Republican to win — blames Pete Wilson on immigration — if he’s elected min wage wins

Hopefully Garofoli will analyze why @sactotrixie: Once again del Becarro fails to thank @sfchronicle for hosting debate.

Harris proud daughter of CA, challenges are opportunities, fought banks, homeowner rights, defend samesex couples, vs oil

DelBecc says government isn’t the answer to everything — says others want to use govt — he’s for flat tax, JFK and Reagan

Duf agrees with Harris that we need to keep guns away from criminals — says Harris hasn’t done that — she says she has

Harris defends herself on smart on crime — also that she supports a woman’s right to choose (mentioned earlier)

DelBecc says law abiding citizens owning guns is not the problem — reducing crime is key — hits Harris on SF case

Harris says we should be smarter on crime — not tough or weak

Harris backs Feinstein on guns, assault weapons, background checks — reasonable controls — war on drugs a failure

Unz doesn’t think gun control makes much diff on crime — says drug policy more imp on crime — don’t be carried by rhetoric

Sanchez says he goes over time limits cuz she has so much to say cuz she’s the one with experience. Remove MJ from sked 1

Why Kamala not get a response to Del B attack over Planned Parenthood?

DelBecc won’t say he’s comfortable with Trump as presidential nominee

DelBecc says Harris shouldn’t investigate Planned Parenthood cause she a supporter. Fair point.

Harris says she’s a strong leader. Gosh.

Why take you seriously, Unz? Because Sacto is trying to undo his English-only initiative. And he’s pissed.

Sanchez says no one has refuted her estimate of worldwide Muslims who support caliphate

Sanchez, you’ve offended native Americans, Muslims, Vietnamese — she says it’s all out of context — says she’s real people

Why are you a Republican, Duf? “I’m not a blind Republican” — not working for McConnell, working for you

Harris says immigration is fundamental civil rights issue — comes out squarely for pathway to citizenship; Loretta didn’t

Unz seems to think native-born Americans would pick fruit for minimum wage

After Loretta says she’s been to meetings, Unz says illegal imm isn’t that big a problem but higher wages is the best answer

Loretta for family values…doesn’t mention pathway to citizenship. Duf says Loretta has skipped Homeland meetings.

Duf’s for a high-tech wall. If we can track packages, should be able to track people. Perm legal status for undocumented

DelBecc on immigration: it’s a national security concern, visa reform needed — we could stop 90,000 troops on the border

Unz says Obama is wrong-headed, should be working with Russians and Syrians to defeat ISIS. Bush was even worse.

Sanchez says she would use everything before going to war. She says BHO is not doing everything he could.

Loretta says it’s easy to talk about national security without 20 yrs experience like her — military toolbox too easy

Duf says Obama falls short. He’d have long-term strategy

DelBecc says BHO not doing all he can — should call them Islamic terrorists, help our allies, shouldn’t let ISIS have land

Is Obama on the right track, Diaz repeats. “There are many tracks,” Kamala replies. Is he doing everything? Kama equivocates

Harris says we have to lead with our values internationally — Syria, Iraq, Libya — nothing about Obama

Diaz asks if Obama is doing everything to prevent terrorism at home. Harris says SanBerdu was tragic. It’s a very real issue. Duh.

Loretta: more training for cosmetologists, starting with my hairdresser

Sanchez says technology is key to cutting costs at community college. WTF??

Loretta says too much focus on 4-year college – “I want my hairdresser to do a good job each and every time!”

If you want to see something get really expensive, make it free, says Duf. Cut costs.

DelBecc opposes govt lowering costs for college. Stop subsidizing colleges.

Harris wants free comm coll, increase Pell Grants, crack down on predatory private colleges.

Unz says cut state tuitions — too many administrators — have to cut costs, bureaucracy, lower tuition — avoids free coll

Duf compares income disparity to slavery — says min wage increase will lead us down the wrong road — better to create jobs

Economic growth is key to reducing income disparity, says DelBec — others want Govt solution and Govt can’t solve everythng

Inc disparity is a big issue, Harris sez. Eureka! Min wage, affects women most, affordable childcare, pre-k, family leave, student aid

Unz cites income inequality — glad for incr in min wage. Outrageous benefits to financial elite. Would have blocked bailout

Santa Barbara focus group says so far Diaz looks most like a Senator

Who are you most concerned with, Diaz asks — Loretta talks about education, transportation, national security

Del Beccaro thanks UOP and KCRA snubs Chron – intentional dis or simple incompetence?

