California Democrats won a two-thirds majority in the State Senate as expected, but they also may appear to be about to win a supermajority in the State Assembly as well.
California’s first Open Primary produced wins across the board for moderates, as Republicans paid the price for sticking to the same hardline messaging that has steadily eroded the Party’s relevance in a state that was never in doubt for President Obama.
In fact, Republicans found themselves so out of sync with the electorate that they were reduced to one last argument with voters in the closing weeks, “vote for us to prevent the “supermajority” or they will raise your taxes.”
It didn’t work.
There are two factors behind the total Republican collapse. First and foremost, the open primary exposed their hard-right candidates to the light of a general election turnout. Second, the Democrats again proved themselves better at the fundamentals of targeting and getting out their vote.
Republicans made no effort to moderate in the face of open primary. Democrats did. Hidden under the big Democratic sweep, ironically is a even measurable moderation of the legislature. In so-called “same party contests” moderates won across the board.
The Speaker of the Assembly was the big winner on partisan terms having produced, it appears, two more wins over Republicans than generally predicted. But, he also appeared to be losing both of his highest priority races where he supported candidates challenged by other Democrats.
Candidates of both parties, who started out their campaigns by reaching out to all voters rather than to their narrow partisan base prevailed on Tuesday. Open primary rewarded and punished just as its proponents claimed it would.
The question going forward is, what happens to a Republican brand that is so hopelessly damaged that new independent registrants actually outnumber new Republican registrants and total registration has dropped below 30%?
Many partisan party activists and leaders will see this as a badge of honor and press still harder on the same accelerator that has them on the brink of oblivion. But, will the business community that has historically funded the bulk of Republican candidates follow them over the cliff?
One wouldn’t think so. But, so far … they have.