I’m sure you’ve heard by now that people are complaining that California is just a big ATM for presidential candidates. They come in, they have a few fundraisers, they take a bunch of money, but by the time California’s primaries roll around, the candidate is already chosen. The Californians are feeling a bit impotent, it seems.
It makes a good sound bite, I suppose. But it’s a terrible analogy. A better one would be paying the homeless guy to wash your windshield with a dirty rag. You give him money, he’s theoretically doing something to help you out, but what he’s really doing is smearing the dirt around and pocketing your cash.
More importantly, it totally misses the point. First, does it really matter if the actual vote you cast is of vital importance if your candidate wins? I mean, let’s say Bob and Joe are fighting for the Democratic nomination. Californian’s LOVE Bob because he’s a wind-kissing hippie, while Joe is a moderate ex-military pro-lifer. Bob and Joe come to California, where Bob raises $30 million and Joe gets $5 million. Bob uses that money, along with a bunch from the Sierra Club and PETA, to run a brilliant ad campaign in Iowa and a couple of other key states. Joe blows his cash on flying from state to state, trying to get his message out there.
By the time the California primary happens, Bob has already sealed up the nomination. Oh, no! Californians' votes don’t matter! But their candidate won. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that the Governator’s TV time has been reduced. This seems like a big ploy for attention more than a real desire for change. California plays a huge role in driving policy, especially about the environment. Californians have a loud voice in politics. They just don’t get to use it much during the presidential primaries.