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What We Learned About Biden and Democrats in the CA Primary

State of the Union: The results suggest Joe Biden will not be replaced by Gov. Gavin Newsom


Welcome to the jungle—primary that is. In California, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump predictably carried their respective party’s primaries in one of the few races exempt from the jungle primary format where the top two vote getters advance.

When the race was called for Trump just before 11:15 p.m. eastern time, Trump had a commanding lead of more than 50 points over former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, receiving 74 percent of the vote to Haley’s 21 percent. It’s another predictable Trump win, given RealClear Polling had Trump leading in the polls by an average of 53.5 percent.


All of California’s 169 delegates, the state with the single largest delegate haul in the entire Republican primary process, will go to Trump, given he retains more than 50 percent of the vote. It’s a massive jump for Trump’s delegate count—more than half of the number of delegates Trump had prior to Super Tuesday—as the former president closes in on the 1,215 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Fitting that the Golden State goes for the man known for his love of gold decor.

Biden also won the Democratic presidential primary in commanding fashion. His margin of victory, and the lack of an “uncommitted” movement in one of the nation’s most progressive states, signals a California Democratic party in favor of the Biden Democrat mold despite constant speculation that the previously recalled Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom could replace Biden atop the Democratic ticket.

Ditching Biden for Newsom was always a dubious prospect. Did anyone really think Newsom and his climate agenda would perform better than Biden in the states Democrats need to win—Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin—come November to hold the White House? California’s results, not only in the presidential primary, but in the Senate jungle primary, make nominee Newsom all the more unlikely.

Adam Schiff, a Los Angeles area congressman infamous for his involvement in Russiagate, came into Tuesday’s election with a sizable fundraising advantage and an edge in the polls. Schiff, a Democrat more in the Biden mold, came out on top. His Democratic opponents also have fairly good name ID as well, but Reps. Katie Porter, an Elizabeth Warren type, and Barbara Lee, a black Oakland progressive will not make it out of the jungle primary.

Porter and Lee lost the battle for second to the Republican candidate, former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Steve Garvey. In a ruthless political maneuver, Schiff’s political apparatus has recently spent millions boosting Garvey, hoping to avoid a race against another Democrat in the deep-blue state and virtually ensure he’ll be the next senator from California.

Biden’s strategy in 2020 was to stay in the basement and simply be the guy on the ballot not named Donald Trump. Whether he can do that in 2024 as an incumbent remains to be seen. Nevertheless, in California, it appears Schiff is likely to anti-Trump his way into the Senate.


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