Thursday, February 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

San Diego shows some things don’t change in politics

elias column sig

By
From page A8 | May 10, 2014 |

It’s all the rage these days to say that politics has been changed enormously by the combination of the “top two” primary election system and voters’ increasing reluctance to declare allegiance to either major political party.

While it’s true these phenomena have made some changes, it’s also true that some of the basics remain.

Among the changes: In districts where either Democrats or Republicans have very large voter registration margins, top two can and has produced interesting intra-party matchups. The presence of the minority party’s voters – whichever party is in the minority in a given district – causes November winners to conduct themselves in a more moderate manner than they otherwise might.

But some things remain just as they were, and that has never been better demonstrated than in the February special election in San Diego making former City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, mayor of a city carried by Democrat Barack Obama by a 25 percent margin in the 2012 presidential election.

A post-election analysis conducted for the nonprofit Voice of San Diego news site by Ohio State University political scientist Vladimir Kogan, a former staffer at that site, indicates this happened because of a seemingly ancient phenomenon: Republicans turn out much more heavily than Democrats, especially in special elections.

Faulconer, a Republican now trying to govern as a moderate, managed to win in a city where Democrats have a 13 percent voter registration advantage.

Kogan’s analysis showed that only 36 percent of voters who went for Obama in 2012 went for Democrat David Alvarez for mayor, while 63.5 percent did not cast ballots in the mayoral election.

By contrast, 76 percent of those who voted two years ago for Republican Mitt Romney for president chose Faulconer, while only 23 percent did not vote in the special mayoral election.

Some other statistics Kogan mined from the February vote demonstrate what political professionals have long known: Democrats turn out in far greater numbers for regularly scheduled runoffs than they do for either primaries or special elections.

That’s one big reason some Democrat-dominated cities have lately rescheduled their municipal elections to coincide with the November vote and it’s also why the Democratic-controlled state Legislature voted to move all initiatives that quality for a ballot via voter signatures into November. They figure the causes they favor stand a far better chance at that time.

The San Diego result also reinforces the reality that a disgraced politician can hurt whoever from his own party tries to succeed him. Alvarez, for example, has never been associated with wrongdoing, but was trying to hold onto the seat won in 2012 by fellow Democrat Bob Filner, chased from office in a groping and sexual harassment scandal.

Only 44 percent of the people who voted for Filner went for Alvarez this year, while 55.5 percent didn’t cast ballots. Meanwhile, 65 percent of those who picked 2012 loser Carl DeMaio (now running for a San Diego seat in Congress) voted for Faulconer and just 31.5 percent of DeMaio voters did not participate.

No one can say for sure that had the February vote somehow been delayed nine months until November, things would have gone differently. But for sure, Democrats would have had a better chance.

That’s because there will be other candidates, other causes on the ballot then that they care about. But even with a big push from labor unions, Democrats never generated much enthusiasm in February.

Meanwhile, Republicans salivated over the opportunity to recapture a mayor’s office that had been almost exclusively theirs for decades.

Does all this mean anything elsewhere, where voters are not as accustomed to Republican success as they have been in San Diego? Maybe. For sure, Democrats long have wanted to avoid contesting anything important anytime other than November, so they clearly knew the danger to them in a situation like what San Diego saw in February.

It all goes to show that, as humorist Finley Peter Dunne’s comic character Mr. Dooley pointed out more than a century ago, “The more things change, the more they stays the same.”

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Searchers find infant’s body

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
Children tackle history during Wax Museum project

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Suisun Walmart to open March 25

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Pedestrians hit by cars in 2 separate incidents

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 9 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Legislative committee votes for earthquake relief bill

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Vacaville police clear homeless from area

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

NorthBay Healthcare Group expands lease

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
State to close part of I-80 to continue project

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 24, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Feb. 24, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Family celebrating one-month birthdays of identical triplets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Massive I-95 pileup leaves 17 injured in snowy Maine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

CEO has plan for crime prediction system

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Dog owner lawsuit alleges food made his pups sick

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

What happens, and not, in Homeland Security shutdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Pet shop owner found guilty of arson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Harris only Dem left after Villaraigosa exits campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Regulators eyeing tighter cybersecurity requirements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Technology might have prevented deaths in train crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Speaker has plan to help fund affordable housing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hungarian village available for rent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Journalists arrested in Paris for drone flights

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Afghanistan avalanche destroys homes, kills 124

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Polanski appears in court to face extradition

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 26, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Chinese economy may be stalling – and that’s OK

By William Pesek | From Page: A7

 
Time to put down the joystick

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Today in History: Feb. 26, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Feb. 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Feb. 26, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Gucci designer makes debut during Milan Fashion Week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

People: Lindsay Lohan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Kings grind out 102-90 win over Grizzlies in Sacramento

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Bay Area’s Semien in the mix for A’s shortstop job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Clark says players against radical speed-up changes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McIlroy looking to keep momentum to the Masters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
IOC head quizzed about water shortages in Rio, golf course

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Felipe Mata Mislang

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Thomas Browning

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9