Elizabeth Warren plants a flag in California, as state’s early primary scrambles the calendar
GLENDALE, Calif. — It could have been a rally in New Hampshire on the eve of the 2020 primary. There was the candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, gripping the mic and pacing the stage in a cropped, purple, collarless coat. There was the brisk, biographical stump speech, polished to a stadium-ready shine. There was the peppy yet pointed playlist: “American Girl” by Tom Petty, “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. And then there was the crowd: a packed house of 1,400 — plus another 300 outside, according to the campaign — leaping to its feet whenever Warren delivered her well-honed applause lines about overturning Citizens United or making it easier to join a union.
The only indication that this wasn’t all happening in New Hampshire? The hundreds of red, white and blue “California for Warren” signs her staffers had ordered for the occasion.
The fact that a leading Democratic presidential contender spent Monday night rallying in this off-the-beaten-trail Los Angeles suburb is unusual enough; when Democrats visit deep-blue California, they tend drive straight from the airport to a closed-door, high-dollar Hollywood or Silicon Valley fundraiser, and then straight back to the airport.
But what’s really remarkable is not just that Warren bothered to rally here at all — it’s that she was doing it a full 379 days before the state’s 2020 primary.
The skill, scale and early timing of Warren’s event, California strategists tell Yahoo News, is one of the first clear signs that even though America’s most populous and progressive state is unlikely to be in play in next November’s election, it is already looming large in the Democratic nominating contest.
eventually rule out) a presidential run. “They have to divide their resources nationwide.”” data-reactid=”39″>Whether the 2020 California primary actually changes the game remains to be seen. The state’s huge delegate prize — nearly a quarter of the 2,026 needed to win the nomination — comes at a price. It is famously expensive to run statewide in California, home to 8.5 million Democrats spread along 850 miles of coastline and across 8 major media markets. “For a contested election in California, campaigns will spend $30 million, $35 million — that’s the norm,” says veteran consultant Bill Carrick, who has advised Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Which is why “no candidate can afford to run the equivalent of a governor’s race here,” explains Yusef Robb, a key Garcetti strategist who helped the mayor explore (and eventually rule out) a presidential run. “They have to divide their resources nationwide.”
Then there’s timing to think about. Yes, California will vote on the first Tuesday in March, right after the four early-primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. But so will Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia; Colorado and Minnesota could eventually join them. This crowded Super Tuesday schedule, full of delegate-rich contests, suggests that “March 3rd will probably the become the functional equivalent of a national primary, with all the logistical problems, all the organizational problems, and all the immediate costs that entails,” says Carrick. “Everyone is going to have to decide where they’re going to play and where they’re going to put their resources” — almost certainly diluting California’s impact.
raised more money ($6.15 million) from California than from any other state except Texas, and much of that cash came via the internet in small-dollar increments.’ data-reactid=”74″>The upside of such engagement isn’t just a lively event that looks good on the local news. It’s practical as well. All 1,700 attendees at Warren’s Glendale event were “encouraged” to RSVP, and to share their emails and phone numbers while doing so; the thinking is that Angelenos and other Californians eager to release all their pent-up “resistance” energy and finally participate in a campaign will someday become online donors (and maybe even volunteers or organizers). In 2018, for instance, Texas Senate candidate and possible 2020 presidential contender Beto O’Rourke raised more money ($6.15 million) from California than from any other state except Texas, and much of that cash came via the internet in small-dollar increments.
Either way, connecting in real life can’t hurt. “Everybody gets a ton of campaign emails these days,” says Carrick. “What candidates like Warren are trying to do is to make sure they have some relationship to reality — that people in California can feel and touch the campaign.”
Eventually, the benefits of engaging early and often in California will put any out-of-state candidates who survive February in position to compete with Harris for delegates — or to overtake her.
“It’s so far out that I don’t think anyone’s position is fixed or ordained by any means,” says Robb. “And the fact is, how candidates perform in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada is going to have a profound impact on the decisions that Californians make, because more than anything else, California Democrats want to win the White House. They don’t necessarily need their neighbor in the White House.”
Jeffrey Berman, Barack Obama’s director of delegate selection. “We went through every single congressional district,” Carrick says. “Some of them they had polling from; some of them they didn’t, so we were just eyeballing the historic dynamics. The point was to come up with the target districts where Obama needed to compete in order to get the maximum number of delegates.” On primary day, longtime favorite Hillary Clinton won California’s popular vote by more than 8 percentage points, but Obama still secured 166 delegates — enough to propel him past Clinton in the overall Super Tuesday tally. He went on to win the Democratic nomination.’ data-reactid=”90″>That part, at least, isn’t new. The last time California held a Super Tuesday primary was in 2008; Bill Carrick remembers getting an early call from Jeffrey Berman, Barack Obama’s director of delegate selection. “We went through every single congressional district,” Carrick says. “Some of them they had polling from; some of them they didn’t, so we were just eyeballing the historic dynamics. The point was to come up with the target districts where Obama needed to compete in order to get the maximum number of delegates.” On primary day, longtime favorite Hillary Clinton won California’s popular vote by more than 8 percentage points, but Obama still secured 166 delegates — enough to propel him past Clinton in the overall Super Tuesday tally. He went on to win the Democratic nomination.
The difference is, back then, Obama never campaigned in California, choosing instead to send surrogates such as his wife, Michelle, and Sen. Ted Kennedy. This time around, Warren has already broken with that tradition — and while she may be the first, she won’t be the last.
“The fact that a crowd like Warren’s turned out on a weeknight in the outer suburbs of Los Angeles a year before the primary — that’s extraordinary,” says Schnur. “But it tells you more about California’s Democratic electorate than it does about the candidate. A year from now they may or may not be Warren supporters. But they’re going to be at the barricades for someone.”
Source : Link