2020 Presidential Elections State-by-State Guide: Democrats may have little problem in bagging California

The 'resistance state' has made headlines on several occasions for its clashes with the Trump administration and the Republican leader is least likely to overcome the challenge this time either

                            2020 Presidential Elections State-by-State Guide: Democrats may have little problem in bagging California
California State Flag (US Public Domain)



Primary date:

March 3, 2020 (Tuesday)

Primary Type: Semi-closed

Democratic delegates: 494 (415 pledged, 79 super)

Republican delegates: 172


Gavin Newsom (Democratic)


Dianne Feinstein (D) & Kamala Harris (D)

Representatives: 53

Forty-five Democratic: Jared Huffman (2nd district), John Garamendi (3rd district), Mike Thompson (5th district), Doris Matsul (6th district), Ami Bera (7th district), Jerry McNerney (9th district), Josh Harder (10th district), Mark DeSaulnier (11th district), Nancy Pelosi (12th district), Barbara Lee (13th district), Jackie Speier (14th district), Eric Swalwell (15th district), Jim Costa (16th district), Ro Khanna (17th district), Anna Eshoo (18th district), Zoe Lofgren (19th district), Jimmy Panetta (20th district), TJ Cox (21st district), Salud Carbajal (24th district), Julia Brownley (26th district), Judy Chu (27th district), Adam Schiff (28th district), Tony Cardenas (29th district), Brad Sherman (30th district), Pete Aguilar (31st district), Grace Napolitano (32nd district), Ted Lieu (33rd district), Jimmy Gomez (34th district), Norma Torres (35th district), Raul Ruiz (36th district), Karen Bass (37th district), Linda Sanchez (38th district), Gilbert Cisneros (39th district), Lucille Roybal-Allard (40th district), Mark Takano (41st district), Maxine Waters (43rd district), Nanette Barragan (44th district), Katie Porter (45th district), Luis Correa (46th district), Alan Lowenthal (47th district), Harley Rouda (48th district), Mike Levin (49th district), Juan Vargas (51st district), Scott Peters (52nd district), Susan Davis (53rd district)

Six Republicans: Doug LaMalfa (1st district), Tom McClintock (4th district), Paul Cook (8th district), Devin Nunes (22nd district), Kevin McCarthy (23rd district), Ken Calvert (42nd district)

Two vacant districts: 25th and 50th

Electoral college votes: 55

Hillary Clinton won all of them in 2016.

How California has voted in the past

California, the biggest political prize of the presidential election with 53 electoral college votes, joined the union in September 1850 as of the Compromise of 1850. Except for 1920 and 2010, the state has seen an addition to its electoral votes every census (from four in 1852 to 55 now). In 1972, California’s electoral votes reached 45 which saw it going past New York to have the highest tally. 

Though the Golden State is a safe Democratic now, it was not always the case. Between 1952 and 1988, California voted for a GOP presidential candidate in every election barring 1964 when Barry Goldwater was humbled by LBJ. In 2016, Hillary bettered the Dems’ wins under Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 to defeat Donald Trump by over 30 percentage points. She also made it the third consecutive occasion when a Democratic candidate received more than 60 percent of votes in the state. 

California is Democrats’ safest hub

The large-scale entry of outsiders in the past had a big effect on California’s politics. Before the Second World War, it was a Republican state that had a progressive tilt. The entry of the GI generation and factors like allegiance to the New Deal and the building of the auto and steel factories with workforces that were unionized made California a two-party state. After the war, California started playing a key role in presidential elections. During the time of Ronald Reagan, it picked GOP candidates in presidential polls and Democrats in congressional and state elections. Starting the early 1990s, California turned into a solid blue state. It started with the presidential wins of Bill Clinton in 1992 and the gubernatorial election victory of Pete Wilson in 1994. The increasing presence of Latino voters also gave Democrats a big political advantage.  

Two other groups have helped California to turn into a solid Democratic state. One consists of affluent, highly educated whites who reside in the big metropolitan areas, having ties with the economic and cultural symbols like Silicon Valley and Hollywood, respectively. The other is the Asian-Americans who over the two-and-half decades between 1992 and 2016, became a solid support base for the Dems. 

California and 2020 presidential election

Bernie Sanders was leading the fray ahead of the Super Tuesday in the mega state and according to various surveys released recently, he was leading his opponents with margins ranging between four to 18 points. The KQED-BPR survey, which was conducted partly during the Nevada Caucuses on February 22, Sanders was leading with 37 percent, 17 points more than second place-holder Elizabeth Warren. According to FiveThirtyEight forecasts, Sanders was leading with a whopping 89 percent while Joe Biden was a distant second at seven percent. In the 2016 primary, Sanders had a close defeat against Hillary (seven percent) and the two had split the delegates among them.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump had tasted a big victory in the primary of 2016 by grabbing almost 75 percent of the votes and all 172 delegates, but he lost to Hillary in the final battle. Trump’s subsequent battles with the ‘resistance state’ on issues like immigration, environment, homelessness and others and personality clashes with state politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff certainly ensure that he is least likely to win California this year. But Trump has not toned down his aggression vis-a-vis California, which too has filed several lawsuits against his administration, to get the backing of the state’s Republican supporters at least. Trump’s approval rate in California is minus 29 percent, one of the worst the country has seen.

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514