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Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 10:51 PM PDT

A look at CA politics Part 3

by lordpet8

Welcome to my 3rd part of my CA Politics series.
You can find my previous installments here: Part 1, Part 2

When we last left off, California had just come out of the 1986 midterms. The elections was bit of a wash for both parties. Voters chose to keep the status quo with statewide electeds with no party gaining any new offices. Gray Davis (Jerry Brown's former chief of staff) was elected as state controller while Republicans made modest gains in both chambers of legislature(though Democrats still remained firmly in control). Democratic senator Alan Cranston fought of a tough challenge from moderate Republican congressman, Ed Zschau, by winning by a mere 1.5%. The main victory for conservatives came with the successful recall of Chief Justice Rose Bird (and yes that is the much younger Fred Karger in the linked video, who ran for president in 2012).

Before we continue on I want to take a step back and looks some Los Angeles Mayoral races particularly the Yorty vs Bradley races. We'll first start of with a look at the two candidates

Sam Yorty

Sam Yorty, as you may remember, was the Democrat who won Helen Gahagan Douglass's house seat when she ran for Senate unsuccessfully in 1950. Yorty started out his career by winning an assembly seat in 1936 and was generally a rather liberal new deal politician. Yorty often sided with labor and even won the endorsement of the local communist party(thanks in part to him backing the loyalist faction over Franco in the Spanish Civil War). Soon after, that endorsement caused some trouble for Yorty as he was investigated by the California Senate fact finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities.  He went on to unsuccessfully challenge longtime Republican senator. Hiram Johnson, in 1940 by running as a liberal internationalist candidate. Yorty failed to even win the Democratic primary as his support fractured in a divided Democratic field. Meanwhile Hiram Johnson running as the only Republican consolidated his support and pulled in 50% of the vote. Thus the popular Johnson actually won both major party primaries and easily won the general election. Cross-filing was still legal at the time.

Yorty began to reevaluate his positions after the loss and moved to the right. He briefly served WW2 and then returned back to the assembly. He then ran for Douglass's open house seat in 1950, easily winning the reliably blue seat. He ran for one more term in 1952 before setting his sights on the senate again. Nixon's election to veep had triggered a special election. The appointed Republican, Thomas Kuchel, was running to complete the rest of Nixon's term. Kuchel and Yorty ran in both party primaries but this time Yorty was able to win the Democratic primary. The liberal Kuchel ended up beating Yorty 54-47 in the general election. Suffering his second senatorial defeat, Yorty took a break from politics.

In 1960 he came out to endorse Nixon for president much to the chagrin of his party. So it was no surprise that when Yorty began running for mayor of Los Angeles the following year much of the party establishment used their funds and energy to oppose him. But Yorty ran on populist message, promising to expand freeways end sorting of wet and dry garbage (the incineration of which contributed to the air pollution in the city). He was able to make it to a runoff election against the Republican incumbent, Norris Poulson.  Yorty took advantage of the fact that Poulson was hampered with attacks over expenses incurred for moving the Dodgers franchise to the city. Poulson had the terribly luck of getting a bad case of laryngitis which kept him unable to defend or debate for the campaign. Yorty narrowly defeated Poulson 51.45%-48.55% . Yorty kept his promises from his campaign but maintained a conservative record which opposed communism and was critical of the civil rights movement.

Yorty ran for a second term in 1965 and was challenged by James Roosevelt, the son of FDR. Roosevelt had an extensive campaign which spent 450K on campaign ads, buttons, billboards and commercials. Yorty spent less than half of what Roosevelt did but focused on his achievements of lowering city taxes and fixing waste collection. Roosevelt attacked Yorty for being member of a segregated club and his conservative stances. But in the end it wasn't enough as Yorty triumphed winning the election outright with 57% of the vote.

Tom Bradley

LOS ANGELES, CA - 1980:  Mayor Tom Bradley poses during a 1980 Los Angeles, California, photo portrait session in front of City Hall. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tom Bradley
Bradley started his career as a police officer who first got interested in politics campaigning for Adlai Stevenson in 1950's and working with Calfornia Democratic Council. He ran for an open city council seat winning both the special election and a full 4 year term in 1963. Bradley was the first African American city councilman for Los Angeles.

1969 LA Mayoral Race

Although Yorty had begun to grow tired of his position and seek higher office, (he unsuccessfully ran for Democratic nomination for president in 1964 and CA governor in 1966) he decided to run for a 3rd term. By this time Yorty had grown even more conservative was basically a Democrat in name only. He had come out to support Reagan's successful campaign as governor, supported the war in Vietnam and refused to endorse Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 presidential election. In addition Yorty had come off as largely tone deaf in response to the Watts riots and had seen his popularity plummet. City councilman Bradley seized on the opportunity to challenge Yorty. The campaign grew heated with Yorty attacking Bradley of being far left and having communist or black power sympathies. Yorty used every chance to highlight his conservative views and insert racial animosity into the election. Despite all this Bradley led the way capturing key newspaper endorsements and several national Democrats (Ted Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey) stepped in to help his campaign. In the first round Bradley led the incumbent Yorty by an impressive 41.8%-26.09% and most were ready to write the political obituary of Yorty. But Yorty continued to blast Bradley with negative attacks saying the city would would fall into racial and lawless turmoil if Bradley were elected. Although most of these attacks were blatantly false they seemed to be having an effect on Bradley's support. Bradley main failing in this campaign was that he never brought up his service in the police force to counter Yorty. In the end Yorty triumphed in a major upset by winning 53.26% to 46.75%.


1973  LA Mayoral Race

Yorty had grown even more tired of his position and decided to run again for the governorship in 1970 and the presidency in 1972. This time he spent nearly 40% of his time away from Los Angeles on his failed presidential bid and transferred much of his duties to his staff. Yorty only garnered 6% in the New Hampshire primary as his conservative views made him seem increasingly as a relic in the face of the national Democratic party that was moving leftward.
Bradley challenged Yorty again in a rematch. Once again Bradley led in the first round, this time by a narrower 35.39% to Yorty's 28.86%. Yorty used his same race baiting tactics of accusing Bradley of having support of Black Panthers and ultra-leftists. But this time the attacks failed garner the support Yorty had received in the past election. Bradley had built up a strong citywide racial, religious and ethnic coalition and easily bested Yorty in the runoff election 56.34%-43.66%, becoming only the 2nd African American mayor of a major US city at the time.

Random trivia: Yorty did actually win the support of one delegate during his 1972 presidential bid, Woody Jenkins. Yes that's the same Woody Jenkins who ran unsuccessfully as Republican House candidate against Don Cazayoux in 2008 special election.

Continuing back where we left of with my last installment:

In 1988 Republican George H. W. Bush won the presidency and narrowly carried California by a 51.13%-47.56% margin. It was the 6th consecutive election in which the Golden State had voted for a Republican presidential candidate (keep in mind the GOP ran CA natives for 4 of those elections). Democrats performed strongly in the northern counties along with LA county but it still wasn't enough to turn the state blue. But having Bush win the state by a smaller margin than his predecessor, led him to have negative coattails in the state. Democrats gained a state senate seat and 3 assembly seats. Still incumbent Republican senator, Pete Wilson was able to fend off a challenge from sitting Lt. Governor, Leo T. McCarthy.

1990 Midterms
Although Governor Deukmejian was eligible for a 3rd term, he decided to retire. Both parties had their eyes on the governorship. Senator Wilson had grown tired of the senate and decided to run for the governorship even though he was only 2 years into his second term. The two main Democrats interested in the position were  San Francisco Mayor, Dianne Feinstein and attorney general, John Van de Kamp. One of the key differences between the two candidates was that Van De Kamp was against the death penalty while Feinstein supported it.. She even ran ad during the primary where her support of the death penalty was met with huge boos from liberal delegates at the state convention. The ad highlighted her independence and proved effective in winning the Democratic primary. During the general election Wilson and Feinstein campaigned as moderates. They both were pro-choice and supported more environmental laws. Feinstein ended up winning most of the coastal counties of CA but that wasn't enough to counter Wilson carrying the remaining inland counties, Thus Wilson was elected governor by a 49.25%-45.78% margin.  Wilson then appointed Republican state senator John F. Seymour to his vacant senate seat.

