California: Land of Fruits and Nuts in the Jungle (Primary)

For as long as I can remember, California has been facetiously branded "the land of fruits and nuts."  At the same time – at least until recent years – it was ironically acknowledged to be America's innovative land of milk and honey.

In the mid-fifties, when I put my winter coat in mothballs and moved to Southern California, the Golden State was the place to head to, not only for the good weather, but for the generally hopeful climate in which one's dream might flourish.  Now the term "dreamer" is associated with those whose illegal alien parents brought them illegally to America –mostly in droves to the promised land of California.

When my young husband and I made the trek west from Illinois in the middle of the last century, we faced a forced drive across an inhospitable desert in our nearly new, un-air-conditioned sea-green Pontiac sedan.  Even though we wisely crossed a stretch of the Mojave at night, it helped to put ice cubes into the car's limited air vents.

Despite its economic and political importance, the Golden State has become badly tarnished – not that you would suspect as much from the recent primary election, during which slews of ambitious liberal politicians talked about defending "California values" as they battled it out to land among the top two vote-getters earning the right to continue their campaigns for five more months leading up to November 6.

Those of my acquaintances who live elsewhere in the United States are appalled at the very existence of California's bizarre "jungle primary," in which every eligible voter can weigh in on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation.  (And some would say plenty of ineligible voters, too!)

One result of this altered primary process has been to encourage an impossibly crowded ballot, crammed not only with candidates from all parties, but with the usual state propositions – sometimes termed "measures "– that have become a dismal national example of calling upon citizens to legislate by ballot those state issues that their legislators have botched or neglected to address.

Perhaps this overload contributes to the state's consistently low turnout of primary voters.  In any event, despite the righteous Democrat accusations routinely leveled against Republicans for "disenfranchising the vulnerable," only a fraction more than 20% of California's voters on the rolls bothered to participate in the recent primary contest.  (Some 180,000 were inadvertently let off the "official" lists – another instance of incompetence in a state locked down by Democratic rule.)

Aside from some more or less conservative areas in the Golden State, it is as deep blue as the Pacific Ocean it borders.  As such, it has become a reliable resource in the Democrat column, an important and hitherto dependable element factoring into the ultimate control of the United States Congress, particularly in this election cycle the House of Representatives .

But California's "jungle primary," the source of such pride from liberal lions, may be inadvertently killing the beast that feeds on it.  This year, the DNC has been depending on true-blue California to "flip" some of its Republican congressional districts, currently represented by Republicans but considered "up for grabs."  Instead, the present primary rules allow for the possibility that two Republican contenders will take the top two spots in competitive contests, thus shutting the door to a vital Democratic challenge on which a liberal turn of the tide could well depend.

When the jungle primary was first decreed, its Democrat defenders offered the phony justification that the previous system of separate party primaries tended to result in partisan voters choosing the more "extreme" candidates, meaning that the electorate would be invariably "stuck" with choosing one of them in the general election.  They grandly maintained that this could be rectified by having a "mix" of voters from all parties registering their wishes on the same primary ballot.  It hasn't.  (Maybe because more "extreme" voters are more motivated to participate in a primary, period.)

All eyes will stay on California this election year – but not necessarily with a sense of envy.  The state is becoming known less for its promise than for its broken promises, less for its privilege than for its poverty – not to mention its deteriorating infrastructure, high taxes, astronomical gas prices, clogged freeways, inadequate public transportation, homelessness, mounting welfare rolls, drug addiction, high cost of housing, continuing influx of illegal aliens, and other social concerns in what its lefty leaders – in proud defiance of the law of the land – have now declared to be a "sanctuary state."

These days, the California hijra is often across the desert in the opposite direction: to Arizona, Texas, Nevada.  Or north to the Pacific Northwest. For those who have resided in the once Golden State for decades, this reversal of fortune is almost impossible to grasp and even harder to swallow.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Republican John Cox made it into the "playoffs," if you will.  He is not expected to win the governorship.  At the very least, he will turn the campaign from a hate-fest against President Donald Trump into a serious discussion of why this piece of heaven has fallen from grace.

