On a night when the Republican party took over the House of Representatives and made things tight in the U.S. Senate, Democratic President Barack Obama should study what California Democrats did right in their statewide races, fending off possibly every GOP challenger running for major office.

From the gubernatorial race to the lieutenant governor race to even the secretary of state race, California Democrats triumphed, with Democratic San Francisco D.A. Kamala Harris holding a slight lead against Republican L.A. County D.A. Steve Cooley in a race that's too close to call.

Political experts had been telling L.A. Weekly before election night that Democrats had a pure numerical advantage: 44 percent of registered voters in California are Democrats, 31 percent are Republican, and 20 percent are Independents.

From the get-go, the Democrats were in a solid position to win.

One of the main questions for political observers, however, was whether or not the Democrats would get their voters to turn out and vote. With the numerous wins of statewide offices held up as evidence — from Democratic governor-elect Jerry Brown to Democratic lieutenant governor-elect Gavin Newsom to successful Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer — apparently they did.

Is it really that simple? Make sure you register more voters than the other party and then be damn certain that those people hit the polls? Maybe so.

It also helps, as the experts often told the Weekly, to have an Independent vote that's middle-of-the-road libertarian and gets spooked by overly conservative candidates, such as Republican senatorial hopeful Carly Fiorina.

Obama's political crew is no doubt crunching the voter data in California. If not, they should be.

As we so often hear, “So goes California, so goes the nation.” Maybe that didn't happen last night, but the Golden State is often a few years ahead of its time with the rest of the country needing to catch up. California could very well be a good case study for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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