As for the remaining races, Democrats padded their legislative majorities winning one state senate and one assembly seat. Republicans picked up the now open Attorney General's seat with congressman Dan Lungren. In the house races the burtonmander had begun to lose its luster as 3 seats changed parties. Population growth and demographic changes of the past 8 years and had made the CA gerrymander susceptible. Democrats defeated one incumbent with Cal Dooley while Republicans defeated two incumbents with Duke Cunningham and Frank Riggs. The end result was a net gain of one seat for GOP going against national Democratic trend for Bush's midterm.

*Minor correction: In my previous installment I had stated that the Democratic gerrymander, the Burtonmander, had given Democrats an impressive 28-17 Dem advantage for the house delegation for 8 years. In actuality Democrats did lose one seat during that time. In 1984 the conservative Bob Dornan returned back to congress defeating Jerry M. Patterson giving the Democrats a 27-18 advantage instead. After the 1990 midterms this advantage was reduced to 26-19.

*note this clip contains coverage from the 1990 and 1994 CA gubernatorial elections.

1992: Laying the groundwork for a Democratic California

The 1992 election was a major turning point in California Politics. California's booming population led the state to gain an additional 7 house seats for reapportionment. With a divided government (Republican Governor and Democratic Legislature) redistricting was thrown to the courts. At the same time California's economy was in the toilet. The end of the cold war eliminated much of defense contracting sectors in the state and sent the state into a huge recession.

I'll let Professor Louis Warren give you a better idea of the California Environment at the time.

Indeed, the state’s condition was dire. The nation remembers the recession of the early 1990s as a mild one, but in California it was the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Huge defense companies such as General Dynamics, Raytheon and others laid off hundreds of thousands of engineers and other white collar workers. Housing values fell far from their 1980s peak, and many new homeowners soon held mortgages greater than their property values. The poor endured steep service cuts and high unemployment. In 1992, in the aftermath of the verdict exonerating the LAPD officers who beat Rodney King, the city of Los Angeles exploded in the biggest civil insurrection since the Civil War.
California Democrats began regroup, reorganize, and rebuild the party from 1991-1992. They had to defend a senate seat, compete in a special election senate race, and attempt to turn California blue at the presidential level.

Incumbent senator Alan Cranston had become embroiled in the Keating 5 scandal and decided to retire than run for a 5th term. Democrats nominated Marin county congresswoman, Barbara Boxer. Republicans selected Bruce Herschensohn, a conservative political commentator, who had previously lost the Republican primary for senate in 1986. Boxer originally led in the senate race by double digits but Bruce Herschensohn began attacking her on the house banking scandal. As it turned out Boxer had written several bad checks. To remedy the matter she wrote a $15 check to the Deficit Reduction Fund for each of her 87 overdrafts. By then the race narrowed as the momentum seemed to be on Herschensohn's side. A last minute attack blasting Herschensohn for visiting a strip club turned the tide toward Boxer as Herschensohn's campaign was forced to deal with the allegations (Herschensohn did admit to visting a strip club with his girlfriend) rather than campaign. Boxer prevailed over Herschensohn winning 47.9%-43%

There also was a special election to fill the remainder of Pete Wilson's senate term. Diane Feinstein was once again nominated as the Democratic contender to challenge Republican appointee, John F. Seymour. Feinstein  had the advantage of name recognition from her previous campaign for governor while Seymour was still barely known to much of the state. Feinstein crushed Seymour 54.29%-37.96% by winning a combination of coastal counties and inland ancestral Democratic counties (some that McGovern and Carter had previously won)

In the Presidential election Bill Clinton triumphed by unseating Bush and winning California with a 46% plurality. It was the first time a Democrat had carried the state since LBJ had his landslide in 1964. The state has since remained reliably blue at the presidential level ever since.

Despite the districts being drawn by the Republican majority court, Democrats picked up 4 house seats to the Republican's 3, giving Democrats a 30-22 house delegation. Thus 1992 was largely a banner year for the California Democrats. The only bright spot for the GOP is that they gained a state senate seat but were still in the minority of the chamber.

The Republican Wave of 1994 and Prop 187

Governor Pete Wilson's approvals were abysmal. The economy in California had not recovered that well yet. In order to balance the buget, Wilson championed one of the largest tax increases in the state history with a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans in the legislature(I know that's hard to believe today and if you ever check Wilson's Wikipedia you'll see they've scrubbed any mention of tax increases during his term). While this measure helped California regain its economic footing, it proved disastrous to Wilson's approvals within his own party. It was no surprise that conservatives were fuming angry with their governor's tax proposal. Polling put Wilson nearly 20 points behind his Democratic challenger, CA state treasurer and sister of Jerry Brown, Kathleen Brown. Wilson needed to do something to turn his political fortunes around. He opted to run a conservative campaign and bolster his support with conservatives the very opposite of his 1990 campaign. He saw his chance when Republican State Senator Dick Mountjoy (yes that's his real name) put Prop 187 on the ballot.

Proposition 187 basically would deny social services (public schooling, healthcare, etc.) to illegal immigrants. The proposition was leading the polls and Wilson saw it as the best chance to save his political career. Thus Wilson and California Republicans tied their campaigns to Prop 187.

Diane Feinstein was also on the ballot as she now had to run for a full 6 year term. Republicans recruited the wealthy and centrist congressman Michael Huffington to challenge her. Huffington spent an enormous 29 million dollars on his campaign to unseat Feinstein. In the closing days of the campaign it was revealed that Huffington had employed undocumented workers despite supporting prop 187. The race proved to be a nail bitter. Feinstein narrowly lead with 46.7% to Huffington's 44.8%  but the race wasn't called until enough absentee ballots were counted to ensure her victory.

The election turned out to be a huge boon for Republicans. Wilson was easily reelected with 55% of the vote. Republicans netted 3 more statewide offices (Treasurer, Secretary of State, and Insurance Commisioner). Lungren easily held onto his post as Attorney General. Democrats managed to only hold onto the open Lt. Governor and Controller races with Gray Davis and Kathleen Connell. Republicans gained 2 seats in the state senate and won control of the assembly with a 1 vote majority for the first time since 1968. Republicans also picked up 3 house seats and then won a special election the year after with Tom Campbell. This lead to a tied house delegation with Democrats and Republicans each having 26 house seats. This was the first time Democrats didn't have a majority of the house delegation since 1958!

Trivia: Although Republicans won control of the assembly they didn't get control the speakership till a full year later. Longtime Speaker, Willie Brown, exploited the GOP's 1-seat majority by winning cross-over support from disaffected Republicans (Paul Horcher, Doris Allen, Brian Setencich). Republicans didn't get the chance to elect Curt Pringle as speaker till Brown had left the assembly to become mayor of San Francisco in 1996. Tennessee Democrats did something similar after the 2008 elections

Prop 187 passed overwhelmingly 58.93%-41.07% but was soon blocked by the courts and never implemented. Still the proposition had done its job electing Republicans for the time being.

The Rachel Maddow Show discussed Prop 187 (starting at 2:45-9:05)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Trivia: In 1994 long time Secretary of State, March Eu Fong resigned to take an ambassadorship with the Clinton Administration. This led to Tony Miller becoming acting secretary of state and the first openly gay statewide officer (albeit he had not been elected to the position). Miller did run for the position in his own right in 1994 but lost to Republican Bill Jones. Miller still holds the title of being the first openly gay candidate to run for statewide office.

