Democrats Avoid Catastrophe, Probably

It looks like California Dems won’t be locked out of any key House races.

Dems live to surf another wave.Phase4Studios/Shutterstock

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The “Dems in Disarray” headlines will have to wait another week, at least. As of Wednesday morning, it looks like Democratic candidates will appear on the general election ballot in every competitive California congressional race.

The biggest storyline heading into Tuesday’s primaries was whether Democrats would get locked out of the November ballot in key House races because of the state’s convoluted top-two primary system. Under this so-called “jungle primary” arrangement, all candidates run in a single primary and the top two finishers advance to the general election, regardless of party. The state is home to seven Republican-held congressional districts that Hillary Clinton carried in the 2016 presidential election, and Democrats were in danger of getting bumped from the top two spots in five of them.

For months, the party appeared to be a victim of its own enthusiasm—the huge number of Democratic candidates in those districts threatened to split the Democratic vote, which could have meant that two Republicans would advance to the November contest. But in the final weeks, national groups, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, spent millions to avoid this scenario. A few Democratic candidates also dropped out of their races, hoping to consolidate the field.

In the end, those efforts paid off. Although the vote tallies won’t be final in California for another week or so, Democrats appear to have clinched a general election spot in all seven districts.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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