If you’re a Republican from California, your vote in the presidential election will not matter. Will not. At all.
I know; you look out your windows and see just as many Romney campaign posters as Obama posters. All your friends plan to vote for Mitt Romney. Everybody in your church seems to be a Romney fan, despite their qualms about Mormonism. You think he has a chance—if you just get out the vote, if you can just convince enough people to vote Romney.
But outside your Republican enclaves, the rest of California is filled with either Democrats, or people who will vote for Democrats. In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama got three-fifths of the vote. Democrats have the majority of all elected offices in this state. Both our U.S. Senators and three-fifths of our U.S. Representatives are Democrats. Neither Romney nor Obama are gonna bother to campaign in this state, apart from fund-raisers. Why? ’Cause both of them know Obama will win the state’s electoral votes. And win them easily. Without even trying.
I don’t say this to gloat. I’d kinda like it if the presidential candidates did consider California a swing state. They’d come and campaign here. They’d have to; we have 55 electoral votes. A Democrat who loses California will likely lose, and a Republican who wins California will likely get a landslide. I’d like to see them come here and do more than take our money, then go spend it in Florida and Ohio and Nevada. I’d like to see them suck up to us a bit, and host a few “town hall” meetings in which nobody gets to ask real questions. Knowing us Californians, I’ll bet some of us will manage to get around the screening process and ask some awesome things.
But no Republican has won California since George Bush Sr. in 1990. Romney won’t win California either. Nobody expects him to. Not even the Republican Party. Every electoral scenario they come up with—where they figure out which states they can win, and what the chances are for Romney to succeed in this election—assume they’ve lost California. Every single one. No exceptions. Not even the wildest-dream scenarios, where Obama is caught molesting kiddies on top of a burning American flag, permit California to go into the red column. We’re just that lost to them.
So since they’ve embraced reality, you need to.
Your vote will not matter. Vote for Romney all you want. Get all your friends to vote for Romney. Have a massive vote drive. Commit voter fraud and vote twice, or rig the machines so every vote cast winds up for Romney—it will make no difference. He’s not gonna win California. Won’t happen.
And if you’re a Democrat, your vote will matter… but like the Republicans, you’re wasting your time campaigning. Trying to convince all your friends to vote Obama will be for naught. He’s gonna win. Your campaigning will make no difference. It’s like running a campaign to make sure that, no matter what happens, next month will be titled “October.” It’s gonna happen whether you make a fuss, pitch a fit, throw a tantrum, or sit on your keister. It’s not as inevitable as Jesus’s return, but it may as well be.
This being the case, start looking at the other races.
The presidential race is largely a distraction anyway. Unless you’re in the military, your local government has a lot more effect on your daily life than the federal government. Pay attention to the local races. Who’s running for your city council? Your school board? Your water board or planning commission? Are there any local measures, and what do they do?
There are gonna be 11 propositions on the California ballot. What are they about? How ought you vote for them? Who’s running for the Senate and Assembly? Do you even know who your existing state Senator and Assembly member are?
There’s a Senate race, but Dianne Feinstein is running for re-election, and she’s gonna win. Three-fifths of Californians voted for her in 2006—it’s a pretty consistent ratio—and Elizabeth Emken, the empty shirt the Republicans have put up against her, doesn’t stand much of a chance. In the primary (our new top-two system), Feinstein had 2,287,121 votes and Emken 585,933. No, Feinstein didn’t break 50 percent in the primary—she got 49.5 percent, and that’s why there’s a run-off—but combine all the votes for every Republican Senate candidate in the primary, and you get 1,811,317 votes, and Feinstein beat ’em combined. We live in a very blue state. Get used to the idea.
There are congressional races. We actually do have 19 Republicans in Congress; it is possible to elect a Republican in some counties. (Even mine—though we haven’t for the longest time, since our congressional district tends to get gerrymandered together with either Sacramento County or Contra Costa County.) Do you know who your member of Congress is? Most don’t.
See, all the time you spend agitating for Romney is wasted time. So stop wasting it. Look at the elections where your vote does count. Figure out how you ought to vote. Talk about that with your friends and neighbors. Most of them, like you, know between diddly and squat about these issues: They were planning to go to the polls, like you, vote for a swath of Republicans, and ignore all the propositions and local races because they don’t know anything about them. So learn something about them. Become, for once, an informed voter.
You got two months. Get cracking.