Robinson: Past results, current predictions
A mail-in ballot box at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters on Nov. 8, 2022. File photo.

As a political consultant, people ask me what I believe is going to happen. Mostly, I don’t know. But when I have opined on politics it has often proven true. I’ve also been wrong in the past, but I’m more than 75% correct.

For instance, I predicted Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee in 2016. He was the last white man standing. I did not predict he would win the election—and technically I only predicted he would not get a majority of the vote, which turned out to be true. However, the polls were concerning enough that I attempted to advise the Clinton campaign. All of my advice was dismissed.

I predicted Willie Brown would run for mayor of San Francisco long before he announced and long before others figured it out. I predicted Barack Obama would win Iowa over Hillary Clinton in 2008, which he did. I was one of the first to predict Joe Biden would win the nomination and the presidency and continued to opine even after he was written off by pundits after Iowa and New Hampshire.

Previous to that, I predicted Howard Dean would lose Iowa and the nomination, despite the hype. I predicted Bill Clinton would win the presidency in 1992, even after Jennifer Flowers. I predicted Arnold Schwarzenegger would win the governorship and Gray Davis would be recalled.

This may sound like bragging, but these are simply facts based on observation and experience. So, as I offer predictions for 2024, you can track the record. Many go against current narratives of professional pundits who are, traditionally, almost always wrong.

Some easy ones. San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan will be reelected. Nobody should get extra points for stating the obvious. But Mahan drew no significant opposition for his mayoral bid. While there was a political strategy that could have succeeded, traditional polling, lack of resources and traditional political timidity prevented anyone from taking the risk.

He will continue to be a weak mayor under our current system, which is not his fault. He may pick up some allies in the upcoming election, but not enough for him to govern. The majority of the San Jose City Council will remain the same. Domingo Candelas has locked up most major endorsements and should win election to District 8, even as Sukhdev Bainiwal and Tam Troung run active campaigns. David Cohen should win reelection in District 4, but Mahan still loses if Cohen’s main rival Kansen Chu is able to win.

The mayor should be able to pick up an ally in District 6 with Michael Mulcahy. Olivia Navarro and Alex Shoor are qualified and could surprise, but District 6 is heavily tilted demographically to Mulcahy, who once ran for mayor. In addition, George Casey looks to be a prohibitive favorite in District 10. Casey is rumored to be the mayor’s choice in his former council district. The appointed Councilmember Arjun Batra is not seen as a strong incumbent, but does have strong support in the Indian community.

The congressional campaign for Anna Eshoo’s open seat will go to a runoff in November. Supervisor Joe Simitian, who has long been patiently waiting for the seat to open, has a huge head start and should make the runoff. But there could be road bumps ahead. At 70, Simitian is the oldest person in the race at a time when people are looking for younger leaders.

Assemblyman Evan Low, 40, is in a strong position to challenge. Younger and more progressive, Low represents a new generation of leadership and has recently been endorsed by Rep. Ro Khanna.

Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, 53, remains popular. But he alienated some base democratic voters by positioning himself to run against Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.  He later withdrew, but among activists it was an unforgivable act.

Moreover, he doesn’t live in Eshoo’s district, he lives in Lofren’s district. Not that it matters legally, but some voters have a provincial mentality that their representative should live in their district. But whatever votes he takes could come from Simitian.

There are some wild cards, such as Peter Dixon, a 40-year-old former Marine and Obama Administration official. He could probably also eat into Simitian’s vote total.

Julie Lythcott-Haims, 56, is the only woman in the race and identifies as “black, queer and a parent.” Her vote could eat into Low’s progressive constituency.

There are also two Republicans in the race. With the number of Democrats running, the split vote could allow one of these individuals to make the runoff. Thus making the general election a formality for whichever Democrat emerges.

My most bold prediction is that Trump will not be Republican nominee for president. While current polls show Trump ahead and pundits are already declaring him the winner, real voters have not weighed in on the race. Trump has currently heralded Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Viktor Orban and Kim Jong Un. His rhetoric is strangely more fascist than ever.

So who will be the Republican nominee? It won’t be Nikki Haley, this is the Republican Party. A majority of Republicans won’t vote for women or people of color. They just don’t do it. That leaves the last white man standing, probably Ron DeSantis. The Florida governor has the luxury of not being indicted on 91 felony counts, but still retains the misogyny and racism of Trump.

Again, I could be wrong. But I’ll stand by my previous record. Not perfect, but good.

Happy holidays and Go Niners.

San José Spotlight columnist Rich Robinson is a political consultant, attorney and author of “The Shadow Candidate.” 

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