DelBecc says source of division is that government is at the center of it — whatever that means

Harris says she’s worked across party lines to get things done.

Unz cites his 12,000-word essay on raising minimum wage. 12,000 words! Now central to Democratic agenda — says GOP cand

“I’m not the status quo,” Loretta says, then cites her status quo credentials and says she can “shape the debate”

Duf says his background as mediator would serve him in getting something done in Congress.

Revenge of the Nerd: Bernie’s Political Ponzi Scheme

Monday, April 25th, 2016

sanderspointingIt’s time to call Bernie Sanders out for what he is: a fraud.

Not that he hasn’t done some good for the Democratic Party and the country: he has. By raising income inequality, campaign finance reform, the minimum wage, universal health care, Wall Street excesses and other left-liberal critiques, Sanders has fired up young voters and nudged Hillary Clinton slightly to the left.

But from where we sit, Bernie’s gone from being a crusader for lefty ideas to an ego-tripping old crank who just can’t get enough of the rush that comes from people paying serious attention to him for the first time his political career.

Speaking of ego-tripping old cranks, we might do the same, if we had people throwing tens of millions of dollars our way while countless millennial women hung on our every word, no matter how many times we’d said the exact same thing, skimming the surface of complex policy notions with a few tired phrases while actually having little practical idea what we were talking about.

ronpopeilDisaster Zone What, you think that’s an exaggeration? Did you see his appearance at the editorial board of the New York Daily News where he could not give a coherent answer on how he would accomplish his signature rhetorical cause: breaking up the big banks. “Pretty close to a disaster,” was the headline on the summary by the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.

But wait, as Ron Popeil used to say, there’s more!

Sanders and his highly-paid henchmen continue to argue that their candidate would run stronger than Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in November because that’s what the polls show.

They’re right about what polls show right now. According to Huffpost Pollster’s average of polling  Sanders performs better than Clinton in hypothetical general-election matchups. Against Donald Trump, Sanders leads by 14 points, Clinton by 9. Against Ted Cruz, Sanders wins by 13 points, Clinton by 4.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with what actually would happen if Sanders were, magically at this point (by winning all remaining contests by more than 20 points each), to become the Democratic nominee.

hillarywantedTwisted Logic: Even if, at the end of the nominating process, Clinton was ahead in the popular vote and delegates, Sanders would spend the weeks and months before the Democratic National Convention trying to convince superdelegates to dump Clinton and back their guy, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told MSNBC’s Steve Kornaki last Tuesday night.

“They are going to want to win in November,” Weaver said. “And if the polling continues to show that Bernie Sanders is a much stronger candidate in the general election” those superdelegates will support Sanders.

This is nuts.

The reason why Sanders runs better than Clinton against Republican contenders is simple: while Republicans have run virtually no negatives against Sanders (because they want him to be the nominee), Clinton has been accused of everything – literally — from murder to treason over a span of 30 years. Yet she’s still standing.

Calbuzz spelled this out back in January and even some of the laggard MSM have begun to understand the facts. David Corn of Mother Jones argued that the big problem for Bernie would be that he’s a socialist and Republicans would attack him on those grounds.

That’s way too naïve. Sanders would be bludgeoned hammer and sickle as a dead-beat dad with an illegitimate son — as an atheist, commie, pinko out to raise your taxes, crush your religious freedom and your right to bear arms, weaken the military and appease the Russians, set criminals free to rape your daughter, take away your home, round you up and ship you off to live on a vegan commune with leather-clad lesbians and gays in charge.

For starters.

Sanders’ popularity, his favorability and his standing in the polls would drop like a rock. Instead of winning the presidency and perhaps the Senate and maybe even the House — as they could with Clinton as their nominee against Trump –  Democrats would lose it all, including an historic opportunity to keep the Supreme Court from being taken over again by right-wing extremists.

Magican-Kid-party-rentals-DallasHocus Pocus: But wait, there’s more!

Sanders’s argument – that even if Clinton is ahead in the popular vote and the delegate count, he’ll try to persuade super-delegates to support him because he’s more electable, is an assault on his own rationale for his candidacy: wider, more open and transparent democracy. His hypocrisy is staggering: after railing against the whole idea of super-delegates, he’s now suggesting they should be his savior.

