How’s that Blue Wave Workin’ for Ya?
Remember the Blue Wave that was going to take over Washington D.C. but was dependent on California flipping seven Republican congressional districts?
Well it’s hard to have a Blue Wave if no one shows up. For all the hype and excitement this Primary stirred up, voter turnout was marginal and even worse in Tulare County.
Reports of increased turnout only happened in five counties where everyone received their ballot in the mail.
According to Ruben Macareno, who ran for Assembly District 26 in 2016, 8000 fewer people voted in Tulare County this election than in the last Primary, and I don’t think it was the Republicans who stayed home.
California has 53 seats in the House of Representative and of the 14 seats held by Republicans, seven were targeted by Democrats to be flipped.
Because these are seven very entrenched Republican districts, Democrats were not going for a win, but for second place to get on the November ballot.
That didn’t turn out to be so easy.
So many Democrats ran in six of the seven districts that even coming in second was a battle. Multiple Democrats split the vote, and the fear was that none of them would make it to the General Election. With California’s top two Primary, it could have been two Republicans competing for the House seat.
Though it was close, that didn’t happen. In every congressional district a Republican and Democrat will be facing each other. But that is about as good as it gets for the Democrats.
Only one congressional district looks like it will flip from Republican to Democrat in November.
Two of the targeted seven districts are in the Central Valley, Congressional District 10 held by Jeff Denham, and District 21 held by David Valadao. Both incumbents won by a large margin and will easily win in November.
The remaining five districts are in Southern California. District 49 in Orange and San Diego Counties is the one likely to flip. The district is currently held by Darrell Issa who is retiring thus leaving the seat open. Four Democrats received a combined 51% of the vote on June 5, while the eight Republicans got 47.6%.
The only other district that is considered a toss-up is District 48 held by Dana Rohrabacher, a 15-term incumbent. He has been implicated as colluding with Wikileaks and Russia in the 2016 election and has been challenged, not only by the Democrats, but by his own party. Even though five Republicans ran against him, Mr. Rohrbacher came in first by a wide margin.
If the Democrats still plan on taking the House this November, it’s not going to be by way of California.
What’s Devin’s Beef?
Congressional District 22 represented by Devin Nunes was never seriously part of the list targeted by Democrats, that is, unless a political pundit was in the mood to poke the bear – which seems exceedingly easy to do lately.
Yes, Mr. Nunes has been the most talked about congressman in the country, and everyone who was obsessed with California’s Primary was watching our district. But no pollster or pundit ever predicted Mr. Nunes would lose or that his long shot, unknown challenger, Andrew Janz , ever had a chance.
Unlike the seven targeted Republican held congressional districts where Ms. Clinton won in 2016, President Trump won by a large margin in District 22, and Mr. Nunes did better than Mr. Trump by 15 points.
The Fresno Bee has endorsed him in every election since he won in 2002, he has raised millions more campaign dollars than Mr. Janz, and he has won every election since 2004 by a margin of 30 points or more.
In fact, Mr. Nunes received more votes this primary than his five challengers combined.
So why is Mr. Nunes so angry?
Mr. Nunes responded to his primary victory by giving a sarcastic “Thank you” to those who criticized him, mainly focusing on the media. In an interview with the Visalia Times-Delta he said, “…. these fake news stories leading up to the primary were nothing but attacks. I enjoyed it. The stronger the attack, the more support we had,” he said.
“The media has no shame. Do they live in ‘The Twilight Zone’? (Democrats) got had.”
Democrats got had by who?
One internal poll conducted by Mr. Janz’ campaign said they were within a five percent margin of error to break even with Mr. Nunes, which is still a long shot. I wrote in my Primary Predictions that Mr. Nunes’ margin of victory would be reduced from his average of 30 points to ten.
Hardly a scathing assessment.
What actually did happen June 5 was that his five challengers came within 15 points of Mr. Nunes. His challengers received approximately 42% of the vote combined and Mr. Nunes received 58%. One of them was a conservative so those votes in the general election will most likely go to Mr. Nunes. Mr. Janz received 32% of the vote.
This all means that Mr. Nunes didn’t do as well as in primaries past, but he is still going to enjoy a decisive win in the General Election.
