PRESENTING YOUR CALIFORNIA PRIMARY FIELD GUIDE
SAN DIEGO – Heading into today’s California Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders pushed hard to forge through the rough terrain of the West in an effort to strike gold on the California coast.
But it’s looking more like the Donner party than the lucky 49ers.
Although today’s contest could be very close, California has always been solid territory for the Clintons in the past and this cycle is looking to be no different.
Hillary Clinton may see a narrower margin than the 8-point victory against then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008, but her pull with the state’s large swath of Hispanic voters combined with her stronger performances among older, better-educated voters, means she’s likely to win.
And so she’d better!
As of Monday, Clinton has claimed delegate majority and her party’s nomination. But today very much matters for momentum and narrative.
A Clinton win in the Golden State would officially shut down the Sanders machine. Though some may continue on with calls of unfair rules and issues with superdelegates, the rest of the Democratic Party, looking at facing Donald Trump, will coalesce for the sake of a November victory.
A big enough win could even take her to the nomination without relying on “superdelegates,” party elders who head to the Philadelphia convention technically unbound but substantially behind Clinton.
If Clinton loses today, however, her demand for Sanders to get out is much weaker, and his influence over her at the convention becomes stronger.
But Nate Silver’s argument as to how she won the nomination will be what gives her the likely win for today: More Democrats will vote for her. Yes, the margins will likely be closer than 2008 (see Nevada’s closer-than-expected results from a few months ago), but she has more pull with more voters in the state than Sanders.
For our final field guide of the 2016 cycle, let’s take a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway ahead of today’s California primary.
CALIFORNIA FIELD GUIDE
The politics of California is as diverse as the landscape: Booming cities, rough-riding cattle ranchers, coastal idylls, heart-swelling mountain vistas and desert wastelands.
But most of the voters live in and around the Bay Area in the central coast or Los Angeles and SoCal. And like the Giants and the Dodgers, they tend to disagree.
Bay Area: Baking for Bernie
The most “loyally liberal” part of the state, according to the Public Policy Institute of California’s 2012 study, is where Barack Obama did the best in 2008 and where Bernie Sanders will see his berniest bros come out for him.
Within the Bay Area, however, there is a split. In 2008, San Francisco County and Alameda County, two of the three most populous counties in the region, both went for Obama, but Santa Clara County, where Silicon Valley calls home in South San Francisco Bay, went for Clinton.
There will be a strong cohort of Bernie loyalists that recall the heydays of Haight-Ashbury and will come out in droves for the socialist who spent time in a hippie commune. And there’s the new age wave of eco-friendly, reusable-bag toting Millennials who think redistributing wealth is a swell idea from their studio apartments on Telegraph Hill.
But Clinton’s strongest pull in this part of California is Donald Trump. It’s hard to imagine how Trump could have helped Clinton more in the final week of the primaries than by repeatedly declaring germane the ethnicity of a federal judge presiding over a fraud suit against Trump for allegedly ripping off vets, single moms and the elderly with a fake college.
Los Angeles: Stars shine for Hillary
The City of Angels has the largest vote share in the state’s Democratic primary, accounting for 25 percent of today's vote share. Eight years ago, Clinton won Los Angeles County by over 13 points in the last Democratic primary, and back in 1992, her husband also won the county by 13 points against once-and-future California Gov. Jerry Brown.
Nearly half of the county is Hispanic, a group which came out for Clinton in Nevada earlier this year and has seen a sharp uptick in voter registration both in the state and nationwide.
Again, Trump does Clinton’s work for her.
This region of California and further south into Orange County and San Diego County tend to be the more conservative parts of the deep blue state and account for less Democratic primary votes.
These areas are among the wealthiest in the state and are not inclined towards Sandersian economics. Clinton won both Orange and San Diego counties in 2008 with a sweep of Southern California. She will likely perform similarly today.
[Watch Fox: Today marks the end of all major primaries for the 2016 cycle and the AEHQ team has the latest from San Diego, Calif. starting at 6 p.m. ET with Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier.]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought many terms into the American vocabulary not yet in use. One such word is today synonymous with American style: “It is widely accepted that the term levis for blue jeans comes from the gold rush, courtesy of Levi Strauss. The story is about half-right. Strauss, a German native working in his family’s dry goods business in New York, did go to San Francisco in 1853 and established Levi Strauss & Co. as a dry goods business. However, the real innovation that defined blue jeans as we know them was the rivets used to join the pockets and some of the seams, making the work pants more durable and practical. The idea for the rivets actually came from Jacob Davis, a Latvian-born tailor living in Reno, Nevada. Needing the money to apply for a patent, he partnered with Levi Strauss and they applied for the patent together — in 1872, long after the gold rush.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
General Election: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +2 points
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.2
FLORIDA AG CAUGHT UP IN TRUMP U SCANDAL
AP: “Florida’s attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates. The new disclosure from Attorney General Pam Bondi’s spokesman to The Associated Press on Monday provides additional details around the unusual circumstances of Trump’s $25,000 donation to Bondi. The money came from a Trump family foundation in apparent violation of rules surrounding political activities by charities. A political group backing Bondi’s re-election, called And Justice for All, reported receiving the check Sept. 17, 2013 -- four days after Bondi’s office publicly announced she was considering joining a New York state probe of Trump University’s activities, according to a 2013 report in the Orlando Sentinel. After the check came in, Bondi’s office nixed suing Trump, citing insufficient grounds.”
Triple down - Bloomberg: “An embattled Donald Trump urgently rallied his most visible supporters to defend his attacks on a federal judge’s Mexican ancestry during a conference call on Monday in which he ordered them to question the judge’s credibility and impugn reporters as racists. ‘We will overcome,’ Trump said, according to two supporters who were on the call and requested anonymity to share their notes with Bloomberg Politics. ‘And I’ve always won and I’m going to continue to win. And that’s the way it is.’ There was no mention of apologizing or backing away from his widely criticized remarks about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing cases against the Trump University real-estate program.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., pays the price for Trump resistance - Politico
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, not ready to endorse Trump - Time
Hillary will call Bernie tonight to seek unity - The Hill
Bernie chides media’s rush to judgment on Hillary’s delegate majority - NBC News
“[Trump’s comments on Judge Curiel’s bias] is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy…There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham to The New York Times.
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IF ONLY IT WORKED FOR PEOPLE
On Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California, a herd of bison roam freely. How did these land-bound creatures make it to the isolated spot in the Pacific Ocean? NPR: “Fourteen of the animals were brought here in 1924 by a Hollywood crew for a film shoot. The movie never got made, and the bison were never returned to the wild…their population exploded. At one point in the 1980s, there were more than 600 here. That’s when the conservancy sprang into action. There was some hunting. But mostly the group paid to ship excess bison…[L]ately, [biologist Julie] King and her team have discovered a new, cheaper solution: contraception. Each spring, the team sets out into Catalina’s backcountry on foot, armed with dart guns and a birth control vaccine called porcine zona pellucida, or PZP…No more shipping, no more hunting and no more culling.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“He’s revealing who [Trump] is. This isn’t some gaffe or accident…He had ample opportunity over the weekend to retract, to soften, to move away. Instead, he doubled down.” -- Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.