1996: A Democratic Resurgence

Although Republicans had performed well in the previous cycle much of their base had been wiped out. Many of the Californians who had lost their defense jobs were Republicans who ended up leaving the state to find other work. In addition to that the aftermath of Prop 187 racially polarized the state.

Here's some more insight from professor Warren

Historically, Mexican immigrants were often wary of becoming U.S. citizens, and when they did they were only slightly more likely to vote Democrat than Republican. Many harbored dreams of returning to Mexico to retire.But 1994 changed all that. By tarring Latinos as “illegals,” Republicans drove far more legal Mexican immigrants to become not only citizens and voters, but Democrats.
Republicans got their first taste of the changing electorate in the 1996 election. Increased Latino turnout helped propel Democrats to reverse the 1994 tide. Democrats padded their senate majority by 1 seat and had a net gain of 4 assembly seats, retaking the chamber. Democrats defeated 3 house Republicans (Bill Baker, Andrea Seastrand and Bob Dornan) returning the house delegation to a 29-23 Democratic advantage. Clinton easily carried the state 51.1%-38.21%-6.96%. Prior to this many pundits had thought of Clinton's 1992 win in California to be a fluke, but with second consecutive win the state was moving rapidly in the D column.

This concludes my 3rd installment of "A look at Politics of CA" I hope you found it be to be worth your while. Next We will look at the continued Democratic resurgence of California and the recall election.


What was your favorite CA election covered in this diary?

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| 34 votes | Vote | Results


Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:28 AM PDT

California Outlook (US House Races)

by lordpet8

This diary will look at the competitive House elections in California. There are two important events that help shape this year's elections. Firstly, instead the boring old incumbent protection maps used in the last decade, Californians opted for an independent redistricting committee. Thus, several brand new competitive seats were created and Democrats have the opportunity to make some decent gains in the state.  The second issue is that California recently passed a top two primary system. Instead of separate primaries for each party, all candidates run on the same ballot, with the top two highest vote-getters advancing to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. The main concern is being careful not to run too many candidates, which could split the vote and leave a free seat that has two Republicans in the general election. Believe it or not this not new for California, which opted to test out this jungle primary system during the 1998 and 2000 elections. This article is a must read for insight about how those two elections turned out for the state and what it will mean for this year's elections. The main takeaways are:

-The electorate for the primaries is very different from the General election. In fact the primary electorate tends to be much smaller, skew more in favor or Republicans less toward Democratic minorities.

Turnout soars in California between primaries and general elections, as it does everywhere else. In 2000, over 10.4 million people voted in November after fewer than 7.9 million turned out for the primary. More than 12.3 million Californians voted in the 2008 general election, but fewer than 5 million turned out for the primary this June. The data points to one conclusion: A preponderance of the new general election voters each year favor Democrats, and that helps them improve margins from the primary
So the key here is to ensure the Democrat advances to general election whether it be first or second place.
Democratic general election candidates were far more likely to improve upon their primary showings (and to improve by a greater extent) than were Republicans. Of the 83 races in which one party clearly improved its fortunes between primary day and the general election, the net Democratic vote increased (and the net GOP vote fell) in 66 of them, while Republican vote totals improved in only 17.
Basically don't get too worked up if Democratic incumbent came in slightly behind. In many of these races (like the ones I've rated likely/lean D) you can treat the Democratic vote as a "floors that they are likely to build upon for the general, when turnout will surely increase." Instead its Republican who come in slightly behind that have to worry about the general election in which they will face a less friendly electorate. Anyways without further ado lets on get on to the competitive races. Follow me below the fold

What is you favorite competive CA house race?

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| 180 votes | Vote | Results

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Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 12:30 AM PDT

1988 US Senate Elections Part 2

by lordpet8

Welcome to my second and last installment of the 1988 Senate Races.
This diary will look at elections in the Midwest and West.
For part 1, which covers the East and the South. click here.

When we last left off, Democrats had made a net gain of one seat in the East but had a net loss of one seat in the South.
I decided to include links to maps for the senate elections in this diary. You can now see results by county for each race. I plan to go add similar links to my previous diary.

Anyways lets now look at the remaining senate seats and continue below the fold

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Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 12:36 AM PDT

The last Democrat in the family

by lordpet8

So I don't usually do these sort of diaries but I really needed to get this off my chest. I put DKE tag since you're the community I'm closest too.

    So as I stated I'm last Democrat/liberal left in my immediate family. The funny thing  is this wasn't always the case. In fact, back in 1996 my parents were hardcore Democrats who loved Clinton. In 2000 they both cast their votes for Gore and weren't happy about the whole Florida debacle. They were even calling Katharine Harris a "witch" for stealing the election. My, how much I miss those days.  I was too young to really follow much of what was going on, but I did consider myself as a Democrat (because my parents were at the time). Then it happened, in 2004 out of nowhere they told me they were voting for Bush.  I didn't really think too much about it as it would be about another year before I would have an interest in politics. My junior year I took an AP US History class. As I learned the history behind the two parties, it solidified my views as a liberal Democrat. By my senior an AP Government class had sparked so much interest in politics I had taken it upon myself to learn all the members of congress and the historical leaders of the congress. It was around this time that I noticed I was slowly drifting apart from family ideologically. Right before I went off to college I decided to come out to my dad in a letter. He took it initially better than I expected though his main concern was that I would get AIDS or some other disease >_> . I was about to go tell my mom next but he stopped me telling me it was way too soon I held off and left for college the next week.

    The 2006 midterms were the first elections that I really watched intently. I began slowly following all the competitive races. Although I was one month shy of turning 18 for the election, I still took part in watching the CA Governor debates and getting involved with my college Democrats chapter. I was just as excited as everyone else to see the Democrats win back both houses of congress.  Ever since that election I've been very interested in following all sorts of political races.  It would be a little over year before I discovered Swing State Project. At the time there was a good deal of hype coming from an open seat in Mississippi. A Democratic candidate, Travis Childers, was looking to pull off a nice win in a deep red district. I was looking for a site which would be following the race. And that's how I came to find the Swing State Project. Ever since then I've been a swingnut for life.

By the time 2008 election came my parents were solidly in the McCain camp. Initially my mom had been a backer of Hillary in the primaries as was I. But the primary defeat turned her solidly to McCain, something I couldn't really comprehend on my end. Sure I was a little bummed that Hillary didn't win but there was no way I was going to vote for McCain (especially after the Palin pick). Obama had way more in common with me anyways. They were pretty much neutral on Obama and didn't have anything positive or negative at all to say for him. The most dissappointing was hearing that my folks were voting yes on Prop 8. No amount of debating or evidence I provided them was able to convince them. Fast forward to present  andaow all I can hear from are the same old fox new talking points. My little brother just registered as Republican (as my parents had been Republicans as he was growing up). They are all voting for Romney solely because they want to vote against Obama.  At this point, I've pretty much given up on talking about politics to them. Thankfully I live in the very blue friendly CA, where the state Republicans are broke and "dying at the box office."

While I can tolerate the ideological divide between my folks and me, I do get frustrated with them still not exactly being cool with me being gay. Don't get me wrong I do love my parents a lot. It is just that they can be mildly to moderately homophobic at times.  As I said earlier I still hadn't come out to my mom yet. I had already done my coming out in college so everyone knew I was basically out to everyone but a few in my family.  So I'm coming home for spring break during my junior year, and one morning out of the blue she plants the question "So I've hearing some rumors about you?" I had just watched Remember the Titans the previous night. There's scene in the movie where the football player called "Sunshine" totally kisses a guy in the locker room randomly. Later he his confronted about it by his teammates where he responds "Does it really even matter?" I used those very same words to respond, she was a little taken aback. She then went on to tell me random stories about many of my dad's friends are gay but are living in closet. I dunno if that was some weak attempt to convince me to not be out of the closest. I told her that being gay isn't the negative stereotype it once was. Heck I even explained to her that I had just won a student government office position by being out. Being gay didn't cost me any votes in fact, it might have even won me more votes. But she couldn't even fathom that. We eventually just dropped the conversation and didn't talk about it for a while.

