“Red” California

David Dayen at Calitics has an analysis of Obama’s results in several “red” congressional districts, including mine – CA-44. Obama carried the 44th by 2,500 votes with 49.5%, while the Republican incumbent, Calvert, defeated Bill Hedrick 52-48. This was a shockingly close race for the district, which has been trending Democratic in Riverside County – the first race I remember being actively contested, at least in the Orange County portion.

I only volunteered a little with the Hedrick campaign – spending more time first on Obama and then later on Prop 8. Based on my sketchy anecdotal evidence, however, the myth of unwinnable districts has more than simply institutional repercussions. Many Democrats I spoke with did not really expect that Hedrick could have a chance of winning, which seemed fair given historical evidence. Local press also under-reported the race. Even in the aftermath of the election, one of the local papers misreported the congressional election results, showing Calvert winning by over 20%. Until pressed they refused to print a correction because they viewed the results as irrelevant.

The more Californians are told that elections are predestined by gerrymandering, the less they’ll participate in them. The more the press and the parties act like elections are predestined, the more they actually will be.

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Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 12:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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