A dim glow in the dark

Despite a presidential contest with results ever grimmer, Election Day 2020 in most others ways gives conservatives hope. The Senate looks to be held, though Georgia’s January double runoff apparently will decide the matter. Lindsey Graham’s $100 million defeat of Jaime Harrison in South Carolina will look cheap by February.

Republicans gained seats in the House, too, when they were supposedly facing a “blue wave,” though it’s still Pelosi’s House. If the Democrats do tie the Republicans in the Senate 50-50, look for West Virginia’s Joe Manchin (D) to suddenly be the most popular man in the Capitol’s north wing. I’ll take McConnell over Schumer to win most of those battles.

But California, of all places, might be one of the happier surprise for Republicans. While Democrats still dominate California’s House delegation, two of conservative stalwart Orange County’s seats that voted Democrat in 2018 have Republicans now in the lead, though by paper-thin margins. And Mike Garcia in northern L.A. County leads Christy Smith – again, margins to make Gordon Gekko sweat – in the district he won after Democrat Katie Hill resigned after your choice of scandals.

But best of all, California voters defeated several progressive wishlist propositions, proving that in California, there beats a heart where conservative ideas still flow. Prop 15, raising commercial property taxes and undermining 1978’s tax-revolt Prop 13, is currently going down to defeat, 52%-48%. Prop 16, which would allow again for race-based affirmative action in hiring, education, and other arenas, got thrashed, 56%-43%. Prop 18, which would have allowed 17-year-olds to vote in the primaries of elections by which they will have turned 18, also crashed and burned, 55%-45%. An expansion of rent control lost big, 60%-40%. And, with Prop 22 passing, workers can now work as independent contractors again – escaping from the bonds of the disastrous AB5 – so long as you work for Uber or Lyft, or similar gig-type drivers. People love their food deliveries, thank God.

All of this proves California still offers fertile ground for Republicans. They just need the right messengers.

New Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, in the 38th District, might be worth keeping an eye on. The daughter of a mechanic, who can change her own carburetor, a one-time staffer to Republican Congressman Buck McKeon, mother of a three-year-old daughter and executive director of a nonprofit, Valladares speaks with ease about both her family’s struggles as well as her family’s tamales, and has a telegenic appeal that guarantees camera time. The Assembly for her seems like but a start.

Nevertheless, California is still California – L.A. voted in a Soros-funded District Attorney, as a little amuse-bouche for you – but for once in a seeming eternity, a candle glows in the darkness.

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