Anyways I finished college and ended up moving back with parents. That's when we got into a big issue about how they felt it wouldn't be appropriate for me to be out of the closet. They kept insisting that my life would be rough and I would be constantly discriminated against. I told them really didn't care, I see no need to apologize or hide who I am.  What really bugged me was I got the vibe that it was more about them.  Like outsiders would judge them as "failed parents" or something for raising a gay son.  It cooled for a bit after that until tonight.  I come from a family of doctors, so when I told my dad at dinner that I wasn't really interested in pursuing a career in medicine he wasn't too happy.  Now my dad is quite hard to place, as you recall he seemed somewhat alright about me when I wrote the letter 6 years ago. I now would say he's sort of bipolar with his homophobia.  Sometimes he's can be uber cool and ask me if I'm seeing anyone and tell me that I could bring that person out for dinner at valentines. Then other times he's the complete opposite. Tonight was one of those times. He somehow took it out on me being gay as the reason why I wasn't good enough for Med School. That I was somehow "inferior" because of my different partner preference. He went on  saying that no professor at university could write a good letter about me because I was out of the closet.  Sigh ... I just don't even know where to start. He didn't seem to understand that being out isn't as much of liability anymore (especially in the college scene). For the record I had some excellent letters of rec .

The whole matter just got me a tad bit flustered, again I do love my parents I just wish it wouldn't come down to this. I normally just go run a few miles to clear my head, but it's late and I already did 3 miles this afternoon. So I thought it best to write it down in the hopes of getting it off my chest.

I guess I'm figuring out how to patch things up in the long run, right now it just feels like it will be long while before I bring a guy home for them to meet. Even If I managed to tie the knot in the future it will tough just even inviting them right now.
Apologies if this sounded like  a rant. I just want all you guys to know I'm glad to have you as friends. I will be alright now, and things will get better when I get myself a job and move out.

Thanks for listening


Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:17 AM PDT

1988 US Senate Elections Part 1

by lordpet8

This November senators of class 1 will be up reelection. This diary will look at these very same seats which are up for grabs this November but turn the clock back to 24 years earlier. 1988 was not just an election for Class 1 senators but it was also a presidential election, much like 2012. Republicans had their eyes set on taking back the senate which they lost conrol of in 1986. The GOP only needed net 4 seats to tie the body and 5 to win an outright majority of the chamber. George H.W. Bush ended up winning the presidency rather handily against Governor Michael Dukakis. But the senate races were a completely different story. In fact Democrats ended up padding their majority with a net gain of 1 seat. Bush it seemed had very limited coattails when it came to the senate races of 1988.
This diary series will look at all the senate races, which are divided into four regions(East, South, Midwest,and West). We also look at what happened to candidates after the election. I have also added CNN summary videos at the end of each section. (it truly is a shame they don't do congressional election coverage like this anymore)
This diary will look at senate elections in the East and the South.

So without further ado let us continue below the fold.

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Tue May 08, 2012 at 02:12 AM PDT

A Look at CA Politics: Part 2

by lordpet8

Welcome to my second installment of my A Look at California Politics series
part 1 can be found here

When we last left off CA voters had split tickets easily reelecting Reagan to the governorship and Democrat John Tunney to senate.

1972 Elections

California's rapid population growth resulted in the state gaining 5 additional house seats, moving from 38 to now a total of 43 seats. While Democrats did control both chambers of the legislature they lacked a supermajority to override Governor Reagan. As a result, Democratic congressman Phillip Burton drafted a new map that would preserve all 38 incumbents and create for the 5 new seats: 2 democratic, 2 Republican, and one marginal/swing seat. Reagan was originally inclined to sign off the new map. But when Burton tried to protect Republican Congressman Charles Teague he weakened Republican Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr.'s seat by snaking it up to the ocean to take in Oxnard which is a heavily hispanic and democratic area. Barry then complained to his dad Senator Goldwater of Arizona who in turn complained to Reagan who vetoed the maps. Caught in a stalemate on the issue, the California Court came in and declared that the maps produced by the legislature could be used for the 1972 elections but the legislature must draw a new map in 1973.These new seats included: one seat in the Bay Area, one in the Central Valley, and 3 in southern California; three went to Democrats, two to Republicans. Despite a retirement and two lost renominations, both parties held their seats in this election, bringing the Democrats up from 20 seats to 23 and the Republicans up from 18 seats to 20. In the end, this was an amazing feat of ticket splitting for CA Democrats, as this occurred during Richard Nixon's 1972 landslide election. Nixon dominated the state winning by a 14 point margin. George McGovern was only able to carry six counties (Sierra, Shasta,  Plumas ,Alameda,  San Francisco, Yolo) Interestingly enough the first 3 counties were ancestrally Democratic, today they are safe R counties. Nixon's victory did little to help his fellow Republicans in the state level. Democrats actually gained seats in the Assembly. Republicans did gain a state senate seat, but Democrats remained in control of the chamber.


Watergate & Jerry Brown

As a harbinger of things to come, Governor Reagan (though eligible to run for a 3rd term) decided to retire. Democrats ran their only state level elected, Jerry Brown. While Republicans nominated State Controller, Houston I. Flournoy. The Democrats in the legislature once again drew new congressional maps, but these maps were once again vetoed. The CA Supreme Court gave the ultimatum where the legislature was given 3 days to override Reagan's veto. The override failed and the Court took it upon itself to draw the new congressional maps for the upcoming elections.On November 28, 1973, the maps were unveiled. The map created a lot of districts where incumbents had to run in unfamiliar territory and in many cases shredded certain districts to pieces. (Hat tip:demographicarmageddon). The 1974 Watergate midterms devastated Republicans in the state. With only 6 months since Nixon had resigned and less than 2 months after the Nixon pardon, Republicans all across the state faced a harsh electoral environment along with unfamiliar territory due to the court drawn maps. Republicans lost all statewide races except Attorney General. Democrat Jerry Brown was elected governor, Alan Cranston cruised to a second term in the senate as Democrats gained seats in both chambers of the legislature and picked up 4 house seats.

Jerry Brown's 1st term as governor surprised many as he governed as fiscal conservative who wanted Californians to tighten their belts.  He focused on slowing the growth of state government while at the same time pushing for more environmental reforms. To save the state money and set a standard, Brown decided to live in 6 floor apt near the capitol instead of the Governor's mansion. He refused to ride in the Governor's limousine and instead drove 1974 Plymouth. An opponent of the death penalty, Brown Nominated Chief Justice Rose Bird.
For more Jerry Brown's term you can go to here and here.

Trivia: Under Jerry Brown's 1st Term, Democratic leaders such as S.F. Mayor George Mascone successfully pushed for the repeal of the state sodomy laws, which added CA to small group 14 states total.

Barely into is first term, Brown made public his intention to run for President. Brown received a decent showing in the primaries (carrying 3 states:CA, NV, MD), but ultimately withdrew his nomination at the Democratic Convention. The 1976 election produced mixed results. Republicans nominated a political new comer S.I Hayakawa to challenge freshman Democratic Senator Tunney. Hayakawa presented himself as a rather idiosyncratic candidate, Canadian by birth with Japanese ancestry, Hayakawa taught English in SF state. He was never afraid to make brash outlandish statements.  Though originally Democrat (casting his first vote for Adlai Stevenson in 1956) Hayakawa became a Republican in 1973. He enamored conservatives to him with his strict shutdowns of student protests on his campus. Gerald Ford narrowly won the state and Democratic Senator Tunney was unseated Hayakawa.  But Democrats won another house seat (with Leon Panetta) bringing Democrats to a 29-14 advantage house delegation (The most lopsided CA Democratic delegation in recent history). Democrats also performed well in the legislature as they won a 2/3 majority in the state assembly and were only 1 seat shy from 2/3 state senate.

