5. A Woman as Democratic Nominee
Hillary Clinton will clinch the Democratic nomination, win or lose in California. It’d be interesting to see her close it out here—a state that has had two women in the U.S. Senate since 1992, but has never elected a woman as its governor or as mayor of its largest city, Los Angeles.
4. Those Socialists Never Say Democratic For Long
The question is whether Bernie Sanders will accept his defeat, as losing candidates do in democracies. He’s been pledging to fight all the way to the convention in Philadelphia, even though he will have lost. Or perhaps he’ll come to his senses. If he concedes—and it’s unlikely to happen early, given how long it could take to count all the votes in a close race — it’ll be a big deal. If he fights, perhaps in a speech after a victory in California, the Golden State may have a moment of infamy in a moment that has seen a weakening of democratic norms in this country.
3. How many legislative and Congressional races advance two members of the same party?
That’s the vital number for supporters of the top two system. Instead of districts where one party is sure to win, have two candidates of the same party advance to the November runoff, and let them appeal to the electorate not on partisanship but on who can raise the most money and advance the most compelling personal attacks on the other. Ah, reform.
2. One kind of turnout, but another.
The media will report a voter turnout rate that might seem disappointing, because that turnout will be the percentage of registered voters, of which there are 17.9 million. And the number of people registering has taken a big step up. But the better measure is the turnout of those Californians eligible to vote, registered or unregistered. That’s 24.7 million. We’re told this is a big engaging political year. I don’t believe that—and would only change my mind if half of those eligible to vote – that would more than 12.4 million people – actually cast ballots. And even that milestone would be less than one-third of the people who live in this state.
1. U.S. Senate undervote
The U.S. Senate contest is a top two mess of 34 candidates—my L.A. County ballot came with warning labels about it. How many people don’t bother voting? How many vote twice (since the names span two pages)? And if many voters don’t bother to record a vote (or spoil their ballot by voting twice), how much longer until California’s political-media establishment –and the people themselves – end this democratic farce and return to primaries?