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Why 2016 could be the year California matters in the Republican primary

Delegates from California at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Delegates from California at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

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The Golden State has a track record as a forward thinker.

We lead the nation with our stance on environmental laws, social policies, and business innovations. But one area we haven’t been able to put our unique stamp on is the presidential primaries.

In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, political science professor Larry N. Gerston says this year will mark an exception, specially in the GOP primary race, due to a few factors, including the larger than usual pool of candidates vying for the spot.

If Gerston’s prediction comes true, how might that impact how Californians vote? Would it spur some Democrats to vote strategically for a Republican, either preferred or as sabotage, given that Hillary Clinton could be locked in by then?


Larry N. Gerston, a professor emeritus of political science at San Jose State University and author of many books, including “Not So Golden After All: The Rise and Fall of California” (CRC Press, 2012). He is the author of the op-ed piece, “This year, California will finally influence who becomes the GOP presidential nominee,” published yesterday in the LA Times

Thad Kousser, a professor of political science specializing in California politics at UC San Diego. He is a co-editor of the book, “The New Political Geography of California” (Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2008)