Trivia: The aftermath of the 1976 elections gave democrats their largest majorities in the legislature and congressional delegation in recent history! For every 1 Republican that Californians sent to congress there would be 2 Democrats.

1978 Midterms: Proposition 13 & 6

Republicans were excited entering the 1978 elections, they viewed Brown's victory to be just a fluke win from the Watergate aftermath and felt Carter's midterm would be the right opportunity to return to power in the state. Republicans ran their only state level elected, Evelle J. Younger  to challenge Brown. Also on the ballot were two controversial propositions: 6 and 13

Proposition 6- the Briggs Initiative

The Briggs initiative was part of large scale movement to deny gays and lesbians their basic rights. Anita Bryant and the Save our Children coalition succeeded in rescinding a Miami Dade ordinance that banned discrimination in areas of housing, employment, and public accommodation based on sexual orientation. Just one day after that event conservative senator John Briggs (R- Orange County) decided to push a similar bill (which would ban gays and lesbians from teaching in the public schools) through the CA legislature. But when Briggs realized that it was unlikely the legislature would pass his bill, he turned towards making a ballot initiative. He easily gathered the half a million signatures needed. The ballot language adopted went even further than what Anita Bryant had accomplished in Florida. As stated it not only would have banned gays and lesbians, but possibly anyone who supported gay rights, from working in California's public schools. Briggs has also authored a separate death penalty proposition. He hoped his conservative initiatives would build a name for himself so that he could be a viable candidate for governor. Prop 6 was the first attempt to restrict gay and lesbian rights through a ballot initiative.



Gay and Lesbian activists ran on a campaign of "Come out! Come out! Wherever you are!" in which gay men and lesbians came out to their families and their neighbors and their co-workers, spoke in their churches and community centers, sent letters to their local editors, and otherwise revealed to the general population that gay people really were "everywhere" and included people they already knew and cared about. They went on door to door campaigns spreading the word on the harm caused by the passing the Briggs initiative.
The anti-briggs forces garnered support from several unions(auto workers, culinary workers, postal workers, steelworkers, and teamsters) and unlikely politicians from all shade of the political spectrum.The No on 6 campaign had the support from: Jerry Brown, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Cesar Chavez, Micheal Curb (the future Republican Lt Gov), and George Deukmejian (future AG and Gov). In a final death blow, former Governor Reagan wrote an editorial just before the election declaring:

Whatever else it is, homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles. Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual's sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child's teachers do not really influence this
Prop 6 which had initially led in the polls with numbers as high as 61% was defeated in a 17 point landslide 58-41. The defeat was so overwhelming that even senator Briggs home county of Orange County( a conservative stronghold) rejected the proposition! It was the first major victory for the Gay Rights movement during conservative era of 1970s. Supervisor Harvey Milk and S.F. Mayor George Mascone had little time to celebrate before their lives were brought to a tragic end.

Trivia: The Log Cabin Republicans were founded in 1977 California as a rallying point for Republicans who opposed the Briggs Initiative.

Prop 13 - The People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation

Prop 13 was the child of Anti-tax activists, Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann. Jarvis a retired industrialist, got his start originally trying to repeal the federal income tax. Jarvis found few people to find that idea popular so he instead focused his efforts on cutting the property tax in the state of CA.  Even there he found trouble gathering signature a year earlier in 1977 Jarvis failed to gather appropriate signatures for ballot initiative.

Before we continue, here is a brief look at the events which lead up to the proposition.
During the 1960's there was corruption and bribery surrounding the tax assessors. In effort to solve the problem, the state legislature passed a bill requiring that all property (homes, businesses, etc) must be assessed to at the same rate. The law had the unintended effect of moving tax burdens from businesses to homes. Prior to this businesses had often paid high property taxes. During the mid to late 1970's high demand for houses (due to population influx and growth) combined with inflation caused house prices to double and triple in 4 years(1974-1978). This in turn resulted in property taxes doubling and tripling. At the same time the state was running a 5 billion dollar budget surplus. The state legislature failed to pass a tax relief bill by 2 votes. Seizing the moment, Jarvis and Gann teamed up to write Prop 13. This time they ran with a populist message saying that since they legislature had failed to pass relief measure it was now up to the people to make that change. Signatures poured in for prop 13 (1.2 million were gathered). Prop 13 focused on limiting property taxes to just 1% of market value(this was a 60% reduction in property taxes revenue and 7 billion dollar drop in the Budget). The proposition essentially froze property taxes at 1975 levels unless the house was sold.It also required a 2/3 vote to pass any tax increase in the legislature. The big issue was how these cuts would effect the state. Property taxes were used to fund schools and fire, police, libraries. Seeing the possible loss of services and revenue, the legislature quickly passed a bill (prop 8) as more sensible solution. Prop 8 would keep business property taxes at the same level but have 30% cut for homeowners and limit local government spending. Groups against Prop 13 included :AFL-CIO, PTA, Sierra Club, and even big businesses (Bank of America, Southern CA  Edison, Carter Hawley Hale). Many of these companies who  would benefit from reductions in property taxes were on the no position because they feared higher sale's and corporate tax that would come in the wake of decreased Property taxes.

But by this time it was too late as the Yes on 13 voters had the high ground and California voters supported Prop 13 by a two thirds margin in June. Much of the impact of Prop 13 would not be felt till the next administration as the state surplus was used to bail out many of school and services throughout the state.

Jerry Brown campaigned strongly against the prop 13, and was forced to spend the 5 billion dollar surplus, bailed out counties and schools from the revenue deficit. His actions surprisingly attracted the attention of Jarvis who cut an ad for Brown's reelection campaign. (Jarvis would also cut an ad for Younger but remained more or less neutral in the race). With a decisive win at cutting taxes, Younger tried to seize the momentum by asserting his past support of the measure. Brown moved quickly saying "the people have spoken, and as Governor I will diligently enforce their will" effectively taking the steam out of the Republicans.  Younger proved to be bland, dull speaker and was cash strapped from a tough primary battle. Jerry Brown coasted to an easy victory crushing Republican Attorney General Evelle J Younger with 56% vote with a margin of 1.3 million votes (the largest in CA history at the time)
Republicans had better luck down the ballot as they picked up the Lt.Gov, AG offices along, with gains in both chambers of the State legislature. The GOP also picked up 3  house seats.

Trivia: Brown was responsible for appointing the first openly gay judge in the United States when he named Stephen Lachs to serve on the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1979. In 1981, he also appointed the first openly lesbian judge in the United States, Mary C. Morgan of the San Francisco Municipal Court. Brown completed his second term having appointed a total of five openly gay judges, including Rand Schrader and Jerold Krieger

1980 The Age of Reagan

Jerry Brown once again set his eyes toward the presidency. The public had begun to sour on President Carter and Brown believed the time was right to challenge Carter. But this time Brown fared even more poorly in the primaries (only winning the state of Michigan) and he soon dropped out of the race. Meanwhile Republicans had began to rally to former governor Reagan, With the support of conservative organizations  like the CRA, Reagan triumphed to win nomination over George Bush. Reagan then cruised to a landslide election winning the presidency and all but 3 counties in CA( Yolo, San Francisco and Alameda). Reagan's 16 point win brought about modest gains for the GOP in the state as they picked up 3 house seats resulting in a narrow 22-21 Dem house delegation and two seat gain in the assembly. But at the same time Democratic Senator Alan Cranston easily defeated Prop 13 co-author Paul Gann by nearly 20 points.

