John Zaring | The Rational Center: The End of the BeginningJohn Zaring September 19, 2018 2 Comments
With less than two months to go until the U.S. midterm elections, our local politicians and candidates are emerging from their most interesting ten days or so in, well, forever – more on that in a moment – while on the national level, President Donald J. Trump’s growing dumpster fire of woes increase the likelihood of a “blue wave” washing over Santa Clarita and America.
Trump’s conduct surrounding Sen. John McCain’s death and state-level services was both appalling and embarrassing. That was quickly forgotten the moment a behind-the-scenes book written by America’s foremost investigative journalist, Pulitzer prize winner Bob Woodward, was released. Woodward’s book Fear revealed a chaotic White House that parallels the administration which gave Woodward his national fame – that of Richard M. Nixon.
Reeling from Woodword’s stark comparisons to Watergate, Trump was then hit with an anonymous New York Times op-ed piece proffered by a senior official from his own administration, which poured even more fuel on the fire, making it plain that America’s current President poses a serious risk to national security.
As if that wasn’t enough, Trump upped the madness with his umpteenth unforced error. He tried to argue that his administration’s response last year to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was “an incredible unsung success” and that nearly 3,000 American citizens “didn’t die.” Although the death toll was reported and accepted by the government of Puerto Rico itself, Trump said it’s just a plot “by Democrats” to blame him for everything. It’s just one of over 5,000 documented falsehoods tracked by several media organizations, including the Washington Post.
The president has boldface lied to you over 5,000 times!
Even Rep. Steve Knight (R, Palmdale), who has a 98% voting record in support of Trump, took a step he’s strenuously avoided – for fear of angering the Trump-loving Republican base – and released a statement that tried to put distance from the president’s ludicrous Puerto Rico lie.
On Friday, two more of Trump’s associates – his personal lawyer Michael Cohen and campaign chairman Paul Manafort – struck deals with the Justice Department, so despite the ranting threats of Trump’s personal court jester Rudy Giuliani, it’s now clear that the Mueller investigation will not be slowing down in September.
Here in the 25th Congressional District, Rep. Knight’s Democratic challenger Katie Hill, was having a much better go of it. Former President Barack Obama endorsed her and kicked off his effort to take back the House with an appearance in Anaheim last Saturday in support of Hill and six other California Congressional candidates.
On Monday, Hill received endorsements from former LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, when Newsom’s bus tour made a stop in Stevenson Ranch just hours after Hill ably battled Knight at the General’s first debate in Palmdale. Newsom and Villaraigosa were there in support of both Hill and 38th Assembly candidate Christy Smith, the Newhall school board trustee running for the second time against Republican underachiever Dante Acosta.
Politico changed its prediction for the 25th from “tossup” to “leans Democratic,” something unthinkable just a few cycles ago when Democrat Lee Rogers lost to two Republicans – Knight and his out-of-district competitor Tony Strickland – and didn’t advance out of the primary.
Now Democrats and the Santa Clarita-raised Hill have the edge, which is why I wasn’t surprised to see Paul Ryan’s CLC SuperPAC label her “immature” in a desperate and blatantly sexist ad blitz defense of Knight. Just the fact that Republicans must spend money here is an astonishing acknowledgment that Politico is correct, but even more astonishing is the tone-deafness of calling a woman immature. Given Hill’s impressive rise to become co-CEO of California’s largest homeless support organization, People Assisting The Homeless, or PATH, as it’s better known, while still in her late twenties, it’s hard to conclude she’s not qualified. At 31, she’s a Millennial to be reckoned with!
The same day the Newsom bus rolled through Awesometown, billionaire and #impeachtrump messenger Tom Steyer arrived with radio talk show host Stephanie Miller of “The Sexy Liberal Blue Wave Tour” for a town hall at the Canyon Club. Steyer regaled a standing-room-only crowd of 400 or so angry and activated locals, all committed to replacing not only President Trump and Congressman Knight but anyone who supports them, which should give pause to the Republicans currently dominating Santa Clarita’s City Council. Most in the audience were new to politics, which indicates to this Baby Boomer that the days of liberals hiding in plain sight are behind us. Yep, the blue wave is coming, and it’s coming to Santa Clarita.
Given what’s happening in D.C., many of us are guilty of succumbing to hyperbole, usually on social media. None is needed here. Trump will surely continue sticking both feet into his mouth with predictable regularity, so Hill, Smith and the Democrats running for City Council – Diane Trautman, Logan Smith (no relation to Christy) and Brett Haddock – shouldn’t even bother to mention the man. Truthfully, anyone that’s still supporting Trump at this point after nearly a year and a half of borderline insanity, will never vote for any Democrat anyway. That’s America today.
Being “anti-Trump” isn’t why local Democratic candidates will win this November. They’ll win because of what they stand for, the issues that Santa Claritans care about, like protecting health care and social security, creating jobs with fair wages, a safe and affordable place to live, ending the GOP’s assault on the environment, rational and reasonable gun control, improving local traffic and the commute to LA, equality for women and minorities and fighting to end the tax handouts given to the 1%.
These are the reasons I believe Democrats will win more races than they lose in November. One thing is certain: Santa Clarita and the congressional district are growing and therefore changing politically. Whether it happens in 2018 or 2020, the Republicans currently in office are likely to be the last ones elected here for a generation.
John Zaring has lived with his family in the Santa Clarita Valley since 2000. He describes his politics as center-left, as in “the rational center,” and while initially a college Republican, has been a Democrat since 1992. The LA County Democratic Party named him the 37th Assembly District Democrat of the Year in 2010.