May 20, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Syria Refugee Vote A Roadmap To 2016 Election:

Anyone looking for a roadmap showing which of California’s 53 congressional district elections will be tight next year need look no farther than how the state’s House Democrats voted last month on a bill that would essentially halt a federal plan to take in tens of thousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq. The same map shows just which Democrats feel seriously threatened a year before they come up for reelection.

Almost all of this state’s Democrats are staunch liberals and the vast majority of them voted to back President Obama in his self-described humanitarian effort.

This came after Republicans led by new House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin put forward a plan to add numerous layers of additional security to the existing process, which already takes about two years to vet each incoming refugee.

The GOP presumption is that hiding among the refugees will be a few terrorists planted by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which appears to have overtaken Al Qaida as the world’s leading manufacturer of jihadi mayhem.

So far, that assumption hasn’t been proven, even though Republicans pushing the bill cited a Paris police find of a Syrian passport after the mid-November suicide bombings and shootings there. The passport indicated one of the Parisian terrorists entered Europe along with Syrian refugees via a Greek island just off the coast of Turkey. Problem was, the passport turned out to be a probable forgery and may have been planted just to discredit real refugees.

It certainly did that among prominent Republicans. Every major GOP presidential candidate called for at least a pause in America’s intake of refugees.

House Republicans voted almost unanimously for the bill, which passed on a 289-137 vote. So did 47 Democrats. California Democrats voting that way included Pete Aguilar of Redlands, Ami Bera of Elk Grove, Julia Brownley of Westlake Village, Jim Costa of Fresno, John Garamendi of Walnut Grove, Scott Peters of San Diego, Janice Hahn of San Pedro and Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert.

Besides their votes on this bill, one thing all have in common is that they are staunch liberals, backing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, gun control, access to abortions and almost every other stance held by mainstream Democrats. Another thing all these folks have in common is that all are seeking reelection – except Hahn. She is now running for her father Kenneth’s old seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

This still leaves her sharing one category with the others: She fears the effect a vote to allow steady immigration of Middle Eastern refugees might have on her election chances.

It’s hard to say how most of these politicians felt about their votes. For sure, they knew President Obama will veto the bill if it ever gets through both houses of Congress.

But all have reason to feel insecure. Almost all won reelection last year in very tight races, none more so than Costa, who was shellshocked after the previously unknown Republican farmer Johnny Tachera led him on Election Night and only lost to him by a 50.7 to 49.3 percent margin after a month of subsequent vote counting. That was the closest shave ever for longtime incumbent Costa. Things were just about as tight for Bera, who bested former Republican Congressman Doug Ose by just 50.4-49.6 percent, or 1,460 votes out of about 180,000 cast.

There was also Peters, who topped former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio by barely 6,000 votes out of 190,000 cast.

The largest victory margin for any of these folks belonged to Ruiz, who had a 54-46 victory percentage. Still not much breathing room.

Each of these politicos knows he or she will surely be a target for the GOP next fall and that if the Republicans stage a strong presidential campaign, all of them could be voted out.

Which goes to show that election returns shape votes even if no one likes talking about this powerful aspect of realpolitik.

in Opinion
Related Posts

Column From Santa Monica Mayor Himmelrich: We Walk the Talk

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

By Sue Himmelrich, Santa Moncia Mayor  I like the SMa.r.t. architects. I often agree with them. But in allowing Mark...

Is Gelson’s Our Future? Bigger Is Not Better!

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

It’s appalling to see what’s happening in our city – projects recently built or about to be approved – in...

Renting Your Second Home

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

If you are among the many Americans who own a second home that you occasionally use as a vacation getaway,...

Column: Cities Fight to Maintain Distinctive Characters

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist Anyone who knows California well will realize that Palo Alto does not look much like nearby...

SMa.r.t. Column: Gelson’s, Boxed-In

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

This week we are re-visiting an article from 2018 regarding the Miramar project, by simply replacing the word “Miramar” with...

Column: Are You Talking Yourself Out of Saving for Retirement? Here’s How to Break the Habit

May 5, 2022

May 5, 2022

Saving for retirement can be an abstract concept. It’s something we all know we should do, but the farther away...

SMa.r.t. Column: Failure to Plan…

April 30, 2022

April 30, 2022

Over the last approximately two years your City has been busy trying to respond to new California laws that are...

Letter to Editor: Your “Standing Firm With Santa Monica” Initiative

April 25, 2022

April 25, 2022

The following is an open letter to Councilmember Sue Himmelrich from Santa Monica resident Arthur Jeon regarding a proposed transfer...

SMa.r.t. Column: Planning The Real Future

April 24, 2022

April 24, 2022

In the 1970s, renowned USC architecture professor Ralph Knowles developed a method for planning and designing cities that would dramatically...

SMa.r.t. Column: New City Financial Plan: The Resident Homeowner Bank

April 15, 2022

April 15, 2022

Part II: Who pays the proposed transfer tax and where does the money go? Last week, we introduced the proposed...

Column: NIMBYs Getting a Bad Rap

April 8, 2022

April 8, 2022

By Tom Elias Rarely has a major group of Californians suffered a less deserved rash of insults and attacks than...

SMa.r.t. Column: New City Financial Plan – The Resident Homeowner Bank

April 8, 2022

April 8, 2022

Part 1 of 2 In this two-part article, we will discuss both the proposed transfer tax ballot initiative and the...

Column: Tackling Childcare Costs

April 7, 2022

April 7, 2022

Finding affordable, quality childcare is essential for many working parents. The current shortage of care options is helping drive up...

SMa.r.t. Column: Tunneling for Mobility

April 1, 2022

April 1, 2022

Editor’s note: this is an April Fools Day column and is intended to be satire.  Starting this year permits from...

SMa.r.t. Column: The Value of Our Boulevards

March 28, 2022

March 28, 2022

Following is a composite of past articles dealing with the accelerated demise of our beachfront environment together with the increasing...