1982 Midterms

California continued to grow in population and the 1980 Census rewarded the state with 2 new house seats. Democrats controlled trifecta in the State (having the governorship, state senate, and state assembly) giving them the opportunity to draw a favorable map. Congressman Burton once again stepped up to the plate to draw new maps. Instead of the previous incumbent protection map he had drawn in 1972, Burton drew an aggressive Democratic map, known as the Burtonmander. The end result shifted the state delegation from a narrow 22-21 Dem majority to an impressive 28-17 Dem majority, which would last all the way till the 1990 elections.

Senator Hayakawa originally planned to run for reelection, but he had become a liability to the GOP. Hayakawa had come off as a loose cannon, not afraid to say such phrases "let the price of gasoline go up" during gas crisis of 1979. The state party decided it would be easier to hold this seat without Hayakawa and thus nudged Hayakawa to retirement. Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr, Maureen Reagan (daughter of President Reagan) and San Diego mayor Pete Wilson were some of the big Republican contenders entering the open seat race. Wilson ultimately won the nomination.


Declining to run for the third term, Governor Brown set his sights on the open senate seat. Both Brown and Wilson were viewed as moderate-liberal candidates by the voters. Wilson attacked brown for his presidential runs and for the his nomination of Rose Bird for Chief Justice. President Reagan came out to give a hearty endorsement of Wilson. The last thing Reagan wanted was for the man who succeeded him in the governorship, to flip one of his home-state senate seats. Meanwhile the 2 statewide Republicans Mike Curb and George Deukmejian duked it out for the open governor's seat. Deukmejian eventually won the primary with 55% of the vote.Democrats in turn nominated LA Mayor Tom Bradley.

Polls originally had Democrats ahead in both races. In fact Bradley's numbers continued to increase as the campaign went on. But on election day the governor's race wore on and in the end Deukmejian won with late returns from Orange County pushed him over the top. The disparity between the polls and the actual results led to the media and some political pundits coining of the term "Bradley effect". But in actuality Bradley's loss was more a result of an unpopular gun control initiative and a strong Republican Absentee ballot campaign. (Hat tip: Dave in Northridge) Deukmejian's victory also helped Wilson win the senate race. The Governor's race brought in a late influx of the Armenian vote from the conservative Fresno County/Central Valley. Brown's loss sent him in political retirement for the most of decade. Democrats fared better in the remaining races by picking up the Lt. Gov, AG offices.

Trivia: Jerry Brown came out of political retirement in 1989 winning the position of CA Democratic Party Chair.

In 1984 President Regan once again easily Reelected. He carried all but 5 counties in the state (Almeda, San Mateo, Marin, San Francisco, Yolo) while Democrats held onto all their house seats.

In 1986 Governor Deukmejian faced a rematch with Bradley won in a landslide. Republicans gained a few seats in the legislature but Democrats remained in control of legislature and held the rest of the statewide positions. It was during Deukmejian's term in office that the state California began to feel the first real effects of Prop 13. With divided government and 2/3 majority requirement to pass tax increases, California experienced a series of budget showdown/shutdowns.

This concludes my 2nd installment of "A look at Politics of CA" I hope you found it be to be an enjoyable read. Next We will look at the impact of the end of the cold war, Prop 187, and the Democratic resurgence in CA.

Additional Links/Resources

The Legacy of Prop 13

The Times of Harvey Milk 1984


Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 10:50 PM PST

A look at CA politics part 1

by lordpet8

For much of its early history California had been regarded as solidly Republican state. This multi-part diary series will look at how California slowly transformed from Republican bastion that brought us Nixon and Reagan to the Democratic stronghold we know it today.
This diary will start at the New Deal Era to age of Reagan in the governorship

Republicans held the governorship for nearly a 40 year span from (1899-1939). The only exception was former Republican Hiram Johnson winning as a Progressive in 1910. During this period the Democrats were shut out of most state wide elected positions (the only exception was the single term for senator James Phelan who was elected during the progressive era of Woodrow Wilson)

The Great Depression and FDR

GOP dominance of the state began to weaken at the start of the Great Depression. A huge influx migrants flocked to the state as the population of California exploded.These new demographics gave the state a whopping 9 additional house seats during the 1930 census. Democrats which at the time were nothing more than an insignificant minority in the legislature. They held only a mere 8 seats in the assembly and 5 seats in the state senate. With the economic downturn at hand Democrats began to make huge gains throughout the state. FDR's 1932 election coattails gave California Democrats a majority of the US House delegation and a senate seat. By the time FDR secured a landslide reelection in 1936 Democrats had tripled their numbers in the state senate (5 to 15) and had won control of the state assembly for the first time in a half a century. President Roosevelt openly supported Culbert Olsen's candidacy for the governorship in 1938. Olsen's victory ended the Republican's 40 year hold over the governorship and was known as one of the founding father's the modern California Democratic party.
Olsen defied the national Republican wave of the 1938 midterms and defeated the sitting conservative Republican governor, Frank Merriam. Olsen had campaigned on a New Deal/Pro-Labor platform and won in a landslide. Merriam as it turned out had committed political suicide by angering both the left and the right. His actions in suppressing the
Longshore Strike angered progressives and labor communities. Secondly his support of a tax increase infuriated many conservative Republicans. These factors tipped the scale in favor of a Olsen victory.

Trivia: Olsen was an intriguing governor, although raised a Mormon he declared himself an atheist at age 10 and refused to say "under god" while taking his oath of office.

Olson had a rocky relationship with his divided legislature, which made it tough to pass his new deal proposals. Business friendly Republicans remained in control of the state senate, while the assembly was under the control of a coalition containing both conservative and socialist Democrats (yes it's shocking to see conservative and socialist running under the same party)
The GOP was on the defense during the New Deal era, and decided to create new a organization. The GOP activists created the California Republican Assembly(CRA) in 1933 which would serve as the conscience of the CA GOP party. They endorsed attorney general, Earl Warren for Governor to take on Olsen in the 1942 gubernatorial election. An important note: although the CRA today is viewed as a very conservative organization it was not so during this period. In fact moderates and progressives made up a healthy portion of the CRA. Warren, himself campaigned as moderate to appeal to both sides of electorate. Olsen faced a tremendous uphill battle for reelection. Unable to accomplish much with his divided legislature and a strong Republican wave election on his heels, Olson was ultimately defeated by Warren in a landslide. Republicans resumed control of the assembly and padded their majorities. Earl Warren won reelection in a rout in 1946 by taking in 90% of the vote. He had taken advantage of the cross filling system in California that allowed him to win both the Republican and Democratic primaries ensuring an easy victory. The success of Earl Warren earned him the VP spot on Thomas Dewey's 1948 Presidential Campaign. In a major upset  President Truman won the election and narrowly carried the state.

The 1950 US Senate Race and the Age of Ike
The 1950 midterm elections resulted in a near clean sweep for Republicans who gained back a senate seat with Richard Nixon. The current incumbent Democratic senator, Sheridan Downey had grown more conservative and had become a big supporter of the oil industry. Downey faced a spirited primary from congresswoman, Helen Gahagan Douglas. Ill health resulted in Downey dropping out and endorsing a another Democrat, Manchester Boddy, in the primary. When Douglas won the Democratic nomination, Downey promptly endorsed Nixon as he felt Douglas was too liberal for the state. Nixon used his usual campaign scare tactics by painting Douglas as communist sympathizer ("who was pink right down to her underwear") who was far too left for CA. Nixon ran with the advantage of running for the open seat with a Democratic candidate still bruised from a bitter primary. The end result was an easy victory for Nixon in the good Republican year.

Trivia: Both nicknames "the pink lady" for Douglas and "Tricky Dick" were originally coined by Manchester Boddy. Nixon and Douglas would then recycle these nicknames during the general election.

