Will other Republican candidates follow Schubert's lead to avoid #TFG questions - Silence is Complicity

Sacramento County District Attorney Ann Marie Schubert announcing her
State Attorney General candidacy. | 

Do the names Neel Kashkari or Ron Gold ring a bell with you? If not, don't feel bad because most California voters probably don't recognize their names.

Kashkari was vanquished by Jerry Brown in 2012 in the governor's race, and Gold was beaten by Vice President Kamala Harris in the 2014 race for California Attorney General. Kashkari and Gold were both Republican nominees in the days before the top two finisher voting system.  

The last two Republican's to win statewide office were Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steve Poizner in 2006 for governor and insurance commissioner, respectively. It has become so dire for statewide Republican candidates in the last two U.S. Senate races, voters had to choose between two Democratic candidates.

So it is no surprise in her political calculus, in 2018, Sacramento District Attorney Ann Marie Schubert left the Republican party and became a decline to state. Earlier this year, Schubert announced her candidacy for California Attorney General against incumbent Democrat Rob Bonta, who was appointed earlier this year by Gov. Gavin Newson.

Even though she is no longer in the GOP, Schubert holds law and order positions closely aligned with traditional Republican voters. Schubert will also have support from moderate Democratic elected officials like California Assemblymember Jim Cooper, which could help sway some voters.

Given the Democratic machine will probably coalesce around Bonta in the primary, Schubert has a realistic chance to make it to the general election in California's top-two finisher system. Although unaligned with any party, Schubert will have all the makings associated with a Republican against Bonta, who is oriented towards consumer rights and social justice reform issues in his candidacy.

Regardless of her decline to state status, will Schubert be able to avoid being Eldered as a Trump accolade by the Democratic machine? Undoubtedly she'll try dodging questions about any Trump affiliations, but if she does a half-hearted condemnation of #TFG (The Former Guy), perhaps it will be a wink and a nod to MAGA voters and generating numerous TV attack ads. 

Closer to home, will Republican Elk Grove City Councilmember Pat Hume deploy a similar strategy as he seeks to replace long-serving District 5 Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli? While local races are non-partisan, most politicians proudly wear their political affiliations - Hume is no exception - and more importantly, many voters choose based on party. 

Even if Hume were to drop his Republican affiliation if he has not done so already, can he dodge questions about Republican policies once antithetical to their governing principles, as well as his thoughts on #TFG and his January 6  coup attempt? And, will voters care? 

Conversely, Hume is running in an area of Sacramento County with a large share of MAGA voters so he could thumb his nose to political calculus and fully embrace #TFG and all it stands for. Regardless of his campaign strategy, if elected, Hume's kindred spirit on the Sacramento Board of Supervisors undoubtedly would be anti-vax conspiracy theory enabling Supervisor Sue Frost.  

Like Schubert, Hume could try avoiding guilt by association and be a dropout Republican. But does that act change the heart of politicians like Schubert or Hume without forcefully renouncing the January 6 coup attempt and simultaneously defending the Constitution? 

Silence is complicity. 

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