When it comes to politics, California is best known for the huge amounts of cash that stream from Hollywood and the Silicon Valley straight into the campaign coffers of Democratic candidates.
In terms of the primary contest, the Golden State has not been as significant a factor in the modern era, mainly due to its late voting date and the immense cost of campaigning in such a large state.
During the last presidential election cycle, then-GOP candidate Mitt Romney had already wrapped up the nomination a few weeks before the California primary had even taken place.
This primary season, however, seems to be turning conventional wisdom on its head.
Instead of being a proverbial wallflower, California is likely to hold a primary that ends up playing a key role in determining whether or not the GOP convention will be a contested one.
The June primary will be the first time since 1972 that the Golden State will be viewed as a national player. Back then Democratic voters gave George McGovern the golden nomination ticket.
In 1964 California’s delegates went to Barry Goldwater, giving the candidate the strength that he needed as he headed into the convention.
Interestingly, prior to the big event Goldwater had been unable to secure the requisite number of delegates to seal the nomination. Still, he wound up winning the first ballot and was ultimately named the Republican Party's nominee.
Current GOP front-runner Donald Trump needs to accumulate 1,237 delegates in order to avoid the multiple balloting of a contested convention and the attendant mischief in which Republican establishment insiders are planning to engage.
A whopping 172 delegates are awarded by voters in the California Republican primary, the determination of which is made by whomever wins in each congressional district.
This delegate count represents the largest number of delegates that can be obtained between now and the convention from any state primary.
Trump may not be able to completely sew up the nomination until the final day of the primary contests, which is set for June 7, 2016.
The media coverage on that day is likely to focus on California’s 53 congressional districts, which will have separate electoral contests to determine which candidates will be awarded the 172 delegates.
The political action will take place in 53 separate battles, which will be fought through use of a combination of public relations and advertising buys in widespread media markets as well as skillful implementation of effective ground game strategies.
The Ted Cruz campaign is already hard at work on its ground game in California.
Trump, on the other hand, has not yet set up a formal ground game in the Golden State; however, he does have experienced advisers who are at the ready for a grassroots operations launch.
The front-runner recently obtained the services of strategist Ted Costa, who in 2003 spearheaded the successful recall of then-Democratic Governor Gray Davis.
Additionally, to assist him with his campaign efforts in the Golden State, Trump has a sizable group of celebrities from SoCal’s entertainment industry, which includes Clint Eastwood, Jon Voight, Scott Baio, Kid Rock, Gary Busey, Stephen Baldwin, Lou Ferrigno, and Robert Davi.
The most likely endgame scenario involves Trump securing the delegates he needs, via the results of California's June primary, which will put him over the top in the clash for the GOP nomination.
When candidate John Kasich was delivering the victory speech for his single win in Ohio, he remarked about the importance of the left coast.
“I’m getting ready to rent a covered wagon, we’re going to have a big sail and have the wind blow us to the Rocky Mountains and over the mountains to California,” Kasich said.
Kasich recently secured the endorsement of Arnold Schwarzenegger, which may have a questionable effect because the former governor of California is not particularly held in high esteem by many Republicans within the state.
Because of his liberal positions on the issues, Kasich is likely to be financed by some of the same Republican entertainment executives who had lent their support to past nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney.
Although it is possible that significant political developments may alter the current state of affairs, especially given the relatively protracted time period that exists between now and June, some recent polls are providing clues as to what the Golden State may likely do.
A March poll by Landslide Communications focused on Trump and three other candidates, Marco Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich.
The results of the poll put Trump in the lead with 38.3 percent, Cruz in second at 22.4 percent, Kasich in third at 19.7 percent, and Rubio trailing at 10.1 percent.
Trump’s almost 16 percent advantage over Cruz is above the poll’s margin of error, which is 4.8 percent.
The above results demonstrate that Trump has moved up significantly in the last two months, when compared to a January Field Poll that had placed Cruz at 25 percent, with Trump having reached 23 percent, a statistical dead heat when the poll’s margin of error is taken into consideration.
After all is said and done, Trump may be the one to walk in California’s fields of gold right into the GOP nomination.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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