Monday, February 26, 2018


This, I gather, is a big story:
In a sharp rebuke to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democratic Party has declined to endorse the state’s own senior senator in her bid for reelection.

Riven by conflict between progressive and more moderate forces at the state party’s annual convention here, delegates favored Feinstein’s progressive rival, state Senate leader Kevin de León, over Feinstein by a vote of 54 percent to 37 percent, according to results announced Sunday.

Neither candidate reached the 60 percent threshold required to receive the party endorsement for 2018.
Feinstein is more centrist than many California Democrats; also, if she wins another term, she'll be 91 years old at its conclusion. So I understand why there might be a lot of Democrats who think it's time for a change. And the rival some in the convention prefer is the Democratic leader in the state Senate, not some wild-eyed extremist outsider.

Furthermore, California's electoral system, which requires all candidates for an office to run in the same primary, with the top two vote-getters proceeding to the general election, could result in a Democrat-vs.-Democrat contest in November, given the low poll numbers of Republicans seeking the seat. If that happens, the de León-Feinstein battle will ultimately be decided by voters. So what's wrong with that? Yet this story plays into a "Democrats in disarray" narrative.

On the other hand, here's a story from the GOP side that's getting a lot less attention:
Utah GOP Passes New Rule That Could Eject Romney From Ballot

With Orrin Hatch retiring, erstwhile GOP nominee and onetime prominent Trump critic Mitt Romney seemingly has a clear path to becoming Utah’s next senator. But a hard-right faction within the state’s Republican Party has taken a drastic step that could derail him.

Over the weekend, the faction passed a bylaw that allows Utah Republicans to expel any candidate that qualifies for the ballot via signatures — the route Romney plans to take. reports that Utah Republican Party chairman Rob Anderson, a relative moderate, is attempting to fend off repeated challenges to his leadership by a group of aggressive right-wingers in the party’s Central Committee. While they don’t have the numbers to oust him outright, they are able to pass bylaws over his wishes.

On Saturday, they passed one dictating that to get on the ballot, Republicans must follow the state’s current nomination laws, which don’t currently allow signature-gathering as an option.

And, the new bylaw says, if a candidate does follow that route to the ballot, they “immediately” lose their membership.
California Democrats had a convention and failed to endorse the incumbent senator for reelection -- but Utah Republicans had a similar gathering and voted to block their party's former presidential nominee from even appearing on the primary ballot.

It's not clear from the reporting whether this is intended as an assault on Romney or just as an attack on the party chairman. It's also not clear whether this would violate state election law. (By the way, we're told that "56 other GOP candidates in the state, including the sitting Senate president, have also announced their intention to gather signatures." So they're all imperiled as well.)

Imagine if Hillary Clinton wanted to run for office in New York State and left-wingers at the party convention were powerful enough to pass a bylaw preventing her from running as a Democrat. This would be a massive story. Many fretful thinkpieces would be written about the dangers of progressive purity and the self-destructive nature of the Democratic Party.

But it's the Republicans, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

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