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Schiff cheapened himself by boosting Garvey in Senate race

Rep. Adam B. Schiff's clever and cynical maneuvering in the California Senate primary helped him avoid any risk in the November runoff. But he was exposed to other dangers.

The Burbank Democratic congressman may have dug a hole in the highway he regularly travels.

There may be some dirt on the Mr. Clean image.

It won't have a material impact on the number of votes he receives in November or in future elections. Voters themselves are quite cynical and are not shocked when politicians take the easy route out of expediency.

These days, people are polarized, voting for their own party's candidates despite their character flaws. Donald Trump's supporters are the most unfortunate example.

So what were the risks? Probably not much in the short term. But some voters may no longer respect the veteran lawmaker as a courageous idealist.

Indeed, many young supporters of Schiff's most feared potential rival in November, Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of Irvine, were angered by his tactics and will be remembered for a long time. right.

In any case, Schiff's ploy was somewhat disappointing and may not have been necessary.

Former Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres star Steve Garvey, the only identified Republican in the race, won on his own in November without being pushed by Schiff, who handpicked weak November opponents. There is a possibility that he may have advanced to the run-off election.

But if Mr. Garvey really needed Mr. Schiff's boost to finish among the top two vote-getters and qualify for the November runoff, this is yet another demonstration of the pathetic weakness of the California Republican Party. Here are two examples. please think about it. The Republican candidate needs backdoor help from Democrats to advance to his November runoff in key statewide races.

Mr. Garvey should have thanked Mr. Schiff in his election night speech. He didn't. But he warned him.

“Know this: It's not over until it's over,” Garvey said, quoting the late Yankees catcher Yogi Berra. “It's the same in baseball and it's the same in politics.

“And my opponent has advertised that he wants me. He mistakes kindness for weakness. I remind him of the old adage, 'Be careful what you ask for.' I would like to recommend that you keep it. ”

No, Steve, there is no doubt that the California Republican Party is weak. In both baseball and politics, numbers are decisive. Republicans have not won a statewide election in California since 2006, and Republicans outnumber Democrats by nearly 2 to 1.

A tally of early votes from Tuesday's primary election showed that support for the three leading Democratic candidates was 20 points higher than for the top three Republicans. And what helped Republicans was unusually low turnout. This spread of landslide size is a good indicator of the outcome in November.

To back that up, Schiff's goal was to help Garvey defeat Porter and win one of the two general election spots. As I've written before, what Schiff did was smart, but stinky.

Mr. Schiff's television ads ostensibly attacked Mr. Garvey for voting for Mr. Trump twice and potentially shifting the Senate to Republican control. The ad also falsely implied that Garvey, a Republican, rather than Porter, a Democrat, was Schiff's primary primary opponent. That disingenuous message was directed at Democrats.

But the TV spot's primary purpose was to promote Garvey's conservative bona fides among Republican voters. Garvey could not afford to promote himself. He didn't spend a penny on television. So Schiff did it for him.

In fact, Garvey did little campaigning. He survived on Schiff ads, name identification, and a Republican brand that appealed to Republican voters.

In fact, Garvey admitted that he voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, but declined to say who he would vote for in the presidential election.

Schiff did not invent strategies to strengthen his preferred opponents. Proven in California.

Example: In the 2018 gubernatorial primary, then-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom successfully used the same tactic while running against two prominent Democrats: former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chan. used. Mr. Newsom's television ads promoted unknown Republican John Cox, pushing him into the November runoff. Newsom then beat Cox by 24 percentage points.

One problem is that this undermines the goal of California's top-two open primary system, which is to advance the two most qualified and viable candidates, regardless of party, to the November election.

Ironically, Mr. Schiff has been instrumental in preserving and advancing American democracy, including investigating allegations of Russian interference in Trump's 2016 presidential election and Mr. Trump's attempts to overturn President Biden's 2020 victory. Congress exerted all its efforts to make this happen.

However, in this primary election, Mr. Schiff undermined democratic ideals.

Well, that might be a little too naive. Idealism is not a standard requirement for campaign combat. Love, war, and primaries are all fair. Oh, oh.

“I think what he did was perfect,” says veteran Democratic strategist David Townsend. “What is a candidate's job in a political campaign? To win. Number two, don't do anything illegal or attack your opponent with things that aren't true.”

Schiff certainly hasn't done anything illegal. But he narrowly avoided the truth.

“Mr. Schiff's people are to be commended,” Townsend continued. “wonderful.”

Are you okay. But I fear the following stinking game of tactics that some smart politician is sure to concoct.

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