The following opinion piece is about the special election for California's 25th Congressional district, which was vacated last year by the disgraced Katie Hill. A Republican, Mike Garcia, stole away her seat last week. And the voting? ALL MAIL-IN BALLOTS. According to the Ms. Pawel's piece, only the "overwhelmingly old, white, Republican" voters could be bothered to fill-out and return the postage-paid ballot. Because, y'know, Millennials get all anxious and stuff when being confronted with post offices, stamps and creepy letter carriers in weird trucks. Will be interesting to see what happens in the fall.
<< “I tried to register for the 2016 election, but it was beyond the deadline by the time I tried to do it,” a man named Tim, age 27, explained to New York magazine last fall. “I hate mailing stuff; it gives me anxiety.” Tim was outlining the reasons why he, like 11 other millennials interviewed by the magazine, probably wouldn’t vote in the 2018 midterm election. “The amount of work logically isn’t that much,” he continued. “Fill out a form, mail it, go to the specific place on a specific day. But those kind of tasks can be hard for me to do if I’m not enthusiastic about it.” >> -Buzzfeed News, How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation, January 5, 2019
From The New York Times:
California’s Warning Signs for Democrats
The party needs to figure out how to adapt to post-coronavirus politics to hold on to the seats that it flipped in 2018.
By Miriam Pawel
Contributing Opinion Writer
May 15, 2020
Before the pandemic, visitors to the Ronald Reagan Library were greeted by a hologram of the 40th president, speaking one day from his ranch and the next from the Oval Office.
On Tuesday, the Simi Valley hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean drew visitors for a different reason: curbside voting. At a makeshift polling place outside the shuttered museum, masked voters cast ballots in a special election to fill a vacancy in California’s 25th congressional district.
You can only imagine the Gipper was pleased with the result. For the first time in more than two decades, Republicans in California wrested a seat from Democrats. Mike Garcia, a political novice running as a supporter of President Trump, defeated Assemblywoman Christy Smith, a centrist Democrat, by around 10 percentage points.
The outcome was neither an earth-shattering victory that presages a red wave in the bluest state nor an entirely predictable result of low turnout in a special election destined to be reversed when the two candidates face off again in November. As always, there were circumstances peculiar to the local contest.
But there are also larger portents about the perils of electoral politics in the post-coronavirus world and the Democrats’ challenge in holding on to the seats they flipped in the 2018 midterm election.
For decades, the district that stretches northeast from the Reagan Library across the high desert suburbs of Los Angeles County sent Republicans to Congress. Representative Steve Knight was re-elected in 2016, even as Hillary Clinton comfortably carried the district. Her margin made the 25th district a target for Democrats in the 2018 midterm, when Katie Hill unseated Mr. Knight in an expensive, high-profile campaign. Ms. Hill’s resignation amid a sex scandal less than a year into her term led to the special election.
On paper, Democrats hold a six-point registration edge, built up over the past four years largely because Republican defectors switched to no party preference. The numbers mask a still-conservative electorate, especially among the most reliable voters. Gov. Gavin Newsom coasted to victory statewide in 2018 over a little-known Republican — but carried the 25th district by only two points.
Mr. Garcia, a former Navy pilot and son of a Mexican immigrant, campaigned on a traditional Republican platform — against high taxes, overregulation and Democratic control. Unlike Mr. Knight, who had cast unpopular votes on issues like health care, Mr. Garcia had no record to attack. He embraced President Trump, and in a low-turnout election conducted almost entirely by mail, that helped motivate his base. While Mr. Garcia will have the advantage of incumbency in November, he will also have a record that may make his ties to President Trump more of a liability in a general election that might draw twice as many voters.
The key question of turnout will depend on whether Democrats devise a successful post-pandemic strategy to replace the armies of volunteers who went door-to-door canvassing swing districts in 2018. For the foreseeable future, campaign and get-out-the-vote operations accustomed to relying on face-to-face contact will have to make radical shifts. Democrats, particularly progressive candidates, have eked out wins in recent contests by knocking on doors, taking voters to the polls for same-day registration and collecting mail-in ballots up to the last minute. All that will change.
Mr. Garcia’s surprisingly wide margin of victory in a race Democrats had expected to be close illustrates the challenge. Every registered voter in the district received a postage-paid, mail-in ballot, as will be the case statewide in November. Voters who returned the simple ballot skewed overwhelmingly old, white and Republican.
An analysis by the firm Political Data Inc., which tracks ballots returned, showed the younger the voter, the less likely to vote. Fewer than 20 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds cast ballots; twice as many voted who were between 50 and 65; and only among the oldest voters did turnout exceed 50 percent. Latinos were least likely to vote (21 percent), while 40 percent of whites cast ballots. To win back the seat in November, Democrats will need to motivate younger voters and Latinos, mirroring the challenge nationally for a party with a presidential candidate who has not generated enthusiasm among either constituency.
“Yes, turn out Latinos. But you need to persuade us too. Especially if the G.O.P. candidate is Latino!” Antonio De Loera-Brust, a Californian who worked on the policy staff of the Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro campaigns, tweeted in response to the election result. He pointed to one of several recent analyses warning that Latinos, disproportionately hit by the health and economic consequences of Covid-19, might just stay home in November.
In recent elections, last-minute votes, by mail and in person, have skewed heavily for Democrats. Not this time. Voters who showed up at the handful of outdoor pop-up polling places voted for the Republican two to one. Some told reporters they voted in person because they did not trust the Postal Service.
Republicans have not won a statewide election in California since 2006. Democrats hold veto-proof majorities in both houses of the State Legislature. The California of Ronald Reagan, ruled by Republican governors for all but 21 years of the past century, is gone. Yet Donald Trump raised more than $30 million in California, outstripping all of his Democratic challengers during the height of the primary campaign. In 2016, even as he lost the state two to one, he won more than four million votes.
The governor predicts a quarter of all workers in California may soon be unemployed. Revenues are plummeting at a time of staggering need. It is impossible to know whether the impending depression will foster appreciation of government or antipathy. To make assumptions based on past practices about anything, including elections, is to risk complacency at a time of unprecedented and unpredictable upheaval. >>