Democrats need to retake 24 house seats to take back Congress in November. 7 of those 24 seats are in California, districts currently represented by vulnerable Republicans which voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
You would think, “we’re a third of the way home!,” but you would be wrong.
So-called good government reformers (“goo-goos”) convinced enough Californians to vote for the top two primary aka jungle primary in 2010, in which candidates pretend to run in a non-partisan primary election and the top two vote getters advance to the general election. Their stated goal is that this would result in more moderate or centrist candidates being elected rather than partisan extremists. The results have proven them wrong.
For the past two election cycles the Top Two Primary folks tried pushing this nonsense as a ballot measure in Arizona, fully supported by the editorial staff of The Arizona Republic. Luckily these goo-goos failed, and there was not a third attempt this election cycle.
Goo-goos do not understand human behavior, nor can they do math. Motivated by what happened in 2016, there is a plethora of Democratic candidates running in these seven districts on Tuesday, which only splinters the Democratic vote by the number of candidates running. Republicans on the other hand, always tribal in their voting behavior, have the vulnerable incumbent and the odd challenger running, or only a couple of Republicans running in open seat districts.
On Tuesday, despite the heavy Democratic voter advantage in “blue” California, Republicans could very well emerge with both of the top two positions via the top two primary aka jungle primary, and with it the Democrats’ opportunity to take back Congress this November. Democrats’ California conundrum could cost them the House:
One week before the June 5 vote, California Republicans face the near-certainty of failing to advance a candidate to the general election for US Senate, and the risk, though fading, of failing to place a candidate on the November ballot for Governor. Democrats, meanwhile, are terrified that they will be shut out next week in one or more Republican-held US House districts, particularly in suburban Orange County. Party strategists see winning these seats as key steps in their path back to majority control.