Essential Politics: Will a weekend of tumult upend the campaign?


I’m Christina Bellantoni, welcoming you to the week with today’s Essential Politics.

There’s one question Tuesday’s elections might answer: Will Friday’s bizarre and gripping events and the reverberations over the weekend that showcased campaign trail tensions influence voters? 

The violence — and predictable political reactions to it — felt almost inevitable given the simmering anger that’s been stirred up across America.

Cathy Decker wrote Sunday that as Donald Trump himself suggested, the latest controversy very likely will cement support for him among his backers, who have already weathered disputes over his caustic criticisms of ethnic groups, women, the disabled and the pope, to mention a few. Their allegiance is apt to only harden if they believe that their leader, and they by extension, are under attack.


But as we’ve been reporting, progressive groups say they are just getting started. Kate Linthicum gets to the bottom of the coalition that organized the protest that upended the weekend.

And Trump, whose weekend rallies kept up the raucous feeling, suggested he might pay the legal fees for one of his supporters who is charged with assaulting a protester.

This weekend seemed as good a time as any to update our flowchart tracking who is for and who is against Trump, especially as Mitt Romney plans to show up on the campaign trail with Ohio Gov. John Kasich today. (And by the way, the governor is finally getting the Trump attack treatment).


As he has for much of this campaign, this weekend Trump dominated everything — even a Democratic town hall.

For their part, camps for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are wondering whether Michigan was a fluke or a tipping point.

Our team kept up with every twist and turn Saturday and Sunday, talking with voters and taking you inside campaign events. 


Don Lee and Jim Puzzanghera examine how if he actually reaches the White House, the sheer size of Trump’s business holdings, his active role in varied companies and his knack for self-promotion will pose unprecedented political, financial and ethical challenges.


Our team will be tracking the action leading up to the elections in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina on Trail Guide, with hundreds of delegates up for grabs.

How does the delegate process work, and why do we hear so much about them during the election? We broke down the process for you using Peeps.  Track the delegate race and see also: The Iowa caucus explained using gummy bears For more, go to latimes.

Are you voting in one of the states holding contests Tuesday? Send us your photos and tweets, or share what you’re seeing at the polls.

We’re tracking the delegate race bit by bit. But because the process can also be a little confusing, we produced another candy-themed political video to help make the delegate process as clear as … well, marshmallow.

Here’s everything you wanted to know about how it works, explained using Peeps.


State Sen. Ben Hueso, among the staunchest advocates for more regulations on Uber and Lyft, has used his power as chairman of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee to stall two widely supported ride-sharing bills.

Hueso, a Democrat from San Diego, says his personal experience with the transportation industry gives him insight into ride-sharing, but it stems from his family’s taxicab business — one of the largest in San Diego. And the taxi company owned by Hueso’s brothers is suing the state over an issue that one of the bills seeks to address.

The lawmaker told Liam Dillon that he expected to lose his battle for greater ride-sharing regulations because of Uber and Lyft’s popularity.



Fallout from last year’s SB 350 climate change fight is hitting one Southern California Democrat, Christine Mai-Duc reports. Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, one of a contingent of self-described moderate Democrats who held back support of the bill until a controversial oil provision was removed, is facing a potentially bruising reelection fight against a progressive outsider who’s earned the backing of some environmental groups and labor unions.


This could well be the week when we know President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, a person who at this point would generate a lot of attention without actually ever generating a confirmation hearing.

Sarah Wire talked with California’s senators — who have voted on six of the eight sitting justices — about the unusual situation they find themselves in. It’s particularly poignant for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, who didn’t expect she’d be facing a Supreme Court showdown in her final months in office. Boxer reflects on how Anita Hill’s testimony and the all-male Judiciary Committee is the reason she ended up in the Senate.


He’s back. Former state assemblyman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly is returning to politics with a last-minute bid challenging Rep. Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley). Donnelly, a former leader in the Minuteman border patrol group and tea party favorite, could benefit from votes mobilized by Trump’s candidacy.

And former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, who saw his convictions for perjury and voter fraud thrown out two months ago, has another curveball in store for the San Fernando Valley: He’s running for Congress against Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Los Angeles).


An intriguing story line emerged at the end of last week in the state Capitol: Could Big Tobacco be planning referendum measures asking the voters to overturn the newly approved package of tobacco bills, including a boost in the smoking age to 21 and new regulations on e-cigarettes?

Patrick McGreevy reports on the email a tobacco lobbyist sent to legislative staffers warning a big, big political campaign could be brewing this November if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the measures into law over the next few days.

George Skelton also tackles tobacco in his Monday column, detailing the eye-popping $10 per signature the lobby is willing to spend to get the referendum on the ballot. “You can’t say you were not warned,” read the email threat.


That big battle showed that the politics of tobacco in California are more complicated than you might think. Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers leads a discussion on this week’s California Politics Podcast that looks at the tricky tobacco negotiations among Democrats, as well as discussions about other big bills and the leadership team chosen by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Remember that you can subscribe to the weekly podcast.


-- California’s snack tax may be back, if one legislator has her way and voters agree in 2018.

-- Our newest reporter Del Quentin Weber describes how the assassination attempt forever changed Nancy Reagan.

-- Cathy Decker, David Lauter and I did a podcast last week about the media’s Trump obsession.

-- Cindy Carcamo details how immigration is particularly personal this year for California’s Cuban American community, especially because two Cuban American presidential candidates have tried to outdo each other by taking an increasingly harder line on immigration.

-- Trump’s lawyers on Friday contested an Orange County woman’s request to withdraw from a lawsuit she filed against Trump University, claiming the entire case was built around her and it would be unfair to the defense for her to bail out now.

-- A new Treasury Department savings program aims to close the gap for the nearly half of California workers who don’t have a retirement savings plan available at work.


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