The California governor’s race was once ballyhooed as a proving ground for Democratic Party ideas in the Trump era, a blockbuster contest in which Democrats would not only pick the chief executive of the nation’s most populous state but also begin to shape the party’s agenda heading into the 2020 presidential primary.
Instead, it has devolved into a king-size flop. One day before the primary election here, the leading candidates sit largely indistinguishable on issues of substance, with little evidence of any intraparty, values-laden clash.
Rather, election day will culminate a contest that has morphed into a bizarre exercise in gaming California’s unusual, top-two primary system. Confronted with a primary in which the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation, supporters of the leading Democrats in the race, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, focused their attention on elevating one of two lesser-known Republican candidates in an effort to manipulate the election’s outcome. (read more)