Campaigns Try to Fool California Voters

Gavin newsomPolitics – the means by which we govern ourselves – can be a positive, even uplifting human enterprise.

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Too often, however, political tactics are based on the cynical assumption that voters can be easily fooled and the current election season is, unfortunately, rife.

Take, for example, the television ads that Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the leading candidate for governor, has been airing about John Cox, a San Diego businessman and the leading Republican.

Superficially, it’s logical that a Democratic candidate for governor would attack a Republican candidate. But these ads, alleging that Cox is closely allied with the National Rifle Association, have another, less obvious motive.

Newsom and his advisors know that if a Republican places second in the June 5 primary voting and thus wins a place on the November ballot, it would make Newsom’s election a near-certainty.

Conversely, were Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa to finish second on June 5, Newsom would have a real fight on his hands.

Therefore, the anti-Cox ad is not truly aimed at dragging him down, but rather to build him up among Republican primary voters, who are likely to be more pro-NRA and also likely to resent attacks on Cox by Democrat Newsom.

Clever? Yes, but also quite cynical, when you think about it.

In another example, Southern California’s 49th Congressional District is a prime battleground this year, thanks to Republican Congressman Darrell Issa’s decision to retire and the fact that the district favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016.

Democratic hopes of picking up a seat are complicated by having a bumper crop of Democratic candidates on the June 5 ballot, along with two well known Republican figures, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez and Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey.

Chavez and Harkey could finish 1-2 on June 5 and freeze Democrats out.

Therefore, the national Democratic congressional apparatus is hitting Chavez with allegations – aimed at GOP voters – that he is an untrustworthy Republican because he voted for Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gases and the state budget.

Finally, California voters are seeing the usual quota of “slate mailers” that purport to advise them to vote for particular candidates.

While some do genuinely reflect the interests of the sponsoring organizations, many are nothing more than commercial enterprises.

Take, for example, mailers from a Torrance-based outfit called “Budget Watchdogs” that purports to favor candidates who are tight with the public’s money.

Uber-conservative Republican Travis Allen gets its nod for governor, but the rest of the mailer’s favored candidates are Democrats. They include arguably the Legislature’s most liberal member, state Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, who is running for insurance commissioner and wants to double the state budget by adopting single-payer health coverage.

Budget Watchdogs was created by Rex Hime, a one-time Republican political aide who for years headed the California Business Properties Association.

Budget Watchdogs is a non-profit corporation and, Hime told me a few years ago, “I don’t get squat” from the money it collects for its various projects, including the mailer. “It’s not a commercial enterprise.”

Nonetheless, we know that all Budget Watchdog’s recommendations reflect money paid by endorsees because state law requires them to be marked by asterisks.

There’s an even darker side to the slate mailer business – a kind of extortion. Some slate mail operators tell campaigns that if they don’t pay to have their candidates or ballot measure positions “recommended,” their opponents will be promoted for free.

Regardless of underlying motives, it’s a grubby trade based on assumptions about the gullibility of voters.

olumnist for CALmatters

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. Jerry Todd says

    I got a mailer implying Travis Allen is tied to an Insurance Commissioner who loves the eugenic Planned Parenthood. Travis Allen is the best bet for disgusted Democrats – and there should be plenty – including hard working Latinos, including growers who depend on the water Moonbeam and his band of thieves are keeping from the lands and Republicans who still matter.

  2. California has only one choice for continued Citizen freedom.
    To vote themselves out from under the boot of the Democrat.
    Consider the current legislature, governor, and let us not forget the increased taxes, regulations, and free stuff that welfare, entitlement, and illegals have gained. If you are not in government, you are the “freeloader”!
    Vote Democrat and you vote Socialist. And Socialism is just fine until the money runs out (and it will!) then you become communist with the elites living the good life (Democrat politicians) and the blue collar supporting that extravagant lifestyle!

  3. tomsquawk says

    Do some research behind the committees and big funding behind the Cox and Chavez mailers and what do you have?

  4. Mr. Pickle says

    With the 2 highest vote getter program in CA, it will probably be 2 Dems as in the past. This STINKS to high heaven. I won’t vote for ANY Dem as you cannot trust them, and stupid voters listen to ads and radio spots and make their decision from that, rather than doing homework. Unions are pouring millions into this election cycle, AGAIN to fool the lazy voter. This is why CA is a disaster, has no balance, and folks are leaving. See NJ and other states for the Fleeing folks from Dem run states. Broke by legislatures, increased taxes because these jerks don’t know what they are doing, and corruption all over the place. Seems to me we had 10% of Dem Senators either in jail, indicted or arrested. Sad………… 2,000+ bills per year from 120 legislators is crazy…. Limit Number of bills to 10 each for all….. And committees are a joke, as ALL are Dem controlled and TOLD to vote by leadership or Moonbeam…….. Democrats seem to fall under the spell of most dems, and the RINO crowd in Ca……

  5. Anna Quintana says

    Travis Allen’s voter’s seem much more motivated and enthusiastic. Going directly to the people through Social Media & Rally’s. Feeling there may be another YUGE upset, and Travis Allen will be the Republican nominee in June moving into the November general.

  6. True Teacher says

    I get many of these Budget Watchdog fliers, but they have different names.

    They mislead you into thinking the slate are all conservatives, until you notice the Democrats who they’ve snuck into the piece. One of these mailers put Riccardo Lara in with conservatives.

    If you are clueless about the names and the propositions you will end up voting for Democrats and you may vote pro Democrat on the propositions.

    How does Travis Allen poll against Newsom?

  7. Donald J. says

    Apparently it is too easy to fool California voters, 4 terms of Moonbeam and various other Left Wingnuts since 1976 pretty much sums it up.

  8. Gotta Gedada Displace says

    Cox and every other candidate should tirelessly remind the public that it is ONLY the City of Gabby Tiresome that needs a smart phone app to help city pedestrians navigate the piles of HUMAN WASTE permeating HIS City’s sidewalks, NOT needed before HIS arrival on the scene, an unsurpassed indicator of his goal to have the entire State join HIS City on its trajectory into the Third World ! And why not visit Wikipedia to refresh your memory on the Long “Missing In Action” Asia and elsewhere junkets by Tony ” Pillage-The-Most-a” and the rest of HIS dubious tenure as LA Mayor, ( before it gets further “sanitized”) ? He hopes the public’s memory is SHORT !

  9. True Teacher says

    I received a hit piece from Travis Allen that attacks John Cox pretty good, except it wasn’t from Travis Allen. The small print said it was paid for by Villaraigosa supporters, and they attempted to deceive me by making it seem Allen was attacking Cox.

    So, what kind of politician would pretend to be another politician and deliberately fool the people, many of whom are short on brains to begin with?

    Instead of Allen and Cox campaigning against each other, they should simply attack Newsom and Tony Villar. Stupid idea? What does a Republican have to lose? I would include numerous photos of piles of steaming feces on San Francisco sidewalks and drug paraphernalia.
    And let’s not forget to scare the sheeple: use photos of animals with MS 13 tattoos and link them to both Democrats. I would full-on Lee Atwater both of those guys.

  10. askeptic says

    I am so relieved that I no longer have to choose between such fools.

  11. showandtell says
  12. The picture looks like the spider talking to the fly.

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