Weekend Open Thread: Anti-Recall Precinct Walk Saturday With Newman (Between Breakfast & Lunch)

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So it begins!

The recall effort against State Senator Josh Newman has always had a hidden upside for Democrats in North Orange County (and beyond): One could not ask for a better organizing tool — and once organization is imposed and networks of relationships formed, they will likely carry over into other races.  The same amount of effort that would do little for the already well-organized Republicans can have a massive impact on now already well-organized Democrats.

Now, as in tomorrow (as this is published), we’re going to start seeing that in practice.

To some extent, various entrepreneurial Democrats have been able to organize parts of SD-29 in the past.  Sharon Quirk-Silva (and some others preceding her) in Fullerton, Rose Espinoza in La Habra, Jose Moreno and Al Jabbar in Anaheim, and … um …  hmm.  Not a whole lot of others.  (There have been a few local successes north of the border, but in local races even the East San Gabriel Valley has until very recently way underperformed its voter registration.)

There have been some other intermittent successes, one in La Palma, another in Cypress, mythical fables of ones in Yorba Linda and Placentia — but they haven’t generated much reusable party infrastructure.  Art Brown has been successful in Buena Park, but as a Democrat very much opposed to the Democratic left; Brett Murdock had some success in Brea, but could not come out of the closet as a Democrat to do so.  Tom Daly and Jordan Brandman have had their successes, of course — but with a political machine (such as it has been) intended to deemphasize (and some of us would say “betray”) party, rather than something that would help Democrats attain office more broadly.

What’s happening now is unusual.  People are pissed off.  The “John and Ken”-ification of Orange County — or in this case it’s the “Ed and Barney” or something — has always been able to rouse a certain number of people even outside of election time, but Democrats haven’t had much to match it.  Until, perhaps, now.

Democratic leadership is still capable of blowing it, of course — don’t get me started on that — but there are reasons to think that this effort could stick.  First of all, there’s money behind it — free breakfast and lunch, people, and at a Democratic event!— and people who know what they’re doing.  This effort is tangible — it gives people something that they can really do, as part of a group — so Democrats aren’t being caught flat-footed, as was the case earlier this year when the election of Trump brought out plenty of people to meetings and Dem Clubs and the DPOC just didn’t have the means to make use of them.  (Asking them to donate?  Not the best approach.)

This is, as they say, a “developing story” — and we’ll see how it goes both tomorrow and beyond.  But, increasingly, this has the earmarks of a significant event in OC’s political history — as pissed-off Democrats and independents here decide that they’ve just had enough.  I predict that, already, we’ll see more Democrats running for local office next year.

I still hope that the recall fizzles.  And, if I were a Republican party official in these parts, I might feel the same way.

This is your genial and optimistic — much like Newman! — Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that or whatever else strikes your fancy, within reasonable bounds of decency and decorum.


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.)