It’s the same anti-democratic argument Ted Cruz and John Kasich are making in the Republican Party – except at least with Kasich – governor of Ohio, a key swing state — there’s reason to believe he actually might be more electable than either Trump or Cruz.

Worse, Sanders isn’t even a Democrat and he’s done nothing – hasn’t raised a dime! – to help Democrats throughout the country while Clinton has raised millions for them. Why in the world would those super-delegates stomp on the popular vote and the delegate count to elevate Bernie Sanders?

The plain fact is, while Sanders loves to style himself as an outsider, he’s spent the last three decades living off the public dole in Washington, as a congressman for 19 years and a Senator for nine, and accomplished exactly nothing.

For years, Sanders served with Ted Kennedy – but where was he in 2007, when Kennedy fought fiercely, first against members of his own party and then against the Republicans to pass the first increase in the federal minimum wage in 10 years? We looked in vain for any evidence that Sanders did anything but add a cheap “aye” vote the Kennedy legislation.

While Kennedy delivered one of the more famous floor speeches of this century on the issue, Sanders was where he always was: warming a back bench with the frayed and shiny seat of his pants.

“Bernie was just kind of a mascot for the Dems,” recalled one longtime Senate aide. “He gave a lot of speeches for C-Span.”

But wait, there’s more!

clenched-fistBernie and his Sandersistas like to portray his “political revolution” as some kind of historic development. It’s not — it’s nothing more than the manifestation of the left wing of the Democratic party (with which we often agree) surfacing anew, as it does reliably, in presidential nominating seasons when no party incumbent is running (and sometimes when one is):

Frank Church, Fred Harris and Mo Udall against Jimmy Carter in 1976; Ted Kennedy vs. Carter in 1980; Gary Hart vs. Walter Mondale in 1984; Jesse Jackson vs. Mike Dukakis in 1988; Jerry Brown vs. Bill Clinton in 1992; Bill Bradley vs. Al Gore in 2000; Howard Dean vs. John Kerry in 2008. You could even include Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Ideological policy differences? Sure. Political revolutions? Hardee, har, har.

Some of those challengers continued to argue their case right up to and into the Democratic National Convention. But virtually none of them used their final months to tear down the presumptive nominee as Sanders continues to do and all of them – since they were actually Democrats – endorsed and worked for the election of their party’s nominee.

Sanders shows no signs that he has a speck of loyalty to the Democratic Party. And why should he? He’s not a member of the party and has done nothing to help elect Democrats except sign a couple of DSCC  fund-raising letters and raise a few thousands bucks for some of his supporters. BFD.

What does Sanders want at this point? To push the party toward his progressive goals? To influence who gets chosen as Clinton’s vice-presidential nominee? To speak in prime-time at the DNC in Philadelphia this summer? Because capturing the nomination is off the table. As one Democratic insider told Politico in a piece on whither Bernie: “there’s no path, there’s no math.”

Which is why Sanders — if he truly wanted to defeat the GOP nominee — would return to running for his causes and against Trump and Cruz and stop attacking the all-but-certain Democratic nominee. But that doesn’t appear to be Sanders’s intention because, as we said, he’s not a Democrat and he’s in essence running a scam.

We have to agree with David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, who tweeted out the other day:

“Sanders has run a stunningly strong campaign fueled by passionate supporters. But raising $$ stating you have path to nomination is fraud.”

Op Ed: Earth to Bernie, Time to Endorse Hillary

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

berniesanders1By Dick Polman
Newsworks.org

Dear Bernie,

You’re toast, and I’m smelling the burn.

Time to man up. Start drafting your endorsement speech. If you insist on staggering through the next few weeks, losing big in the string of Democratic primaries that are open only to actual Democrats, wagging your finger at the injustice of it all, at least do the party a favor and nudge it toward unity. If you want to keep hawking your nonexistent revolution, fine. But it’s time to start hosing down your pie-eyed acolytes and focusing on the existential threat of Trump. Just get it done.

mushroomcloudNuked in NY: You were gutted in New York, pure and simple. No lame spin can mask that reality. You devoted yourself to winning it — you spent twice as much as Hillary Clinton on advertising — yet you were eviscerated by 16 percentage points. All your talk about Wall Street and billionaires came to nothing; according to the exit polls (this stat says it all), you even lost by 20 points among voters who earn less than $30,000 a year.

