January 25, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

California May Soon Assume Proper Presidential Role

By Thomas D. Elias

For all three decades since Ronald Reagan left the presidency, California has been all but irrelevant at the top level of American politics. Sure, plenty of ultra-wealthy Californians are regularly among the top moneybags raising funds for candidates from elsewhere on all parts of the political spectrum.

But no Californian has had a decent shot at becoming President since Reagan in 1980.

This might change in 2020, as several significant Golden State figures are now looking like candidates, while the one person best situated to run denies having current interest in the job.

California’s long run of irrelevance has a lot to do with the timing of primary elections, where this state has often voted long after the nominees of both parties were pretty well settled elsewhere in a clear-cut case of the tail wagging the dog.

The cast of characters occupying the governor’s office has also not helped. Republican Pete Wilson staged a 1990s-era run that was completely stymied when he lost his voice for weeks. Democrat Gray Davis never had a real chance, in part because of scandals at home. The Austrian-born Republican muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger was ineligible. And many considered current Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, a two-time previous loser, too old for serious consideration.

But plenty of Californian Democrats are running right now, while one major figure is not.

Most prominent among the state’s active presidential possibilities is Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a former state attorney general and San Francisco district attorney who might have trouble pointing to a significant achievement other than getting elected several times. Harris has acted like a candidate both in very vocal and confrontational Senate hearings and by helping out candidates in other states.

She’ll have a campaign-like book out in January with the wonky title “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey.” She’s even been attacked by President Trump via Twitter, offering prompt and pithy ripostes.

There are also Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has spent time in both the early primary and caucus states of New Hampshire and Iowa without visibly inspiring anyone, and East Bay area Congressman Eric Swalwell, once the youngest member of Congress and still only 37, just two years over the minimum age limit to become President. Swalwell, like Garcetti, has not inspired many, but may merely be setting himself up for the future.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is another CA politician who may run for President in 2020.

Then there’s Pasadena-area Congressman Adam Schiff, who is not actively campaigning, but has won admirers nationally for the style and content of his opposition to Trump as ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee.

But the best situated California presidential possibility is Gavin Newsom, the odds-on favorite to win the governor’s office this fall. Newsom keeps saying he’s not interested in a 2020 run for President, but who knows what he might do a year from now, if he’s had almost a year of governing California in potentially interesting ways that figure to make national headlines?

That was how his time as mayor of San Francisco went, with Newsom delivering America’s first legally-recognized same-sex marriages and the first city with universal health care, a top Democratic priority here and in many other places.

But Newsom, who started running for governor right after Brown was reelected in 2014, likes to begin his campaigns early, just like Harris, who declared for the Senate two years before her election, immediately after former Sen. Barbara Boxer announced retirement plans.

Plus, Harris and Newsom are longtime political allies who share a campaign consulting firm and have never stepped on each other’s toes. So Newsom may bide his time.

Still…Newsom running in the 2020 primaries as California’s favorite son would have unique advantages. If he could dominate that scene as he has seemed to dominate the governor’s race, he could get virtually all California’s Democratic National Convention delegates, giving him more than 20 percent of the number needed for nomination before the primary season even starts.

No one else begins with that kind of edge. And plenty of politicians have run after first denying their interest.

So California may have much more of a role two years from now than it has in many years. Which might make this state’s politics even more interesting after the November election than they are right now.

Elias is author of the current book “The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It,” now available in an updated third edition. His email address is tdelias@aol.com

in Opinion
Related Posts

Santa Monica’s Future: Will Developers or Residents Rule? – Part 3 Our Boulevards

January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022

This is the 3rd of a 5 part article outlining serious issues that Santa Monica residents and the City Council...

Letter to the Editor: A Solution for Drivers and Mountain Lions Alike

January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022

The recent story, Local Mountain Lions Show First Reproductive Effects of Inbreeding, highlights a study that found mountain lions in...

Opinion: Housing Battle Heats up in Signature Season

January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist Even before a proposed homeowner-inspired measure aiming to restore full zoning powers to local governments hit...

Santa Monica’s Future: Will Developers or Residents Rule? – Part 2 Our Downtown

January 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

This is the 2nd of five weekly articles looking at the history and current condition of Santa Monica’s beachfront environment...

Column: Let’s talk About the Soil

January 12, 2022

January 12, 2022

Everyone knows that we are undergoing a climate change not seen on the earth before. We all understand what is...

A New Years Glimpse Into Santa Monica’s Future: Will Developers or Residents Rule?

January 7, 2022

January 7, 2022

It’s a New Year, a make-or-break year for Santa Monica!! How much do you care about your city and it’s...

Opinion: Attorney General Spurs on Big 2022 Housing Battle

January 7, 2022

January 7, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist There will be plenty of political battles next year, starting with likely reelection challenges to Gov....

Should California Have a Formal Right to Shelter?

January 3, 2022

January 3, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist On a de facto basis, Californians have had a right to shelter for many years. But...

SM.a.r.t Wishes for 2022

January 3, 2022

January 3, 2022

We wish for: All California residents to gain back the control of their Cities from Sacramento’s draconian power grab by...

SMa.r.t. 2021 Christmas Card

December 22, 2021

December 22, 2021

Dear Readers, SM.a.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow) wish you all a joyous Holiday Season and a Wonderful...

Seismic Water Resiliency

December 16, 2021

December 16, 2021

This is the 2nd part of two-part article  (see smmirror.com/2021/12/sma-r-t-column-its-not-your-fault/ for the first part) Last week we wrote about the...

SMa.r.t. Column: It’s Not Your Fault

December 13, 2021

December 13, 2021

This is a two-part article Two large tectonic plates are engaged in a titanic multi-million year battle to slip past...

One of LA’s Best Omakase Counters is Tucked Away in a Santa Monica Hotel Lobby

December 8, 2021

December 8, 2021

Sushi Chef Masa Shimakawa’s Soko restaurant offers an extraordinary culinary experience By Sam Catanzaro Tucked into the lobby of a...

Building Conversion in Today’s Market Environment

December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021

Adaptive reuse, repurposing, and up-cycling of industrial and commercial buildings (“Conversion”) for greater in-demand uses are rapidly becoming the direction...

Opinion: Shore Hotel and Unite Here Local 11

December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021

By David G. Brown  While reading one of the mass text messages recently sent by Unite Here Local 11 in...