Don't Disenfranchise California

There is a magic land far, far away where the ball cap slogan, "Make America Great Again" is already a reality, and the phrase "A Future to Believe In," is pretty much here and now. It's called California.

Yet California is in danger of being disenfranchised.

Since the Great Recession, Silicon Valley almost single-handedly re-powered the US economy (along with, to be sure, the fracking revolution, like it or not.) Four of the 10 biggest companies in the US, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Wells Fargo light up Northern California, while one of America's leading export industries lives in Los Angeles. That's entertainment, folks. The center for biotech, drug discovery, and education is arguably San Diego (after Boston and ranking with San Francisco.) Statewide unemployment is low and falling. Skilled jobs by the tens of thousands go begging, and that includes manufacturing, of which California, though you wouldn't know it, is the leading state. It is also number one in agriculture, the new center for the US Navy, and overall the 7th largest economy on the planet.

By the end of this year, California will have a population of 40 million, more than Canada, more than the bottom 23 states combined, twice that of little New York.

And as many as one in 8 US voters hails from the Golden State.

Yet for all that, California is taken for granted, an afterthought, conveniently ignored. The state that leads all others, that believes in a future, that often, in fact, sets the agenda for the future of all those out-of-work, high unemployment, anti-immigrant, anti-science, over-weight locales in the Midwest and the South--dare we call them "Failed States?"--California may be dissed this year. How crazy is that?

Already, millions of voters in America's most voter-rich state are left dangling till the very end of the primary season, leaving them alone in front of their flat-screens looking at strange people in a strange land, the rest of America. California Republicans may well count for Donald Trump in this horserace, but if the Clinton campaign has its way and shuts down the Democratic process, voters in the bluest of blue states will have no say in the Democratic Primary.

And California is--seemingly--very Democratic. Registered Democrats account for 43% of the total with registered Republicans only 28%, and independents or as Sacramento phrases them, "Declined to States," accounting for a significant 23%.

Who will they vote for?

First, California cannot be counted on to toe anybody's party line. The sleeping giant that birthed Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown, The Governator, and Senator Shirley Temple will likely vote for whomever they damn well please, and with a wink and a nod. They like to do that. They're Californians. There is a very strong chance, therefore, that in the aggregate Californians would throw in for Trump and Sanders, respectively. The bushes will have to be shaken to even find remnant Republicans, but California Democrats and Declined-to-State's will line up like first-time Tesla buyers.

Is this the real reason why the Clintonites, on the one hand, and establishment Republicans, on the other, blanche in the face of California sunshine and the prospect of letting America's most important state finish out the primaries? A lot of people including a generation of millennial voters are not going to like being shut out of the political process. Nor should they.
California demographics must, indeed, seem strange and disturbing to the establishments of both parties. African-Americans are a minority among minorities here, comprising only 6-7% of the state, roughly half of their national numbers, and less than half the number of California's Asian-Americans, who represent 13-14%, according to the most recent US Census. There also are six times more Hispanics than African-Americans in California, slightly more than "whites."

Consequently, the minority landscape can tend to vote very differently than in, say, New York or Mississippi. Significant numbers of Hispanics, for instance, view President Barack Obama as "the Deporter-in-Chief," the most anti-Latino politician since Fremont kicked the Spanish out in 1848. Not that people want to build Donald Trump's wall, either, so much as, rather the opposite, to take down the current barriers that impede business at the California/Mexico border, which happens to be the busiest border crossing in the world. Californians also strongly support vastly reduced college costs and they respect science, from the facts of climate change to the reality of evolution, which underpins the huge genetic medical revolution here and thousands of jobs, all issues that could tilt voters, especially younger voters, to Sanders.

On the Democratic side, the respected Field Poll put the Vermont senator only six points away from Secretary Clinton, and closing, with an even more recent Fox poll giving Clinton a razor's edge of only 2 points--with the June 7 election, should all candidates stay in the race, still some 30 fun-filled media days away.

No wonder the rest of the country would like to ignore California.

At their own peril.

Isn't it about time Californians flexed their muscles?