And yet again, just like in the swing states of Ohio and Florida, your “revolution” was feted only in the youngest age bracket. For the umpteenth time: You can’t presume to have a broad-based movement if you’re only cranking up the kids. Last night, people under 30 were just 17 percent of the electorate. You lost all the other age categories. In fact, 65 percent of the voters were 40 and older — and you lost them by a margin of 2-1.

As for your performance among people of color … let’s just say that you’re not in Kansas anymore. I’m not quoting The Wizard of Oz, I’m trying to stage an intervention. Stop talking about Kansas and Wyoming and Idaho and all your other tiny victories in white caucus states that always vote red in November. Stop insulting our intelligence, and start parsing the stats from last night. Roughly 36 percent of the New York electorate was black or Latino — a mirror of the national Democratic electorate. You lost Latinos by 28 points. You lost blacks by 50 points. Game over.

Start Writing, Bud: How’s that endorsement draft coming along? Are you at least beginning to face the fact that staying in Get Off My Lawn mode, that going the scorched-earth route against Hillary, would be, at this point, the most foolish of all political options?

Wait, let me rephrase the question. Did you happen to catch Donald Trump’s act last night? Der Leader was oozingly magnanimous, thanking his family and his team and even “Senator Cruz” (suddenly it’s “Senator Cruz,” not “Lyin’ Ted”) because somehow his few grownup handlers have hammered it into his vanilla head that it’s bad politics to spew hate and racism and misogyny. Better to put a lid on it and act “presidential.”

Bernie, you were 27 in 1968. So surely you remember what happened that year. A paranoid low-road politician named Richard Nixon allowed his handlers to fashion a new Nixon — branded in the press as the New Nixon — and voters were goaded into forgetting his long history of gut-fighting smears. New Nixon was, supposedly, a mature statesman. I bet you didn’t buy that con, and I bet you don’t believe for a second that New Trump can ever mask the clear and present danger that he poses to this country.

samjacksonDon’t Muck it Up: All the more reason to draft that Hillary endorsement, to think of the greater good. In fact, you can start by putting a muzzle on your campaign manager before he again makes a fool of himself — and you. On New York primary night, Jeff Weaver surfaced on CNN and delivered the most pathetic spin job since the heyday of Baghdad Bob. Remember when Saddam Hussein’s flak kept telling the press that all was well even while the American bombs were falling all around him? Weaver was like that.

When asked about Clinton’s 2.4-million national popular vote lead (which expanded to nearly 2.7 million by late evening), Weaver said the lead is way smaller if we count the teeny caucus tallies in places like Kansas, Wyoming, and Idaho. When asked about the racially diverse states still on the calendar, Weaver said that you’re doing “increasingly well with Latino voters across the country.” (Bernie, didn’t anyone text him last night about the 28-point wipeout among Latino voters?) Then he insisted that you will do “very, very well” next Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s Democrats-only primary (the polls say you’re down in Pennsylvania by 13 points), and that you will fight Clinton at the national convention no matter what.

Earth to Bernie: Don’t do it. Don’t be a fool. Face it, clawing Clinton hasn’t worked. In the exits last night, 65 percent of the voters said they’re “excited” or “optimistic” about a Clinton presidency, and 60 percent said that she’s “honest and trustworthy.” A plurality of voters chose “the right experience” as the most important candidate criterion, and that cohort favored Clinton by a margin of 9-1.

Time to start ratcheting down the rhetoric. Time to stop deceiving your fans, like you did yesterday when you said that independents “lost their right to vote” in the New York primary. As you well know, they never had it to begin with. And I don’t recall you whining like this when you won the closed contests in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Maine.

dickpolmanBottom line: Enough already. Time to take the high road, to draw on the party’s deep reservoir of good will. That is indeed the mood, as evidenced by this striking exit poll stat: A landslide 67 percent said that your contest with Clinton has “energized” Democrats. Only 29 percent said “divided.” (Contrast that with the Republican exits. Only 36 percent of GOP voters said their race has energized the party; a whopping 60 percent said the Trumpian hijinks have divided it.)

So build on that Democratic energy. Don’t blow it. This year, the stakes are too high.

Dick Polman, former political writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, blogs at  www.newsworks.org, where this column originally appeared.

Bullets Over Brooklyn: The Hillary vs Bernie Debate

Friday, April 15th, 2016

clinton-sanders-debate-cnnIn their Brooklyn debate Thursday night, Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton demonstrated their home-stretch strategies: Sanders is seeking to undermine voters’ confidence in Clinton judgment while Clinton portrays Sanders as a pie-in-the-sky kvetch bent on false complaints against President Obama and her.

