"Corruptus in Extremis"
- The media does not get it. They think real elections take place in California and are "shocked" when voter turnout continues to fall and voters abandon the two major parties to register as independents.
- With the monster size of California districts only millionaires, or candidates willing to be bought and paid for by millionaires, have any chance at winning office.
- The people are given a phony "choice" of which bought off stooge to vote for in November.
(Contra Costa Times) - When it comes to California congressional races, the thrill is gone. Again.
It's a far cry from 2012, when after years of mostly deadly dull contests for House seats, the newly redistricted Golden State suddenly had as many as a dozen districts that the Democratic and Republican parties believed to be in play. Excited that it could help decide Capitol Hill's balance of power, California welcomed its newfound clout -- and a chance to soak up some lavish campaign spending instead of just serving as the nation's political ATM.
But now the political landscape looks downright barren.
"There seem to be fewer competitive seats," said Kyle Kondik, a congressional elections expert at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, noting that 2016 will be the third cycle with those redrawn district lines. "People have a better idea of what the districts are like and, while some of them seem competitive on paper, the incumbent party in every seat in the state has a bit of an advantage right now."
In 2012, the widely respected Cook Political Report saw three California House races as toss-ups and five more as competitive. Now it lists no California House seats as toss-ups, and only four as currently competitive: the seats held by Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, in the Seventh District; Jeff Denham, R-Atwater, in the 10th; David Valadao, R-Hanford, in the 21st; and Steve Knight, R-Lancaster, in the 25th. Five other Democratic seats are deemed not yet competitive, but with the potential to become so.
Another reliable political prognosticator, the "Crystal Ball" maintained by Kondik's center, also sees no California toss-ups. It concurs that Bera's, Denham's and Valadao's districts are somewhat competitive, and adds the seats held by Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, and the retiring Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.
"Demography and incumbency," said Bruce Cain, director of Stanford University's Bill Lane Center for the American West.
By demography, Cain means there is "clumping of different racial and income groups in California, and that creates large swaths of geography that are either blue or red" with little chance for an upset, even with a citizens commission -- created by voters with Proposition 11 in 2008 and expanded two years later to cover congressional districts with Proposition 20 -- drawing district lines instead of the partisan Legislature.
|Congress General election|
|Republican||Tom McClintock (incumbent)||126,784||60.0|
The phony election "reforms" in California many times gave the voters one party races. Voter choice is an illusion.
|Congress General election|
|Democratic||Mike Honda (incumbent)||69,561||51.8|
"There is no way in the world that you're going to make key parts of the Bay Area or key parts of downtown Los Angeles into competitive seats without drawing some horribly contorted districts," he said. "And when you get into office, independent voters can be swayed by projects you fund, mailings you send, familiarity, money -- all these things give incumbents a real advantage over challengers."
Although there might be scattered surprises or upsets, "on average the elections will get more boring as you get to the end of the decade ... because good challengers will wait on the sidelines" for the next redistricting, Cain said. "The best time for a really competitive election is one or two cycles after the redistricting deck has been shuffled."
That's how Lew Ferrin sees it.
The 61-year-old Sutter County resident supported Republican Kim Dolbow Vann in her 2012 race against Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove. The contest was considered competitive. But despite financial backing from the National Republican Congressional Committee, Vann lost by 8 percentage points.
Now the Third Congressional District isn't even considered competitive.
Ferrin, a high school teacher and swimming coach, didn't even know that Republican N. Eugene Cleek, a trauma surgeon from Orland, has launched a campaign to unseat Garamendi.
"Garamendi has turned out to be not as awful as I feared, in that he seems to understand the need to preserve the agricultural base of this part of the state," Ferrin said. "He's not a terribly hate-able candidate."
Ferrin, a registered Republican who sees himself as a centrist "Reagan Democrat," wishes it could be a real race. But he believes the state's independent redistricting process favored the state's liberal majority, and many Republicans have yet to learn that "you're never going to get elected in this state if you come across as a knee-jerk social conservative in a general election... You can just pack it up, go home and let the Democrat win."
Kondik agreed that the GOP has a tough row to hoe in many California districts.
He said Republicans took their best shot in 2012 but, when the dust settled, five incumbents (three Democrats and two Republicans) had kept their seats while Democrats beat three GOP incumbents, won three more formerly GOP open seats, and held onto one open seat.
Republicans "have just fallen short so many times -- under the old maps and under the new maps -- that I don't know if they're focused on these seats like they were in the past," Kondik said.
"They already have a gigantic majority to defend across the nation, and they can even suffer losses in California and it wouldn't hurt their bottom line all that much," he added, noting that a high-turnout presidential election favors Democrats here. "If Republicans are going to go after California seats, they had a better shot during the midterms -- and even then they couldn't come through in any of those districts last time."Read More . . . .
Free Elections in Scotland
Maybe we could try free elections in the U.S.
Phony Election "Reforms"
The political elites "reformed" California elections by effectively banning all small opposition parties and independent candidates from general election ballots.
But in the rest of the world truly free elections exist. The Scottish Parliament (above) uses a combination of district seats and members elected by proportional representation. Bottom line - your vote matters in Scotland with five different political parties elected and three independent candidates.
Scottish Parliament Election