Our last post on Tuesday night was about how Latinos tried but couldn't do it on their own. In two little discussed California races Blue America was active in, though, Latinos, helped progressives beat two truly horrible and corrupt conservatives. Nanette Barragán appears to have come from way behind to beat state Senator Isadore Hall for the congressional seat the Democratic Party Establishment tried to give him. And in an Inland Empire assembly district, it was Latino voters who helped Eloise Reyes oust one of the most conservative (and corrupt) Democrats in the state legislature, Cheryl Brown (AKA, Chevron Cheryl).
The race in CA-44 hasn't been officially called yet. With all precincts in, Nanette has 61,828 votes (51.2%) to Hall's 58,983 (48.8%)– an amazing showing for someone who was given no chance at all. Ambitious career politician, Janice Hahn– who gave up to seat for a supervisorial seat that she reckons is a better path to statewide office than a congressional seat– tried engineering an easy path to victory for Hall. And it wasn't just the slimy politicians from Hall's Republican wing of the Democratic Party– like Gavin Newsom– who were pushing Hall. It seems like just about every African-American member of Congress (not Barbara Lee, who knew better) was playing identity politics and backed Hall, as did the New Dems (which endorsed him). Virtually the whole state legislature, well aware of how corrupt he is, backed him (along with Gov. Brown, Senator-elect Harris, and even progressives like Betty Yee and John Chiang. Disgracefully, even Supervisor Hilda Solis, who started her career by taking on a corrupt Establishment incumbent, endorsed Hall.As did the California Democratic Party, party chair John Burton, some clowns calling themselves the Progressive Democratic Club, and the bulk of the labor movement (as well as Planned Parenthood, NOW, Equality California, even the Mexican American Bar Association PAC!
Nanette had a much smaller list of backers including Blue America (the first outside group to endorse her), DFA, the Latino Victory Project, the Sierra Club, Climate Hawks Vote, Our Revolution, the California League of Conservation Voters, EMILY's List and all the newspapers in the district, from the L.A. Times and the Daily Breeze to the Compton Herald and the Spanish-language press. The congressional Hispanic Caucus' Poder PAC also backed her, as did Progressive Caucus chair Raul Grijalva.
But, of course, it was the gigantic surge in Latino participation– registration and voting– that put Nanette over the top and help slay the whole disgusting establishment attempt to bolster one of its own. In the last week she told me that early voting was through the roof and that Latinos were voting in record numbers. They weren't just voting against Trump; they were voting for Nanette. Meanwhile, Hall is crying racism, even claiming his skin looked too dark in her literature.
Similar story down in the Dem vs Dem race for the San Bernardino Assembly seat occupied by corrupt conservative Cheryl Brown. I call it the Sammy Hagar district– Fontana, Colton, Rialto, Bloomington, Grand Terrace, Muscovy and a little of San Bernardino. It's not easy ousting an incumbent, but, again, Latino voter participation for Reyes surely helped– as well as a powerful campaign led by labor and environmentalists sick and tired of Brown's record of voting with the Republicans on union and Big Oil issues. All precincts are in and of the 73,350 votes cast, Eloise won 39,092 (53.3%) to Brown's 34,258 (46.7%). She's also whining her skin looked too dark in the mailers sent out against her. She doesn't want to face the fact that she lost because Eloise ran a strong, issue-oriented grassroots campaign that engaged voters directly with an incredible field operation, while Chevron Cheryl depended on Big Oil and her lobbyist cronies in Sacramento.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis