(Most) CA Dems Should NOT Vote Before Leap Day!





This year, Democrats are better of looking before they leap!  In other words, see who’s viable after the first few contests before voting for someone who’s not going to be relevant in the race.

Unless you’re reading this after the mail comes on February 4th, you have not yet received your actual ballot.  (People reporting that ballots have dropped are confusing the Presidential Primary Election Sample Ballot and Voter Information Guide for the real thing.)  I want to make a strong recommendation for what you should do when you get that ballot:

HOLD ONTO IT!  Don’t cast that ballot until at least Feb. 26, or better yet March 1.  If you lose it, like I have twice now, you can always get another by Election Day.  But if you cast it, you may be supporting a candidate who has already withdrawn from the race by March 3.  (The exception is Bernie Sanders, who seems to be securely above the 15% needed for delegate viability, but I’m not going to cast my vote early either — not because I expect to change my mind about him but because if disaster struck I’d still want to support Warren or Steyer.)

When I say that Democrats who haven’t decided on any candidate (except maybe Bernie Sanders) should probably hold off voting until after at least the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22, if not the South Carolina primary on February 29, I promise you that I am not trying to trick voters for other candidates into not voting.  If you have a candidate in mind, you’re not likely going to forget — especially with voting now being easier this year than ever before.  And, in fact, it is probably better for Sanders if supporters of his opponents vote early, so that their anti-Sanders votes are spread out over so many candidates that few or none of them make the 15% limits for local (apportioned by Congressional District) or Statewide-apportioned delegates.

The reason you might not want to vote yet is that, as much as any election since 1976, we have very little idea what will happen — and casting a vote now may be throwing away your shot.  An early ballot is — and this is true only for Democratic ballots in this race, and no other elections after the last Presidential election and before the next one — is an uninformed ballot.

What information do you lack?  You don’t know who will have, as of March 3, survived the earliest four nomination races.

At this point, only one result seems to be a lock: Bernie Sanders will still be in the race on Super Tuesday, March 3.  That’s not so much because because Sanders is leading nationally.  (The Real Clear Politics averages, rounding off the nearest half percent, as of February 2: are Sanders 24%, Biden 20%, Buttigieg 16%, Warren 14.5%, Klobuchar 9.6%, Yang 4%, Steyer 3.5%, Gabbard 2%, and Bloomberg 1% — with, again, 15% required to earn a delegate.)  It’s because of how well he’s doing in the early states.

  • In Iowa (voting Feb. 3), it’s Sanders 24%, Biden 20%, Buttigieg 16.5%, Warren 15.5%, Klobuchar 8.5%, Yang 4%, Steyer 3%, and Gabbard 1%.
  • In New Hampshire (voting Feb. 11), it’s Sanders 26.5, Biden 17%, Buttigieg 15%, Warren 13.5%, Klobuchar 7%, Gabbard 5%, Yang 4%, Steyer 2%.

After those first two, we’d expect some candidates who are faltering to drop off, and performances in those first two to affect later decisions.  But here’s where they stand now:

  • In Nevada (voting 2/22), it’s currently Biden 25%, Sanders 19.5%, Warren 14.5%, Buttigieg 7.5%, Steyer 7.5%, Yang 3%, Klobuchar 2.5%, Gabbard 1%.
  • In South Carolina, it’s Biden 30.5%, Sanders 17%, Steyer 16.5%, Warren 10.5%, Buttigieg 5.5%, Yang 2.5%, Gabbard 2%, Klobuchar 1.5%.

Biden’s likely to survive until March, but if he does poorly enough in the first two races that he polls poorly in South Carolina, he’s probably be pushed out by his centrist supporters (especially if Klobuchar or Buttigieg do well.)

Bloomberg is not looking for votes until Super Tuesday, where his main focus is California.  Here at home, Sanders is ahead with 26%, then Biden 21%, Warren 20%, Buttigieg 7.5%, Bloomberg 4.5%, Yang 4%, Klobuchar 3.5%, Gabbard 3%, Steyer 2.5%.

If you don’t want to see whether your non-Sanders candidate is viable at that point, I understand — but you have a fair chance of needlessly throwing away your vote.  If you’re voting for Warren, Yang, Gabbard, or Steyer, I really hope you won’t do that — Bernie may need your vote, just as your candidate may need Bernie voters — and so to be fair I give the same advice here to supporters of Biden, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, and Klobuchar.  There’s no hurry to cast an uninformed ballot.  (But: you be you.)

The other races on Super Tuesday include Massachusetts, Texas, and a whole bunch of southern states — but of course those results won’t come in soon enough to affect your vote.  (And the polling for them is, at this point, pretty dated.)

Either way, just be sure to vote — remember, if you’re NPP you can ask for a Democratic crossover ballot (meaning no voting for Central Committee candidates) at a vote center — or any voter can re-register Democratic at a vote center (or online) and vote in the Democratic Presidential and CCC races — and to vote all the way to the bottom race — which, unless you have a school bond, will be a NO vote on the County’s Prop A.  (More primary elections endorsements coming later!)

But, seriously — this time there’s no hurry, and good reasons to look, and look again and again, before you LEAP!

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr 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.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)