The problem for Sanders is that his examples – Clinton’s vote on Iraq, her reliance on large campaign contributions and her undisclosed paid speeches to Wall Street companies – are either old news (Iraq, which she has publicly regretted) or simply not salient voting issues.

On the other hand, Clinton aligns herself with Obama on gun control, foreign policy (as his Secretary of State), campaign contributions, the environment, Wall Street reform, the Affordable Care Act and more issues on which Sanders finds Obama (and Clinton) wanting. And Democrats – especially in New York — still love Obama.

The other big problem for Sanders — who is trailing Clinton in the upcoming New York primary by double digits – is that he went about as far as a Democrat from New York could go in a) pissing off black voters by insulting Clinton’s wins in the South and b) pissing off Jewish voters by vigorously criticizing Israel and defending the rights of Palestinians. Refusing to apologize to the Sandy Hook parents was almost as clumsy a political move.

Not to mention his sarcasm, finger wagging and inability to stand still when being criticized. His worst moment was when he was seen laughing while Clinton detailed the human costs of gun violence – which she noted was no laughing matter.

Twice Clinton defended New York values — an attack on Ted Cruz without mentioning him — and twice she smacked Sanders by saying it’s easy to diagnose a problem but harder to come up with a solution. (If only she would take Calbuzz’s suggestion for a campaign slogan: Real Progress.)

If you liked Sanders before the debate, you came away pleased that he ripped into Clinton with more bite and anger than ever before. If you liked Clinton before the debate, you came away pleased at her presidential demeanor and her brassy and tough treatment of Sanders on significant issues. If you we undecided before the debate, you’re hopeless.

Here’s the Calbuzz live Twitter feed, in reverse order.

Twice tonight, HRC stood up for New York values…we won’t just make promises we can’t keep we’ll deliver results, she says.

A lot of black voters may be wondering why BS dismisses the Dem vote in the South. So he pissed of Jews and blacks.

HRC is smart to point to her race v Obama and call for unity against the GOP after she wins the nomination.

BS says he’s winning younger voters because they understand depending on big money donors won’t work in future

BS “acknowledges” he got his clock cleaned in the Deep South, the most “conservative” part of the electorate

BS says he raised $$ for DSCC after Dana asks why he hasn’t raised $$. HRC says it’ll be important to unify the Dem Party

Are you a Democrat, BS? Why would I be running for Dem nomination if I weren’t?

HRC says abortion rights important issue, not a distraction as BS said of Trump’s pledge to punish women

HRC says she won’t contradict Obama on Garland nomination to SCOTUS. BS says he would ask BHO to withdraw to overthrow CitznsUntd

Retweet: Paul Begala ‏@PaulBegala  Bernie seems more comfortable criticizing Israel than corporations that manufacture guns. #CNNDebate

BS does himself no favors in NYC by continuing to sound critical of Israel. He won’t give it up. Stupid local politics.

BS is forthright on Israel and Palestinian people but it won’t help him in NYC. HRC refuses to criticize Israel and stands firm.

HRC still gnarly on Libya — too much explaining, not enough contrition. BS equates regime change in Libya and Iraq, blames HRC

Bernie: “What you do do …” Scatalogical humor?

BS challenges HRC on carbon tax. She says “I don’t take a back seat to your legislation that you haven’t been able to get passed”

HRC’s strategic decision to side with Obama against Sanders is becoming increasingly apparent.

It’s easy to diagnose the problem, it’s harder to solve the problem, HRC says, smacking BS for his constant critique of Obama

HRC “I want white people to recognize that there is systemic racism” BS says he called out “super predator” because it’s racist.