For as long as I can remember, California has been facetiously branded "the land of fruits and nuts."  At the same time – at least until recent years – it was ironically acknowledged to be America's innovative land of milk and honey.

In the mid-fifties, when I put my winter coat in mothballs and moved to Southern California, the Golden State was the place to head to, not only for the good weather, but for the generally hopeful climate in which one's dream might flourish.  Now the term "dreamer" is associated with those whose illegal alien parents brought them illegally to America –mostly in droves to the promised land of California.

When my young husband and I made the trek west from Illinois in the middle of the last century, we faced a forced drive across an inhospitable desert in our nearly new, un-air-conditioned sea-green Pontiac sedan.  Even though we wisely crossed a stretch of the Mojave at night, it helped to put ice cubes into the car's limited air vents.

Despite its economic and political importance, the Golden State has become badly tarnished – not that you would suspect as much from the recent primary election, during which slews of ambitious liberal politicians talked about defending "California values" as they battled it out to land among the top two vote-getters earning the right to continue their campaigns for five more months leading up to November 6.

Those of my acquaintances who live elsewhere in the United States are appalled at the very existence of California's bizarre "jungle primary," in which every eligible voter can weigh in on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation.  (And some would say plenty of ineligible voters, too!)

One result of this altered primary process has been to encourage an impossibly crowded ballot, crammed not only with candidates from all parties, but with the usual state propositions – sometimes termed "measures "– that have become a dismal national example of calling upon citizens to legislate by ballot those state issues that their legislators have botched or neglected to address.

Perhaps this overload contributes to the state's consistently low turnout of primary voters.  In any event, despite the righteous Democrat accusations routinely leveled against Republicans for "disenfranchising the vulnerable," only a fraction more than 20% of California's voters on the rolls bothered to participate in the recent primary contest.  (Some 180,000 were inadvertently let off the "official" lists – another instance of incompetence in a state locked down by Democratic rule.)

Aside from some more or less conservative areas in the Golden State, it is as deep blue as the Pacific Ocean it borders.  As such, it has become a reliable resource in the Democrat column, an important and hitherto dependable element factoring into the ultimate control of the United States Congress, particularly in this election cycle the House of Representatives .

But California's "jungle primary," the source of such pride from liberal lions, may be inadvertently killing the beast that feeds on it.  This year, the DNC has been depending on true-blue California to "flip" some of its Republican congressional districts, currently represented by Republicans but considered "up for grabs."  Instead, the present primary rules allow for the possibility that two Republican contenders will take the top two spots in competitive contests, thus shutting the door to a vital Democratic challenge on which a liberal turn of the tide could well depend.

When the jungle primary was first decreed, its Democrat defenders offered the phony justification that the previous system of separate party primaries tended to result in partisan voters choosing the more "extreme" candidates, meaning that the electorate would be invariably "stuck" with choosing one of them in the general election.  They grandly maintained that this could be rectified by having a "mix" of voters from all parties registering their wishes on the same primary ballot.  It hasn't.  (Maybe because more "extreme" voters are more motivated to participate in a primary, period.)

All eyes will stay on California this election year – but not necessarily with a sense of envy.  The state is becoming known less for its promise than for its broken promises, less for its privilege than for its poverty – not to mention its deteriorating infrastructure, high taxes, astronomical gas prices, clogged freeways, inadequate public transportation, homelessness, mounting welfare rolls, drug addiction, high cost of housing, continuing influx of illegal aliens, and other social concerns in what its lefty leaders – in proud defiance of the law of the land – have now declared to be a "sanctuary state."

These days, the California hijra is often across the desert in the opposite direction: to Arizona, Texas, Nevada.  Or north to the Pacific Northwest. For those who have resided in the once Golden State for decades, this reversal of fortune is almost impossible to grasp and even harder to swallow.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Republican John Cox made it into the "playoffs," if you will.  He is not expected to win the governorship.  At the very least, he will turn the campaign from a hate-fest against President Donald Trump into a serious discussion of why this piece of heaven has fallen from grace.