Like it or not (personally, not so much), Donald J. Trump is the presumptive Republican Party Presidential nominee.
Even before the hashtag #nevertrump hit social media, the Trump candidacy has seized the national political conversation about the 2016 presidential election, the Richter scale set to constantly monitor and measure the next disturbance. The next racist, sexist, xenophobic, dangerous thing he says will surely bring him down.
The energy around Trump amasses, and we're just waiting for it to blow.
Like California's Big One, the rupture is long overdue - and Trump's campaign, with only minor tremors over the last few months, holds its ground. The entire political infrastructure, which includes party leaders, TV news hosts, political pundits, campaign consultants, surrogate speakers, delegate trackers, traditional high-turnout voters (on both sides of the aisle), cannot predict when - if ever - he'll take the hit. Yet, we continue to be floored that the latest nasty thing Trump says doesn't take him down; appalled by the dirty words and talk about manly bits. Breathless when opponents' one-liners don't land; when reporters' questions don't stump him. Astonished that he cites National Inquirer stories. Our feelings are hurt because he doesn't compliment opponents or congratulate them when they lose (or, the ground drops out from under them, as has been the case for so many in the Republican field); frustrated that the gotcha debate question doesn't elicit a dear-in-the-headlight reaction - he doesn't even bat an eye. We're disappointed his speeches don't sound Presidential.
Surely, he'll move to the middle, reposition his policies, soften his rhetoric. Republicans will coalesce around him before the convention. Anytime now....
Meanwhile, all eyes turn to us, California, and our June 7 Democratic primary. California should be Sen. Bernie Sanders final frontier, heading straight towards the fault line where, hopefully, he'll drop off the grid.
And once again, the country will look at California as ground zero.
(Please forgive the following diversion. The conventional wisdom, the reality for almost everyone but Bernie Bros), is that Sec. Hillary Clinton will beat the tiring, trudging stalwart of progressive ideology, Bernie Sanders, here in California. Whatever you think of Sanders it's impossible for Sanders to capture the nomination, and even if he did, to imagine that he'd beat Trump in the general election, as so many national polls have suggested and Sanders supporters continue to argue. Moreover, it's 100% unrealistic to count on Sanders to implement the revolutionary goods and promises he's sold to young, inexperienced voters throughout his campaign. By the way, in case you hadn't noticed Bernie is a politician. He's no outsider - has been an elected official, an ineffectual one at that, on the public payroll almost all of his adult life. Sorry, I'm so over Bernie Sanders.)
I'm not necessarily predicting a landslide for Hillary here. But I am confident the Clinton campaign understands the significance of California: the massive media markets to exploit; the dollars to be raised; the votes to be gained; the Clinton-pledged delegates to fill seats on the convention floor.
What I do eagerly anticipate is the moment when the two powerful tectonic plates of former human rights attorney, First-Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and tabloid favorite, luxury real estate tycoon, hotel casino developer, and reality TV star Donald J. Trump collide.
May should be Hillary's month. Not just because it's Mothers Day. From one mother to another, what I wish for her is that she comes into her own, and she's able to set the tone and tenor (and stick with it!) for her candidacy ahead. She can't - she shouldn't - out-bully or out-bluster Trump. She'll never out-Trump Trump. (It seems only he can do that.) He is a loose cannon as Sec. Clinton has said, but I don't believe that's a winning message for her. Nor is the notion that she's already prepared, uniquely qualified, and ready for Day 1. She is.
Close the political playbook, drop the daily talking points and please, don't yell or be defensive. The tricks of the trade aren't working. Has anyone noticed? Besides, you have a thicker skin, and you're better tested for anything this guy can - and will - hurl at you.
The race will not be won on issues. This one isn't about policy. It's not even #nevertrump. I don't see it as "it's Hillary's to lose."
It's hers to win. And she will if the voters can begin to see who she really is - a strong, dedicated, compassionate leader. Be genuine, be firm, be steady.
Steady as she goes. As California goes so goes the nation, they say. Locked, loaded and ready to roll. #imwithher