As they say about opera, “it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”
Well, in the 2016 Presidential nomination races, it isn’t going to be officially over until California votes. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appear to have a virtual lock on their party’s nominations, but neither is able to muster a convention-delegate majority until after the June 7 California Primary.
After being virtual bystanders in the modern presidential nominating process, California voters get to put a period on both the Democratic and Republican races. While the outcome in both presidential races seems pre-ordained at this point, a month is an eternity in politics. Moreover, Presidential politics can have significant impact in California’s down ballot contests.
As always, turnout is pivotal in contested races, particularly because of California’s top two primary system, which applies to all partisan offices except the presidency. This is where enthusiasm and interest comes in. If either party has a large turnout advantage or disadvantage, that can make a difference in determining which two down-ballot candidates will run off in a highly contested district.