Earl Warren's popularity enabled him to win a 3rd term in 1950 (the first CA governor to do so). The overall results of the 1950 midterm elections left Pat Brown as the sole statewide elected Democrat in the state. In 1952 Eisenhower selected Nixon as his running mate. Although Nixon had less than 2 years of the senate under his belt, he had made a name for himself as strong opponent of communism after his house career. The Ike-Nixon ticket easily won California and Republicans padded their majorities in all levels of government in the state. Ike nominated Earl Warren to the position of Chief of Justice and Republican Lt. Governor Goodwin Knight assumed the governorship.
Democrats ,down in their luck, decided to reorganize the party and formed the California Democratic Council (CDC).
Ike easily carried CA in his 1956 reelection campaign, but at the same time Democrats gained 4 seats in the state senate. This small change resulted in Democrats winning control of the chamber for the first time since 1890 (which may have served as a harbinger for upcoming 1958 midterms). Republican never again won back the state senate which has now been in Democratic hands continuously for 56 years!

The Big Switch and start of a Democratic California

Republicans still had a strong grip in the state, but there were growing divisions within the conservative and moderate wings. Three men fought for influence of the state party. Goodwin Knight ,now serving a second term in his own right, represented the moderate wing (with sympathies to labor unions). William F Knowland ,US Senator and leader of the Senate Republicans, symbolized the conservative wing of the party. Finally there was Richard Nixon ,current Vice President, who had his eyes set on winning the Republican nomination for president in 1960.  The problem was that Knowland also had his eyes on the presidency. Unsatisfied with the US senate, Knowland felt the statehouse would be a better spring board for the Presidency. Thus Knowland decided to challenge sitting governor Knight for the governorship by running to Knight's right. The growing conservative movement within the CA GOP would make the primary an uphill battle for Knight. To avoid a bruising primary Ike, Nixon and Knowland pressured Knight to run instead for Knowland's open senate seat. Knight agreed and the move was dubbed the "big switch" as a means to keep two popular GOP officials in office. Also on the ballot was a Right to Work initiative, Prop 18. Knowland, who wanted to bolster his conservative credentials, endorsed the proposition.
The 1958 midterms served to be decisive win for Democrats. Proposition 18 was wildly unpopular with voters and led to massive turnouts by unions and pro-labor forces in the state. In a single election Republicans were decimated on all fronts. Knowland and Knight went on to lose their respective races in landslides to  Pat Brown and Clair Engle.
Fun Fact: On June 10, 1964, during the roll call for the historic, successful effort to break the filibuster on what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when the clerk reached "Mr. Engle," there was no reply. The tumor had robbed Engle of his ability to speak. Slowly lifting an arm, he pointed to his eye, thereby signaling his affirmative vote ("aye").The cloture vote was 71-29, four votes more than the two-thirds required to cut off the filibuster. Nine days later the Senate approved the Act itself.

Democrats also padded their state senate majority, won control of the state assembly, regained a majority in the US house delegation, and took 5 out of the 6 partisan statewide races. Since this election Republicans have never been able to gain a majority of the CA House Delegation.

Trivia: shortly after the 1958 elections Pat Brown was a special guest on the game show "What's my line"

Democrats decided to have their national convention in Los Angeles where they nominated JFK and LBJ. The ticket would narrowly win the presidency while Nixon won CA.
Pictured below are Kennedy, Brown, Johnson, and senator Stuart Symington

Pat Brown went on to stop a strong challenge from Richard Nixon in the 1962 gubernatorial election. Nixon, suffering from two stinging defeats in a row, went on to declare his "political retirement" famously telling the media that they "won't have Dick Nixon to kick around"

The 1964 Presidential election became a major turning point for the CA GOP, up until this point the moderate and conservative factions of the party constantly fought over for control of the party.  The candidacy of of Barry Goldwater, an ardent conservative, aggravated the situation in the state. Moderates and establishment Republicans favored Nelson Rockefeller in the CA primary. Conservatives in the CRA at the time did not have the votes  give Goldwater the endorsement of the CRA. Instead conservatives worked to override the 2/3 rules required for an endorsement and just have a simple majority voter. The Rockefeller supporters(Republican moderates) eventually left the convention, giving the CRA  the opportunity to endorse Goldwater and made the CRA the conservative organization that we see today. Despite this seemingly Goldwater/Conservative victory, deep rifts within the GOP were still visible. Liberal Republican Senator Thomas Kuchel, refused to endorse Goldwater ticket, earning the ire of conservatives. 1964 was a pivotal battle for the heart and sole of the CA GOP. Conservative began gaining clout in the party. Liberal moderate Republicans would still exist but their influence and stature in the party was fading. Lyndon Johnson carried the state handily (by nearly 20 points). It was the first time a Democratic candidate had won CA since Truman won it in 1948. The feat would not to be repeated till Bill Clinton won the state in 1992.

1966 Republican Resurgence

Incumbent Democratic governor Pat Brown ran for a 3rd consecutive in a rough political year. The now conservative dominated CRA wholeheartedly endorsed Ronald Reagan for governor. Reagan, a former liberal New Deal Democrat, had grown more conservative and became a Republican in 1962.

Trivia: The last time Ronald Reagan actively supported a Democratic candidate was in 1950 when he helped Helen Gahagan Douglas in her unsuccessful Senate campaign against Richard Nixon. Yes that's the same Douglas who Nixon once labeled as the "pink lady" for her supposed communist leanings.

Reagan had gained much of his conservative fame from when he gave his "a time for choosing" speech in which he endorsed Goldwater's campaign for president. Running against anti war protests, and welfare, Reagan upended Brown in a landslide election. Republicans won 5/6 of the statewide partisan offices.

The 1968 elections came with mixed results for the GOP. Nixon easily carried the state and GOP won 2 house seats along with control of the state assembly. At the same though, Senator  Thomas Kuchel was narrowly defeated in the primary by the conservative Max Rafferty. Many consider Kuchel's loss to his increasingly liberal views in a party that was rapidly moving rightward. Rafferty proved to be too conservative for CA and was defeated by Democratic State Controller, Alan Cranston. The senate seat has been in Democratic hands ever since.

Ronald Reagan had now become a darling of the conservatives, with his tough tactics against Berkley anti-war protesters during "Bloody Thursday" at the people's park protests. In 1970 Reagan faced a spirited challenge from former Democratic Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh, but was easily given a 2nd term.
The most interesting race to watch was the US Senate race. Democrats had a bruising primary between two congressman to face the incumbent Republican senator George Murphy.  The two congressman were John Tunney and George Brown (who also happens to be the last democrat to represent my hometown Riverside). Both Democrats questioned the war in Vietnam but differed in opinion when considering the military draft. George Brown, known as a liberal democrat who managed to win in largely Republican areas, campaigned as the anti-war candidate who had always opposed the war from the start including the draft. Tunney, painted himself  Robert "Kennedy-esque" candidate, who highlighted his youth and charisma. He campaigned as center-right candidate. While he wasn't in full support of the war he still approved of the draft. Tunney had the advantage of getting into the race early and having a bigger organization, but still was trailing to Brown. The primary got nasty with Tunney saying that Brown supported the violence going on in the campuses. Brown countered with calling Tunney a spoiled rich kid. An 11th hour ad blitz allowed Tunney to narrowly beat out Brown. At this point Republican Murphy was leading in the polls by over 20 points. But this all changed as Tunney began getting his message out in the state. Although he was a center-right candidate Tunney was still to the left of Murphy who was the staunchest supporter of the Vietnam war. Murphy had suffered from throat cancer which made him barely able to speak over a whisper (further hurting his campaign). In the end Tunney won the race by 9 points giving Democrats both US senate seats the first time since Milton Latham lost his seat in 1862!.