BS says he doesn’t owe Sandy Hook parents an apology — HRC says protection for gun makers was abdication of responsibility

BS says he lost electn cause he was for banning assault weapons. HRC notes he changed between ’88 and ’90 against waiting period

BS laughing when HRC talks about people dying from gun violence is a very bad move. And he keeps pointing trying to interrupt

History has outpaced Secty Clinton, BS says, re $15 min wage. HRC says she’s always supported fight for $15. BS calls BS

Bernie says his plan to bring back jobs would be paid for by higher mini wage though we might pay a few cents more at McDonalds

BS says he’ll release 2014 tax returns tomorrow…others, soon, he says

Dana asks why HRC doesn’t release her speeches? HRC replies with tax returns. Dana hangs in there. HRC says when everybody does

Bernie mocks HRC’s assertion that she called out the banks — before or after taking money for speeches, BS asks

Dana asks BS to name a decision HRC made as senator that shows she was influenced by donations from banks — BS can’t HRC notes

BS says he doesn’t need Dodd-Frank to tell him to break up banks — says Treasury shouldn’t declare what size banks should be

Hillary says Bernie is attacking President Obama who had superpacs — it’s a phony attack, she says

Bernie goes after Hillary’s vote for Iraq war, dependency on big money from Wall Street

Hillary attacks Bernie’s judgment when he couldn’t tell NY Daily News how to break up banks. Bernie laughs.

Hillary opens with defense of New York values. Bernie responds by questioning her judgment.

Field Poll: Clinton, Trump & State Primary Math

Friday, April 8th, 2016

clinton-trumpDemocrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump hold narrow statewide leads over Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz in their parties’ presidential contests in California, according to the latest Field Poll. Far more important, however, is how many convention delegates any of them will walk away with on June 7, a complete crap shoot because so much of the delegate allocation process depends on where the candidates run well.

Despite what some of our brothers and sisters in the media seem to believe, no candidate in either party is likely to sweep huge delegate margins in California’s behemoth primaries.

First the numbers: Clinton leads Sanders 47-41% with 12% undecided. Sanders kills her among younger voters and the most liberal voters. Clinton crushes him among older voters and moderates. Men prefer Bernie 48-40%; women like Hillary 53-36%. Oh, and Clinton buries Sanders among actual Democrats 50-39% while Sanders wins big among independents, who are allowed to vote in the Democratic primary 49-39%.

In the GOP race it’s Trump 39%, Cruz 32% and John Kasich 18%. Men prefer Trump over Cruz 46-29%, while women break for Cruz, 36-31%, Cruz wins evangelicals 40-38% while Trump carries others 39-27%. The most conservative voters split at about 40% but less conservative voters prefer Trump over Cruz 36-24%, with Kasich at 26%

confusionLocation, Location, Location As every school child knows, however California’s June primaries are not what you’d normally think of as “elections,” where one person wins and the other person loses. There’s an element of that, with a relatively small number of delegates at stake for the statewide winner. But for both parties, the primary is really 53 individual contests in Congressional districts which, as anyone who’s spent a week in California knows, differ radically.

The Republicans will allocate 172 delegates, but 159 of them will come from winner-take-all contests in 53 congressional districts. Only 13 are available statewide. Those rules could work against Trump: Even if he were to win statewide, Trump would get only 13 delegates for his trouble; with a superior campaign organization in targeted districts, Cruz could lose the statewide vote and still garner a significant delegate haul.

For Democrats, California coughs up 548 delegates, 317 of them in proportional contests in the 53 congressional districts ranging in size from 4 to 9 delegates depending on how strong the Democratic vote for president was in 2008 and 2012. Another 105 delegates are available statewide, with 53 pledged party leaders and elected officials (PLEOs) and 5 unpledged PLEOs. [Note to Bernie-bots: you start with a 47-delegate deficit from California’s pledged PLEOs (usually known as super-delegates) already in Hillary’s camp.]

So, for Dems, where the vote comes from matters. For example, in Los Angeles County, Clinton leads Sanders 51-41%. But in the Bay Area, it’s a virtual tie, at 44% each. While Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s 12th CD in San Francisco will have 9 delegates, Republican David Valadao’s 21st CD in the San Joaquin Valley has just four. So let’s get those office pools going on who wins how Hillary and Bernie split the delegates.

For the Republicans it’s simpler, but stranger: three delegates per CD, regardless of how many Republicans reside or vote in a district. To use the same example, whoever wins Pelosi’s overwhelmingly Democratic district gets the same number of delegates as the first-place finisher on Valadao’s GOP-dominated turf.  Go figure.

