The 2022 primary election is coming up- or more accurately, its going on right now. Election day is June 7th, but thanks to California sending vote by mail ballots to all registered voters, Californians are already voting.
I just got back from vacation, and upon discovering my ballot waiting for me in my mailbox, I did what I always do- I brewed some coffee and compiled a spreadsheet. As usual, I’m cross referencing recommendations from the LA Times, the LA County Democratic Party, the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Knock LA. Where possible, names link to the relevant endorsement. Asterisks indicate an incumbent.
While you’re looking at these, here’s some context about how the different groups tend to endorse:
- The LA County Democratic Party– The Democratic Party endorsement works like any major party endorsement. From among the registered party members in the race, the party leadership votes and unites behind a chosen candidate. Democrat incumbents are basically always endorsed for reelection. Candidate policies generally match the Democratic party platform.
- The LA Times– Typically the LA Times plays it safe. They’re biased towards left of center moderates and incumbents. As a result they tend to line up pretty closely with whoever the Democratic party endorses. When they disagree with the Democratic party, it’s typically either because the Democrat candidate has a scandal or other baggage, the challenger has very strong qualifications, or the LA Times believed the position should be held by someone less partisan.
- DSA LA– DSA LA is a political party, but unlike the Democratic Party, there isn’t a DSA member in every race. In fact, a DSA LA endorsement comes with a commitment of active support from the organization, not just a seal of approval. As a result, DSA LA endorsements are rare, with only three candidates receiving endorsements in the race (Eunisses Hernandez for City Council District 1, Hugo Soto-Martinez for City Council District 13, and Fatima Iqbal-Zubair for Assembly District 6). The vast majority of candidates in the DSA LA voter guide are “recommended” by the DSA LA Electoral Politics Committee. Some are DSA members who are passionately committed to DSA’s platform, while others are just the least worst option.
- You’ll notice in this voter guide DSA LA typically disagrees with the Democratic Party, and in many races recommends long shot candidates. This is because this election is a primary, so there’s very little risk of splitting the vote. Despite stereotypes about socialists being radicals that spoil elections, DSA LA considers the impact of supporting a candidate, and routinely recommends mainstream Democrats in general elections if the only other option is a Republican.
- Knock LA– Knock LA is a nonprofit journalism project created by Ground Game LA. Ground Game LA is aligned with the socialist movement, so Knock LA’s recommendations are nearly identical to those of DSA LA.
- I briefly questioned whether this is redundant with the DSA LA voter guide, but then realized its not. Just because their conclusions are the same doesn’t mean these aren’t two separate voter guides. DSA LA and Knock LA each wrote detailed guides to dozens of races (13000 words and 26000 words respectively). If Democratic party organizations released multiple voter guides I’d be happy to include each one. Currently both the LA County Democratic Party and the California Democratic Party produce voter guides, but both are just an identical list of party members with no information about the candidates or why they are recommended.