I did my duty as a citizen.

I dug through the pile of propaganda mailers from the candidates and partisans for the offices and issues on the ballot in California’s primary election on June 5th.

I was familiar with most of the issues, but the tidal wave of candidates was something to behold. There were 27 people on the ballot wanting to be elected governor! Most were people I’ve never heard of and rightly so; most of those unknowns weren’t elected but they’ll have a good tale to tell their grandchildren someday.

What passes for a primary election in California has, in my opinion, turned into a circus – one that opens the door to anyone who wants to run and be on ballots that list their names but do not identify party affiliation.

So it’s possible, and more than likely, that the top two winners for any office might well be two people from the same party.

It’s almost enough to make people stay home – and many did, even though it was important for the GOP and the Trump Administration to try to regain congressional districts lost in the presidential election. In that Hillary Clinton won the state handily, as well as half of the GOP congressional districts, California is important.

For voters not prepared for the ballot, it was a shock. Every candidate for every office appears on the ballot. The top two vote-getters will be on the general election ballot in November, regardless of party.

It stems from a system passed by voters in 2010. It was argued the system would force candidates to appeal to a wider audience and get more people involved in voting.

I suspect many voters, myself included, didn’t even remember that a vote of the people put this system in place – I don’t remember it.

From my reaction to it in this election, I think California should get rid of it and I’m not the only one who thinks that way. It has enabled candidates to parlay their campaign materials to get rid of a formidable opposition, and make their path to victory easier.

Example: the candidacy of Gavin Newsom (D), former S.F. mayor and current lieutenant governor, for the governorship in California. And I might note, someone who has his political eye on the U.S. Senate as well as the presidency. They say he has the looks, the charisma, the political history, the right friends, and the money and the ego to succeed. We’ll see.

He was considered a sure winner in the primary, but there was the Democrat opponent Antonio Villaraigosa, former L.A. mayor with large Latino support. And then there were the other 24 candidates for that office, including GOP businessman John Cox, who had gotten a good mention from President Trump.

Keep in mind, California is heavily Democrat; but still, the Dems were concerned because of Trump’s popularity.

Newsom’s campaign considered him a shoo-in but the presence of Villaraigosa was worrisome, so they played a psychological game on voters. Newsom ran a series of attack ads against Cox, setting him up to be pro-NRA and the “dark future” if he should be elected, made worse because he “stands with Trump.”

They calculated an association with the NRA would appeal to Republicans and would gain him Democrat support and in the process take votes away from Villaraigosa. But there was another side to this tactic. If Cox came in second in the primary, he would be against Newsom in November and would be considered a sure win.

In other words, Newsom campaigned to get the opponent he wanted for the general election and that person was not a Democrat.

Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, was quoted in the L.A. Times as saying, “It’s awfully cynical. This is so cynical Putin would be proud of it.”

Cynical or not, it worked. Newsom got 33 percent of the vote and Cox got 26 percent, so they’ll face each other in November. It promises to be a battle royale, though many think Newsom will be an automatic winner. Maybe.

The reality is California is knee deep in problems being left by Governor Jerry Brown – jobs, immigration, sanctuary issues, finances, transportation, taxes, the environment, education, crime, medical care and more.

While the Brown administration touts the grandiose proposals Jerry has proposed, the reality is they’re drastically underfunded with no prospects how they’ll be completed – from the bullet train to the gigantic twin water tunnels that promise to reignite the north/south water wars.

In reality, the political and financial future of California is at stake. Citizens are burdened by all the new environmental rules, business regulations, the cost of housing and the commute snafus – and thousands are leaving the state.

It hasn’t helped that Brown just signed two new laws which restrict the amount of water each person can use daily – 55 gallons per day – or face huge fines. City and agricultural districts also face limits and huge fines for not meeting requirements. It would be worse in times of drought.

Voters in the San Francisco area just voted to approve increasing bridge tolls in the area by $3.00 – estimated to raise $4.45 billion over ten years – yet in the newspaper two days ago, readers were told that’s “just the first step.”

Don’t you love it? Planners call raising costs to residents an “investment.” Right, tell that to workers who can’t afford their commute now, what with bridge tolls, taxes and gas prices.

Keep in mind Gov. Brown supported huge a gas tax and vehicle registration price increase – issues which will be fought out on Election Day in November with a repeal initiative in the works.

There are at least 12 other initiatives that may well qualify for the ballot, including one which proposes to break California into three separate states.

The message?

People are not happy.

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