Political Fix (4 August, 2016)

The Local Election Scene

The Tulare County Registrar of Voters has put out a preliminary list of who has filed papers to run in the November election. Those interested in running have until August 12 to file, so many more prospective candidates will be coming forward. If no incumbent files, the nomination period for that particular office will be extended for one week.

Even though it’s early innings, the candidates’ list is 62 pages long and filled with community service districts and elementary school elections. Mixed in all of those contests are the more exciting races of Visalia and Tulare City Councils. The craziest races will be, as usual, where no incumbent will be running.

For the first time ever, Visalians will be voting by district. One race will be for Amy  Shuklian’s seat in District one. The other is for District 2, Bob Link’s seat. Districts 3, 4, and 5 will be up for re-election in 2018. Ms. Shuklian just won her election to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, so her seat will be open. Only one person so far has filed papers for her district, Adam Peck, Executive Director at Tulare County Workforce Investment Board. But Phil Cox announced on facebook that he is running for city council District one and has just sold his house. He will be presumably filing when he gets settled in his new house that is in the district.

People erroneously counted out Mr. Link, but he has decided to defend his seat and already has two challengers. They are former candidate for Tulare County Board of Supervisors, Brian Poochigian, and Adam Arakelian, a Visalia Fire Engineer whose father was a also a firefighter. Mr. Poochigian came in a close fourth out of nine candidates for the Tulare County board of Supervisors and gained a lot of name recognition which should make this a close race.

For Tulare City Council, Districts 1, 3, and 5 are up for election and District 2 is a half-term ending in 2018. In all four districts, the incumbents have already filed to defend their seats. One interesting challenger will be Jose Sigala, spokesperson for Service Employees International Union, who has filed papers for District 1, where Shea Gowin is the incumbent.

One of the more interesting smaller races is for Kaweah Delta Hospital District. All three incumbents have filed and one, Teresa Ramos, is facing challenger Nevin House. Mr. House ran a successful campaign against the hospitals $327 million bond Measure H.

The big news on the state level, that even non-political junkies have probably heard, is that for the first time in California’s history there will not be a senatorial candidate from the Republican Party. Because of the state’s top-two primary system, two Democrats will be vying for the senate seat because they got the most votes. The two candidates running for Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat are Attorney General Kamala Harris and State Senator Loretta Sanchez.

The Republican candidate who got the most votes in the June Primary was Duf Sundheim who received a paltry 8% of the vote. One Republican operative expressed relief that there was no Republican candidate in the senate race so the party did not have to waste campaign money on an unwinnable race. No Republican holds statewide office in California and none are projected to win in November.

Winners and Losers of the Republican and Democrat Conventions

We live–well, used to live, in the middle of an orange grove outside of Exeter. The homeowner was in the process of replanting his nine acres of citrus, and did not employ the cream of the crop, so to speak, to do the job.  The result of his cutting corners was an ag burn that burned down a quarter of his property. Then ten days later while preparing the field for new trees, a field disker tore up the water pipes, then went to the other side of the of the house and ripped out the underground electrical line from the home’s electrical panel. I would have been waiting for the piano to fall on the house but it burned up in the fire.

The damage was so extensive that the landlord told us to move out immediately. God smiled down on our family and the day after we were told to leave we signed a lease and picked up the keys to our new home. Even with limited access to modern conveniences for about ten days while we moved and cleaned I was able to get the gist of who were the winners and losers of the Republican and Democrat Conventions.

Winners:

Ted Cruz was the big winner as he emerged from this entire process with his integrity intact. He did not ask to speak, but was asked to speak at the Republican Convention. Unlike many of the other Republican presidential candidates during the primary, Sen. Cruz did not endorse Donald  Trump but told his fellow Republicans to vote their conscience. After the speech he told the press, “I’m not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.”

Whether fueled by his ego or conservative purity, Sen. Cruz proved he stands his ground. The bottom line is that If Mr. Trump loses, Mr. Cruz is going to emerge as the big winner and be the leader of the Republican Party and likely presidential nominee for 2020.

The next big winner was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. His rousing speech was kind of a poke in the eye to Mr. Trump’s running mate,

Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  The charisma-challenged Gov. Pence doesn’t have half the campaigning chops as Gov. Christie. With a thoroughly engaged audience chanting, “Lock her up” Gov. Christie gave Mr. Trump a taste of what he missed out on by not choosing him. He also cemented a place in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, a huge personal success seeing as Gov. Christie’s political career is toast.

