Thoughts on California Midterms: Defeats for Big Money, November Hopes Survive for Democrats

by on June 11, 2018 · 0 comments

in California, Under the Perfect Sun

Thud! What’s that sound? It’s the unceremonious crash landing of tens of millions of dollars of Charter Schools Association money in the Governor’s race backing Antonio Villaraigosa.

Never has such an obscene amount of money been spent on a bad cause with so little to show for it. The good news here is that their efforts to turn the November election into a proxy war between the billionaire boys club and California’s educators failed miserably.

Now, rather than having to watch the tragic irony of a multimillion-dollar crusade against teachers’ unions standing in for our Governor’s race in California while elsewhere in the red states teachers are turning the tide against decades of austerity budgeting brought to us by the GOP, we can watch a Democrat cruise to victory against the Trump-endorsed Republican.

That’s more like it.

Paid for with Major Funding from the Walton (Walmart) Family & Reed Hastings

Here in San Diego, the same Charter Schools Association pumped in big money to win the County Board of Education and also lost. In the closing days, they showed their true colors by bashing the incumbents as being tools of “union bosses” and “liberal” or, worse, “leftwing” unions. Nonetheless, the voters sided with the teachers.

Next time, progressive friends, when those same folks try to convince you that they are really goodhearted people fighting for “the children,” remember that when you scratch them, their inner Betsy DeVos comes out. Take them at their word: they don’t like liberals or the left and their agenda is a reactionary attack on the public sector.

Unfortunately, the billionaire boys club managed to get Marshall Tuck into the lead position in the Superintendent of Public Instruction race by a couple of percentage points by outspending the Democrats’ endorsed candidate, Tony Thurmond, 3-1. In that race, they also happily aligned themselves with the right (more on this in the Fall). Let’s hope that a much more robust Democratic turnout in November will be enough to overcome Tuck’s shady money and Republican allies.

Splash! What’s that sound? It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars of Lincoln Club and Working Families Council money hitting the toilet bowl before swirling around and heading down the drain for good.

In another positive turn of events, the Lincoln Club failed in their effort to choose their opponent in the County Board of Supervisors race, and their toxic alliance of convenience with the revanchist splinter group went down in flames. The bottom line here is that were it not for the huge independent expenditure campaigns, this would not have been a race at all on the Democratic side. Any claims to the contrary are either embarrassingly naïve or transparently disingenuous.

In sum, it’s a very good thing that the Lincoln Club lost this battle, a first defeat in what one hopes will ultimately lead to their losing the long war for political power in San Diego. Now it’s highly likely that the Democrats will take a seat on the County Board in November and this will go down as a nasty, but not disastrous episode in the sad annals of what constitutes the left side of the aisle in San Diego politics.

Whew! What’s that sound? The huge collective sigh of relief that the Democrats failed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory in the Congressional races.

That’s not saying that they didn’t try super hard to do so, but even with no discernible leadership or coherent plan on the progressive side, California still stands a chance to play a pivotal role in taking the House of Representatives in November. Now if we can just get people to the polls, the most essential task of our times—stopping the Trump agenda and all the damage it is doing—is still achievable.

More on this in the Fall . . .

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