It’s also a mixed picture by region. In LA County, for example, Cruz leads Trump 40-29%, but in the rest of Southern California Trump leads 45-23%. And in the Bay Area, Kasich, although still trailing, pulls almost a quarter of the vote.

nononoWho’s Hatin’ on Whom? Here’s an interesting tidbit from the Field Poll’s Mark DiCamillo about the Republican race:

The poll also asked GOP voters how they would feel if either Trump or Cruz were to become their party’s nominee for president. The results indicate that relatively large proportions of this state’s Republicans – greater than one in three – would not be satisfied in either case. Were Trump to win the nomination 58% of GOP voters say they would be enthusiastic or satisfied with him as the Republican nominee, but 38% would be upset or dissatisfied. If Cruz were to become the GOP nominee, 61% would be enthusiastic or satisfied and 34% would be upset or dissatisfied.

And this from Mark about the Democrats:

Greater than seven in ten likely voters in California’s Democratic presidential primary hold positive views of both Democratic contenders. For Clinton, 70% say they have a favorable impression of her, while 27% offer a negative assessment. Sanders’ profile among Democratic primary voters is even more positive, with 75% viewing him favorably and 16% unfavorably.

However, in the current poll Sanders is viewed much more favorably by voters currently backing Clinton, than Clinton is among supporters of Sanders. Clinton backers offer a more than two-to-one positive assessment of Sanders (61% to 26%). By contrast, Sanders’ supporters hold mixed views of Clinton, with 50% rating her positively and 47% negatively.

Statewide polling, as we’ve seen from PPIC, the LA Times and Field, is useful to understand the general shape of things in California. But as it has morphed over the years, California’s primary process is anything but a straightforward contest.

theodore-roosevelt-avatar-151Instant history: Loyal Calbuzzers are well aware that California’s first presidential popular primary election occurred in 1912, when insurgent Theodore Roosevelt body slammed the considerable body of President William Taft 55 to 27 percent (shout-out to Progressive reformer Bob La Follette at 18 percent) and, along the way, picked up state governor Hiram Johnson as his running mate. Great primary, which your Calbuzzards covered by telegraph and pack mule.

At the time, party bosses still controlled the process, and California was one of only eight direct primaries in the nation; Roosevelt staked his nomination claim on widespread success in those contests, but the hacks prevailed in renominating Taft, triggering TR’s walkout and famous failed third-party bid.

(Secret memo to Republicans itching for an “open convention” this time: While all this was really exciting, it handed the election to Democrat Woodrow Wilson; see “Bull Moose Party” before booting Trump.)

California since has mostly maintained its spot late in the primary schedule; in recent years, state lawmakers tried moving it earlier — most notably in 2008, when Clinton’s win over Barack Obama in February helped sustain her campaign for months — but at $100 million, the experiment was too expensive, as a second primary still was held in June for state and local candidates.

There are other examples of California playing a key role: Robert Kennedy’s Democratic win in 1968 is iconic because he was assassinated moments after declaring victory, and favorite-son governor Ronald Reagan’s stomping of President Gerald Ford boosted him into the 1976 Republican convention, the last one not settled on the first ballot.

On the other hand, when it comes to November, California’s big bloc of 55 electoral votes really will matter. Except that the state hasn’t voted for a right-to-life candidate at the top of the ticket since George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis in 1988. There’s virtually no chance that will change in 2016.

abetterlifeBottom lines: So, with her huge lead in pledged and super delegates, Clinton remains the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination and is thus likely to crush either Trump or Cruz in a general election in California, the Field Poll found.

Clinton beats Trump 59-31% in California and she wins over Cruz 55-32%.  It’s Clinton over Trump 84-10% among Democrats and 64-24% among independents. Trump wins Republicans 70-16%. Over Cruz, Clinton wins 81-9% among Democrats and 55-31% among independents, with Cruz taking Republicans 69-13%.

But subgroups are brutal: It’s Clinton over Trump 73-19% among Latinos, 82-11% among blacks and 62-25% among Asians, not to mention 52-28% among whites. Not only does Clinton lead Trump 51-40% among men, but she kills him among women 67-22%. No doubt that’s partly because the misogynistic Trump suffers an unfavorable rating of 80% among women with just 15% favorable. It’s worse among Latinos – 83-11% unfavorable.

Sorry Donald: “the Hispanics” do not love you.

The Field Poll surveyed 1,400 registered voters in California March 24 – April 4 in English and Spanish. The survey included 584 respondents likely to vote in the state’s June Democratic presidential primary election and 558 Republicans likely to vote in the Republican primary. The maximum sampling error for results from the registered voter sample is ± 3.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level and is ± 4.0 percentage points for the likely Democratic and Republican primary voter samples.