What Political Flyers Show Us About California’s March 5 Election

What Political Flyers Show Us About California’s March 5 Election

Armed with pro-Biden leaflets, a Democratic Party supporter canvasses the suburbs of Phoenix, Ariz., on Oct. 15, 2020. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

John Seiler
John Seiler


Updated: 2/18/2024


Along with ballots, dozens of political flyers have been landing in California voters’ mailboxes or on their doorsteps. These always are keys to what’s going on. Politicians and initiative campaigns spend millions of dollars on consultants to create and mail out the flyers to influence voters. But you have to read the fine print to catch what’s going on.
For the March 5 primary there are no flyers for president because everyone knows the winners of the state primary will be President Joe Biden for Democrats and former President Donald Trump for Republicans. The candidates still come out here to collect campaign cash. Mr. Biden flies out later this month. And former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has no chance against Mr. Trump, recently came out to Hollywood and proclaimed, “I’m not going anywhere. I’m in this for the long haul.”
Initiatives usually spark an avalanche of flyers. But this March, the only initiative on the ballot, Proposition 1, $6.4 billion in bonds for homeless programs, faces almost no opposition. Ballotpedia so far tallied $10.8 million in total contributions for the Yea side and just $1,000 for the Nay side.
I have gathered as many flyers as I could from my own mailbox, my P.O. Box, and what neighbors and friends have given me. I’m registered Republican and so get those aimed at voters like me. Some of my neighbors are Democrats, so I’m getting that perspective, too.

U.S. Senate Race

The race for U.S. Senator from California shows a major defect in the Top Two system. Under it, in the primary, the top two winners, regardless of party or designating no party, go on to the November final. That means two Democrats or two Republicans could make it, with the other party aced out.
In this race, for the USC poll released Feb. 1, Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat, is on top with 25 percent. He’s followed by 15 percent going to both Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat, and Republican former Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player Steve Garvey. In fourth place is Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee at 7 percent.
The below flyer shows Mr. Schiff’s strategy. He doesn’t want to go against Ms. Porter, who is getting a lot of money from feminist groups. He prefers Mr. Garvey, because Republicans in this state have difficulty even reaching 40 percent. It cites an earlier poll from December. But that means Mr. Schiff, not Republicans, are determining who the Republican nominee will be—or if there is one. Republican Eric Early, who ought to be facing off against Mr. Garvey, instead is relegated to ghost status.
(Courtesy of John Seiler)

(Courtesy of John Seiler)

The flyer comes from “Schiff for Senate.” So it’s not an independent expenditure, but directly from his campaign.
It’s a “twofer”—for Democrats, Mr. Schiff is presented backing “climate change” and Obamacare. And of course it boasts, “Best known for leading the impeachment of President Trump.”
But for Republicans and independents, it advises, “Garvey voted for Donald Trump twice. ... A former Major League Baseball player, currently a businessman and philanthropist.” Although Mr. Garvey hasn’t publicly backed Mr. Trump this time. And, “Garvey ‘won’t assign blame for who is responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.’”
Ms. Porter and Ms. Lee aren’t mentioned except as shown trailing in the graph of the now obsolete poll.
As to which groups finance Mr. Schiff, Follow the Money lists individual contributions with the following totals: $1.2 million from the finance, insurance and real estate industries; $1.2 million from lawyers and lobbyists; $964,301 from communications and electronics; $755,922 from labor; and $509,994 from health industries.

Uber Pro-Abortion Expenditure

I also looked at an independent expenditure for helping state Sen. Josh Newman gain reelection. He’s running in the 37th District, which centers on Irvine, but includes parts of Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Orange, and other cities.
The flyer is paid for “by Uber Innovation Political Action Committee,” and it’s mailed from Sacramento, not Orange County. Uber is the popular ride service. This was mailed to a Democrat. What Uber wants is not just to reelect Mr. Newman, but to influence him on issues affecting their company.
The flyer says, “Who Does Planned Parenthood Trust to Protect Our Rights? Planned Parenthood Endorses Josh Newman for State Senate.”
(Courtesy of John Seiler)

(Courtesy of John Seiler)

(Courtesy of John Seiler)

(Courtesy of John Seiler)

Union Power Flyer

Any successful campaign needs a big turnout from the troops—the voters. When I looked at the fine print, I saw the flyer was mailed to a Democrat by the “United Domestic Workers of America Independent Expenditure PAC” from San Diego. The union’s website explains, “UDW is social justice union: we fight for workers and our communities. ... We are more than 171,000 home care and family child care providers across the state of California. ... 78 percent are women, 42 percent are Latinx, 8 percent are black, 18 percent are Asian. ...
“As a union of women and people of color, we fight for the issues that impact our families and communities: racial justice, disability justice, gender equity, immigrants’ rights, affordable housing, and communities free of police violence. ... Our union was founded by followers of Cesar Chavez in 1977.” Mr. Chavez earlier founded the United Farm Workers union. In California, March 31 is Cesar Chavez Day.
(Courtesy of John Seiler)

(Courtesy of John Seiler)

These key words were on the flyer: “We have the power to elect legislators who will fight for a stronger future and: More power for UDW members at the bargaining table. Fair wages so UDW members can thrive. Benefits like health care, paid leave, and more.”
It’s a blatant admission of what I have characterized for three decades as unions “sitting on both sides of the bargaining table.” They sit as the employee, but also as the employer, whom they elect to political office.

Conclusion: Special Interests Run the State

These flyers, and the many more arriving over the coming weeks, show who runs the state: the special interests. These are powerful corporations, such as Uber, and the unions, especially those representing public employees like the California Teachers Association and the UDW. (UDW workers commonly work for private citizens, such as a disabled person who lives at home, but are paid by the state through government programs.)
That’s how the U.S. government has run up $34 trillion in debt, even though the last major war was World War II, which ended 79 years ago. And how California has run up $145 billion in debt, plus $250 billion in unfunded debt for public-employee pensions.
Thomas Jefferson warned in 1816, “I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.” Due to the special interests manipulating elections to their benefit, that danger now stalks America and California like a ravenous wolf.

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com and his email is writejohnseiler@gmail.com

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