Trivia: Tunney's successful Senate race in 1970 is reportedly the inspiration for the 1972 Robert Redford film The Candidate.

Democrats also retook control of the state assembly. Jerry Brown was elected as Secretary of state and was the sole Democrat in the statewide offices.

This concludes the first part of my California Politics diary, I hope you enjoyed it. There was so much more I would have loved to include but I wanted to keep things as concise as possible.
If you're interested in hearing more about the 1950 US senate campaign (which If I covered in full detail would have a taken a whole diary by itself) I recommend you try here

Anyways when I continue we'll look at Jerry Brown terms as governor, Prop 13, and much much more.


The whole concept or Red states vs Blue states goes all the way to back to man named John Chancellor

For the 1976 presidential election Chancellor suggested to his network's engineers that they create a large electronic map of the United States and place it in the network's election-night news studio. If Jimmy Carter, the Democratic candidate, won a state it would light up in red; if Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, carried a state it would light up in blue. When ABC began using a color scheme four years later, it reversed the colors because "Republican" and "red" both began with "R," and its scheme eventually became the standard for all networks.

There are several differing lists of Blue and Red states, each employing different techniques to categorize the states. This diary looks to categorize states by the number of times a state consecutively voted for the same party starting at the most recent election (2008) and working our way back through previous elections. I will label each category by the political party and the number of consecutive electoral wins
So for example:
California which as voted for a Democratic President in every election starting in from 1992 and up (that's 5 elections total) would be labeled in category D5

West Virginia which has voted for a Republican President in every election starting from 2000 and up (that's 3 elections total) would be labeled R3

Swing states will be included in categories D1 and R1

I will start with the most Republican states and end with the most Democratic states. In each category title I will indicate the (color code) for the map which is below, the total 2012 electoral votes, last time the states voted for the other party, and states that have dropped out of this category

R11 – Rock Ribbed Republican (Brown)
North Dakota
South Dakota
Total Electoral Votes: 40
Last time voted for a Democratic President: 1964

These states have the deepest allegiance to the Republican party, and have been voting that way several decades. I don’t see many of these states currently listed above, changing from this pattern anytime soon.  In fact 1964 was the only time Alaska ever voted for a Democrat at the Presidential level. To be fair Alaska was actually looking competitive in the 2008 election prior to the selection of the Republican VP.  Nebraska has the slight exception of giving one of its electoral votes to Obama in the previous election.  But the state as whole is just as Republican friendly as the rest of the states on the list

States that dropped off from this category in the past election: Indiana, Virginia

Despite this strongly Republican category we did have two states drop out from the list. Both of these states have an interesting tale. Virginia bucked the southern trend of states voting for Jimmy Carter in 1976. The state continued in Republican trend all the way to till the election of Mark Warner in 2002 since then the state is more a purple state. The Democratic trend was bolstered by Warner’s crushing senate victory in 2008.
Indiana on the other hand was surprising upset. The old saying used to be that Indiana was so determinately Republican over the issue of taxes that it refused to support Democratic candidates for President. Obama cracked the electoral code to win this state narrowly, winning heavily in the urban big cities. The end result was carrying the state while only winning 15 counties in major upset.


R8- Ruby Red Confederacy (Dark Red)
South Carolina
Total Electoral Votes: 62
Last time voted for a Democratic President: 1976

All four of these states are part of the Solid South, once a stronghold for the Democrats. With exception Texas these states began turning their allegiance to the Republican Party starting in the 1964 election. With a temporary aberration in 1976 these states would remain part of a Republican Party Stronghold
A combination of poor white farmers and AA voters formed a winning coalition to carry the Deep South for the Democratic party one last time.  Despite this, Mississippi only supported Carter by the narrowest of margins 49.5%- 47.6%.

States that dropped off from this category in the past election: North Carolina
North Carolina had long been an intriguing state. Despite a strong conservative trend at the federal level of voting for Republican presidents and conservative stalwart Jesse Helms, Democrats had enjoyed strong support at the state and local level. In fact prior to 2010 elections Republicans had not controlled trifecta of the state since 1870. A strong electoral tide and voters souring mood on the economy led to Dem pick up of the state the first time in decades.


R4 Sector Crimson (Red Orange)

Total Electoral Votes: 19
Last time voted for a Democratic President: 1992

These states are in an intriguing category of supporting Clinton in his 1992 race before staying giving their allegiance to the Republicans. Ross Perot ended up taking nearly over quarter of the votes in the Big Sky state, leading Clinton to win with just 37% of the vote. In Georgia Clinton barely edged out Bush by a little over than half a percentage point winning the state by a plurality. Democratic Senator Wyche Fowler did the same but since Georgia has a runoff system for the senate, he had to endure an additional election where he came up short.
Interestingly Montana and Georgia we only close wins for McCain with Georgians sending Incumbent Republican senator Chambliss into a runoff election.

States that dropped off from this category in the past election: Colorado


R3 Scarlet Fever (Pink)
West Virginia
Total Electoral Votes: 59
Last time voted for a Democratic President: 1996

All these states listed here (except for Arizona which I will get to) were a part of the old Democratic Coalition. Leftovers that had survived through the Reagan era to back a Democratic Candidate in 92 and 96. Perot may have played a part in giving Clinton fighting chance in some of these states.

Arizona is quite an interesting state, had President Clinton not won it in 1996, this state would have stood as the most Republican state (in terms of consecutive Republican victories). In fact you’d be surprised to know that Arizona had not supported another Democratic Presidential candidate since Truman’s victory in 1948! Part of the reason for Republican strength in the state is Maricopa county. This county compromises roughly 60% of the population and hasn't voted for Democratic President since Truman.


Swing states D1 (and R1 if they existed) (Purple)
North Carolina
New Mexico
Total Electoral Votes: 112

Nothing much to say here other than that these states are all states that backed Bush in 2004 and Obama in 2008


D2- The Mighty Dems (very light blue)

New Hampshire
Total Electoral Votes: 4
Last time voted for a Republican President: 2000

New Hampshire has to be in a category of its own. It is the last hold out from the New England region which was once the stronghold for the Republican Party. It was the only state to switch to Kerry during Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004. New Hampshire has had a quite unstable political climate in the recent years. In 2006 it voted out the Republican legislature giving democrats the first trifecta of the state since the late 1800’s( I think it was 1880 but I’m not sure). The strongly libertarian attitude of the state (live free or die) has enabled Republicans to still play a strong role in politics of the state. New Hampshire is the only state that still has no seat belt laws!


D5 Classic Blue States (Sky Blue)

New Jersey
Total Electoral Votes: 152
Last time voted for a Republican President: 1988

The states listed above are states that we’ve traditionally labeled as blue states in current Presidential elections. The make up a great deal of the Democratic electoral base with solid loyalty to team blue.


D6 True Blue Territory (Blue)

New York
Rhode Island
Total Electoral Votes: 77
Last time voted for a Republican President: 1984

Apart from Wisconsin all these states are strongly Democratic. Republicans must win a good deal of independents to even be competitive in these states.
Wisconsin despite being in this category has is much more a swing state. Republicans have had a decent luck in winning control at the state level. Both Kerry and Gore were only able to carry the state by the narrowest of margins. Time will tell where this state stands in future elections


D9 Deceptively Blue (dark blue)

Total Electoral Votes:10
Last time voted for a Republican President: 1972

Here we are to our final category with only one unique state. On paper Minnesota appears to be the bluest state of all by supporting a Democratic Presidential candidate for 9 consecutive elections.  The only state to have bucked the Reagan era, does have one important fact. That fact was that Walter Mondale of Minnesota was on the presidential ticket for 1976, 1980, and 1984. This kept the state on team blue’s corner for most of political battles of the decade. Since then Minnesota has  much in common with its neighboring state that it too is considered a swing state.

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