A Short Essay on the Iron-Fist-Imposed Conformity of Opinion Within the California Democratic Party

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Kimberly Ellis and Eric Bauman: can you guess which one is the "insider" candidate?

Kimberly Ellis and Eric Bauman: can you guess which one is the “insider” candidate?

Here is a list of the 76 California superdelegates in office as of last June’s Presidential primary, along with who they supported for President.  67 of them supported Hillary Clinton, 9 were neutral, and 0 supported Bernie Sanders.  (It comes courtesy of this Wikipedia page, but at this point I know of no better or more unbiased source than this to verify these facts.)

Pete Aguilar CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Steven K. Alari CA DNC[1] None
Shawn K. Bagley CA DNC[1] Clinton[13]
Karen Bass CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Xavier Becerra CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Ami Bera CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Rachel Binah CA DNC[1] None
Barbara Boxer CA Sen. Clinton[5]
Jerry Brown CA Gov. Clinton[49]
Julia Brownley CA Rep. Clinton[5]
John L. Burton CA DNC[1] None
Joe Buscaino CA DNC[1] Clinton[56]
Laphonza Butler CA DNC[1] Clinton[57]
Lois Capps CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Tony Cardenas CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Naeemah Charles CA DNC[67] Clinton[68]
Judy Chu CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Jim Costa CA Rep. Clinton[84]
Susan Davis CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Mark DeSaulnier CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Becca Doten CA DNC[1] Clinton[a][105]
Maria Elena Durazo CA DNC[1] None
Jess Durfee CA DNC[1] Clinton[108]
Mary Ellen Early CA DNC[1] None
Maria Echaveste CA DNC[1] Clinton[109][110]
Anna Eshoo CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Sam Farr CA Rep. Clinton[117]
Dianne Feinstein CA Sen. Clinton[5]
Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker CA DNC[1] None
John Garamendi CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Eric Garcetti CA DNC[1] Clinton[125]
Alice Germond CA DNC[1] Clinton[41]
Janice Hahn CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Pat Hobbs CA DNC[1] None
Mike Honda CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Alice Huffman CA DNC[1] Clinton[57]
Jared Huffman CA Rep. Clinton[5][159]
Aleita Huguenin CA DNC[1] Clinton[160]
Matt Johnson CA DNC[1] None
Andrew Lachman CA DNC[1] Clinton[181][182][183]
Barbara Lee CA Rep.[note 2] Clinton[188]
Ted Lieu CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Zoe Lofgren CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Evan Low CA DNC[1] Clinton[194]
Alan Lowenthal CA Rep. Clinton[188]
Kerman Maddox CA DNC[1] Clinton[197]
Marcus Mason CA DNC[1] Clinton[204]
Doris Matsui CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Mattie McFadden-Lawson CA DNC[1] Clinton[211]
Jerry McNerney CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Bob Mulholland CA DNC[1] Clinton[222]
Grace Napolitano CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Christine Pelosi CA DNC[1] Clinton[a][239]
Nancy Pelosi CA Rep.[note 2] Clinton[240]
John Pérez CA DNC[1] Clinton[242]
Scott Peters CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Greg Pettis CA DNC[1] Clinton[244]
Lucille Roybal-Allard CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Raul Ruiz CA Rep. Clinton[245]
Linda Sánchez CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Loretta Sanchez CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Adam Schiff CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Garry Shay CA DNC[1] Clinton[273]
Brad Sherman CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Hilda Solis CA DNC[1] Clinton[277]
Jackie Speier CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Christopher Stampolis CA DNC[1] Clinton[279]
Eric Swalwell CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Mark Takano CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Mike Thompson CA Rep. Clinton[5]
Norma Torres CA Rep. Clinton[290]
Keith Umemoto CA DNC[1] None
Juan Vargas CA Rep. Clinton[292]
Maxine Waters CA Rep.[note 2] Clinton[5]
Rosalind Wyman CA DNC[1] Clinton[301]
Laurence Zakson CA DNC[1] Clinton[302]

Bernie Sanders had at least one superdelegate openly supporting him in the delegations of Alaska, American Samoa, Democrats Abroad, DC, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Veremont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.  None in California, none in New York, none in Massachusetts.  Not one in Michigan and not one in Pennsylvania.

But my concern here is California.  How in hell does someone convince every one of California’s 76 delegate superdelegates not to support Bernie Sanders — and 67 of them to oppose him?  No one, from Dianne Feinstein to Maxine Waters, would break ranks.  Is this a sign of how very electable Hillary Clinton was?  Or of how out-of-touch or state’s experts were (as they’re supposed to be) with the rest of the country?  Or is it a sign of an enormous and energetic effort to enforce orthodoxy with an iron fist?

Lots of great people are part of the California Democratic Party governing structure –but my experience is that, in the end, diversity of opinion is beaten back with power plays and intimidation, inducing people to fear lost power or ruined careers.  It’s the classic recipe for bad decision-making.  And, of course, it’s every political operative’s dream.

Who was to blame for Democrats being blindsided by something as obscure and unforeseeable as the Electoral College?  Those people who sought and enforced and achieved this sort of rank-and-file orthodoxy are the first place one ought to look.  But so long as the power in the party remains in the same hands — and, meaning no insult here, those hands have not been John Burton’s own for some time now — people won’t likely even be willing to describe for the record the pressure imposed upon them not to support Bernie Sanders.

Is this more selfish and craven of them, or more timid and fearful?  Well, maybe both — but we’ll likely never find out.

The California Democratic Party elects a new Chair next May.  The contestants are current Southern Vice-Chair and Chair of the Los Angeles County Eric Bauman, and insurgent Kimberly Ellis.  The word in the hallways of power are that it’s a done deal; there’s no way Bauman won’t win.  Different words than we heard last year — but a familiar tune.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)