Ro Khanna

ELLEN CORBETT/RO KHANNA It’s assumed Eric Swalwell’s upset last Tuesday was the worst thing possible for the congressional hopes of State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett and former Obama appointee Ro Khanna. Not so, but it is now based solely on how Swalwell is able to build upon the power of the incumbency. If Swalwell eventually caucuses with Blue Dog Democrats he might not get much done since that group was a big loser nationally last week. The party is also not happy with Swalwell and it already harbors potentially irreversible distrust towards him and his real political beliefs. Corbett has gravitas. So does Khanna and he also has $1 million in the bank and the perception that it could become virtually an endless supply. Both need to remember, Swalwell’s victory came within a perfect storm of redistricting, an open primary system and a local media that severely compromised their prestige to get Swalwell elected. The first two reason are known quantities now, the third—media fawning over Swalwelll—will not occur again. He is untested politically and as a human being. He will stumble and the sins he committed to become congressman will surely come back to haunt him. My advice to Corbett and Khanna: position yourselves as the side of reason and experience and realize in terms of the his future, Swalwell may be far less Pete Stark and more like Audie Bock’s brief reign in the Assembly a decade ago. Also, hit him hard. The media was Swalwell’s bodyguard this year, but in two years they will allow the punches to be thrown and he should be hit with the same playbook Stark used this fall.

TRI VALLEY DEVELOPERS Swalwell’s win was an even bigger for Tri Valley developers and other business interests hoping to cash in on the growing region. They now have their guy in Congress, but at what cost? Interests like Charter Properties and Amador Valley Industries are now on the map for being possibly being unscrupulous business entities. In addition to their sullied images, their conduct and ties to other Tri Valley politicians may force their connections underground. My story on Swalwell’s tendency for pay-to-play politics last month revealed something very interesting to me. Just about every elected leader in the Tri Valley could be the focus of a similar story just like the one I wrote on Swalwell for the East Bay Express. They are seemingly all in bed with developers and so are the city staff’s. In addition, good luck in finding any paper trails at City Hall, because if you’re like Dublin, the documents seem to simply disappear. The corruption is so engrained in the Tri Valley that you can’t even discount council members who oppose developer’s plan are not merely ringers feigning protest just to make the whole enterprise believable.

Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg

LEGISLATIVE SUPER MAJORITIES In terms of their relation to Democrats, Republicans in Sacramento are now forced the same reality some women encounter when they find a particularly impressive dildo. Why do we need men? Well, why do Democrats need Republicans anymore with a supermajority in the Legislature? The more pertinent question for Democrats is whether they will use the great power for good or for evil? The cynical view says Democrats will overreach and herald the beginnings of their downfall. Here’s hoping they correctly read the political landscape and realize there is no reason to broaden their powers in the state since the Republican Party is already extinct. California’s role is to lead the nation forward and Democrats need to transform the wet dream of a progressive panacea into a reality. The re-election of President Obama may signal a more progressive future in the next four years and California needs to be the place where education is again paramount and the rich pay far more of the share of putting the state and country back on track.

OPEN PRIMARY/DEM VS. DEM The open primary put a moderate into office in the 15th Congressional District. However, electing someone who might potentially play nice with obstructionist House Republicans is not what we had in mind. If the results of two Dem vs. Dem races for the Assembly in the East Bay are any indication, the likelihood of producing moderates is very unlikely and the offshoot may be more about creating divisions and negative campaigning. Rob Bonta versus Rob Guillen in the 18th Assembly and Bill Quirk versus Jennifer Ong in the 20th did not exactly produce many policy disagreements. It did, however, produce a pretty chippy last few weeks of the campaign that would not have occurred under the old system. The format will appeal to Bonta and Quirk in this cycle because they won, but opponents in 2014 for these seats and for local races for state senate will figure out all Democrats in the East Bay are quite progressive and the only weapon available is to get real nasty. In the end, it eventually chips away at the Democratic Party. If you’re a Republican without any statewide power, why not let the opposing party beat itself up for you?