The goal was for the challengers to pull off a combined 45% to 50% so Mr. Nunes might actually have to campaign and mingle amongst the regular folk.
Seeing as Mr. Nunes works for us, and that we pay his salary, it would be nice to see his face again.
Truth is Stranger than Fiction
I’m still mulling over the term “fake news.”
How many times have you said under your breath, “You can’t make this stuff up?”
That’s a common refrain in the life of a reporter.
I remember sitting at a Tulare Public Cemetery meeting when someone in the audience wanted to know why the cemetery put their loved one in the wrong grave.
I thought this was pretty shocking – until the next meeting when three more grieving families asked the same question, some of whom did not even know where their loved one was buried.
How do you lose four bodies – at a cemetery?
With stories like these who needs fake news? And what newspaper would want to print it?
Congressman Devin Nunes has been obsessing of late over the subject of fake news.
He told the Visalia Times-Delta, “It’s scary what the media will do to create a massive fake news story,”
Mr. Nunes recently put out a searing campaign ad criticizing the Fresno Bee saying, “The Fresno Bee has worked closely with radical left-wing groups to promote fake news stories about me.”
In February he told the Fresno Bee in response to a question about his next Town Hall meeting,
“Your paper is a joke to even bring these issues up or raise these issues. You know – it’s actually sad. I actually feel bad for the people who work at The Bee, because sadly it’s become just a left-wing rag.”
I lived in the Socialist Republic of Berkeley for seven years and know a radical left wing group when I see one, and I assure you there are none here, nor are there any left wing rags.
Who would read them if there were?
Writing a story about lawsuits, voting records, forums, town halls or the Russian investigation is not “radical.” It’s called journalism.
The Valley Voice has been accused of the same, albeit mostly by the gospel quoting Mayor of Tulare, Carlton Jones. He said concerning the Valley Voice during a KTIP interview,
“I don’t call it a newspaper. I just call it an op-ed. So people can make fake profiles and give their opinion…… They print whatever they want. It couldn’t be further from the truth.”
He continued later in the interview, “my grandma taught me to please three people, my God, my wife, and myself.”
Funny thing though, when his grandma’s words slipped his mind, he almost strangled his wife to death in front of his daughter, stole credit cards, physically threatened a Tulare business woman in her shop, had an affair with a friend’s wife then filed a restraining order against him, and called the Tulare Outlet Mall manager and yelled at him using a string of profanities the likes of which the man had never heard.
Mr. Jones has had his wages garnered, been pursued by bill collectors, gone through foreclosure, and has been involved in multiple lawsuits. He is such a menacing public figure that several people have told me they fear for their safety.
Of course, Mr. Jones referred to all of this as “fake news.”
For the cherry on top, he recently released a litany of criticisms against the agriculture industry, all the while being mayor of the most productive agricultural region in the world and home to the World Ag Expo.
Then there is President Donald Trump, who made “fake news” a household term.
While paying off porn stars and alienating our closest allies, he has been showering praise on the world’s most brutal dictators from Turkey, China, Russia, and North Korea. (Yes, I know some of them were “elected.”)
Journalists can’t make this stuff up nor would we want to.
I actually have an example of fake news that no one ever called out.
That was when Mr. Mathis’ former Chief of Staff, Sean Doherty, played Joseph Turner of American Families First like a fiddle. Mr. Doherty fed him a story about a night of partying that ended in Mr. Mathis allegedly committing sexual assault. Now that the dust has settled it looks like Mr. Doherty either committed the assault and/or was out for revenge on his former employer because he is a vindictive, bitter man.
Because Mr. Mathis is not as pure as the driven snow, the story was in the realm of possibilities. But there is a huge moral gap between an assemblyman partying and an assemblyman committing sexual assault.
Mr. Turner should have vetted his source just a little before publishing the story on his blog.
The Fresno Bee, Visalia Times-Delta and Valley Voice did reprint Mr. Turner’s blog but by then the allegations were headed to the Sacramento Police and had become a real story.
I do remember Mr. Mathis hiring a special public relations firm to handle the accusations and the Sacramento Police closing the case because of lack of evidence.
What I do not remember is Mr. Mathis crying “fake news.”