Michelle Obama had a double win. First, because a Republican thought so highly her 2008 convention speech that she plagiarized it, and second, for her performance at the 2016 convention. While looking over a rainbow of ethnicities and religions at the Democrat Convention, Ms. Obama said that she wakes up every morning in a house built by slaves then watches her two beautiful Black daughters play with their dog on the White House lawn. That one sentence nailed it as to why anyone who has ever felt the sting of discrimination should vote Democrat.

Losers:

Senator Bernie Sanders’ delegates and Melania Trump tie for second biggest loser.

Ms. Trump’s big coming out party, in the form of her convention speech, crashed and burned as online and TV news played in a loop Ms. Trump’s and Ms. Obama’s speech side by side as indisputable evidence of her plagiarism.

At the Democratic Convention, Sanders’ supporters acted like spoiled little brats, demanding a strain of liberal purity Sen. Sanders can’t even live up to. His supporters have stormed out of the convention, booed the speakers, including Sen. Sanders himself, and held protests outside the hall. Even after Sen. Sanders got almost everything he wanted on the Democratic platform, a core group of his delegates continued to protest.

His supporters complain that they can only trust Bernie, but when he says they must vote for Hillary Clinton, they do not trust him.

The overall biggest loser was diversity in the Republican Party. The messages were vastly different between the two conventions and so were how they looked. There were around 2800 Blacks at the Democrat Convention and only 18 at the Republican.

The same numbers held true for all other ethnicities. Unfortunately the Republican Party just can’t make the leap from giving lip service of having a big tent to making it a reality.

After the upheaval in my family’s life I don’t know who had a harder week, mainstream Republicans watching their party be usurped by a narcissist Democrat in Republican skin, or our living, mopping, scrubbing and hauling boxes and furniture in 108 degree heat without electricity.

I felt strong as an ox and ten pounds lighter after what felt like five days of intensive hot yoga. As for our former landlord, he was left with dying landscaping, intermittent water, and a destroyed electrical system in the middle of a smoldering heap – kind of like the vision Mr. Trump painted of America during his acceptance speech.

From Whom Will Gary Johnson Take Votes?

Now that the two presidential candidates from both major parties have been decided, there’s a lot of talk about how former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, and to a lesser extent Jill Stein, will affect the outcome of the presidential election. Gov. Johnson is running on the Libertarian ticket and Ms. Stein is the presidential candidate for the Green Party.

The Green Party is only on the ballot in 24 states, so her candidacy is inconsequential. Though the more rabid Bernie supporters from California, where she is on the ballot, have said they will vote for her and not Hillary. The Libertarian Party is on every ballot in the country, making Gov. Johnson a real threat.

In addition, Gov. Johnson’s polling numbers are creeping up and he might qualify to share the debate stage on September 26 with Mr. Trump and Sec. Clinton. He needs to 15% to qualify. That is if Mr. Trump stops whining long enough about how the election is rigged to participate in the debate. Maybe it will just be Gov. Johnson and Sec. Clinton on the stage.

Gov. Johnson, like his third-party predecessors before him, will not win. But from whom will he take votes? The Donald or The Hillary?

Libertarians are unique in the fact they hold dear the purest forms of both the Republican and Democrat parties. According to Gov. Johnson, “many people are already Libertarians they just don’t know it.”

Libertarians want government completely out of our lives, which makes them social liberals. They want no, or very low taxes, which makes them fiscal conservatives. They want to cut defense spending in half and only use American troops to defend our borders, which makes them isolationist.

So while Libertarians want Americans to be free to use recreational drugs, chose who to marry, or decide for themselves when to have a baby, they also believe you are free to starve to death under a bridge if you don’t have a job.

The answer to the question, from whom will Gov. Johnson take votes is Mr. Trump. Both he and his running mate are former Republicans, their major endorsements come from Republicans and most registered Libertarians are themselves former Republicans.

But in this election year, disaffected Sanders followers have vowed not to vote for Hillary. Maybe they can find their liberal savior in Mr. Potato Head and vote for him like thousands of Americans do every election.

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