BREAKING: Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris took the lead in Pennsylvania just moments ago. They also pulled ahead in Georgia overnight, and are now on the verge of victory.
THE BUZZ: Proposition 22 was never just about California.
Make no mistake: California-born tech companies like Uber and DoorDash believed ruinous financial repercussions would follow if they were forced to comply with Assembly Bill 5 and convert their drivers from independent contractors into employees. That’s why five companies collectively shattered spending records with a successful $200 million campaign to sidestep the mandate. Uber alone spent $60 million on the campaign; since Prop 22 prevailed, the company’s market cap has increased about $11 billion.
But the fight won’t stop at California’s borders. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said as much on Thursday, telling investors that the company would “more loudly advocate for new laws like Prop 22” and calling it a “priority for us to work with governments across the U.S. and the world to make this a reality.”
California’s yearslong gig economy power struggle has been in part about lines in the sand. Organized labor saw a chance to reverse the steady erosion of stable jobs, thanks in part to what it sees as exploitative companies that don’t pay workers their due. After AB 5’s success, other blue states pursued similar legislation and House Democrats advanced a bill to enshrine a federal employment test that mirrors AB 5’s more rigorous standard.
For tech companies, this wasn’t just about their bottom line in California. It was about what will become the model in other states, in Congress and in other nations: AB 5, which frames employee status as the indispensable protection? Or Prop 22, which tries to straddle the contractor-employee divide by creating what Khosrowshahi calls “IC+” workers who can set their own hours but get some benefits?
Vindicated in their populous home state, tech companies can now argue that a Prop 22-like model is clearly the way to go in other locales. But their victory in California doesn’t mean they’ve moved on. Prop 22 didn’t touch workers’ ability to organize (or lack thereof). Tech companies have long floated a form of “sectoral bargaining” that falls short of full unionization. Gov. Gavin Newsom has signaled he’s game, and he would surely love to trumpet making peace while creating a new path for worker organizing.
Does a post-Prop 22 world create the space for Newsom to broker a deal between a major California industry and politically powerful labor players? Lyft executives have been making the rounds with a message that they’re open to talking and making a deal. Whether that happens or not, Silicon Valley believes it’s back in the driver’s seat.
BUENOS DÍAS, good Friday morning. The Sacramento Press Club will hear election analysis today from former CAGOP spokesperson and strategist Steve Schmidt, more recently a founding member of the Lincoln Project, in conversation with journalist and Press Club president Dan Morain. Livestreamed at noon on the Sacramento Press Club Facebook Page.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “What this cycle showed, maybe more than any other, is that you can pay for a law if you don’t like something that’s going on. With brute strength, you can buy yourself virtually any law you want or defeat any law you want.” Democratic political strategist Gale Kaufman tells the LA Times how big money propelled ballot initiatives.
BONUS TOTD: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy @GOPLeader stays loyal: “Joe Biden wants to ‘count every vote.’ President @realDonaldTrump wants to count every 𝐥𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐥 vote. There’s a big difference.” On Fox last night, McCarthy went further, echoing Trump’s false claims: “President Trump won this election.”
PODCAST OF THE DAY: KQED’s “Political Breakdown“ features a discussion on election results with KQED’s Scott Shafer, Marisa Lagos, Katie Orr and POLITICO’s Carla Marinucci.
WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.
SPIKED — “Cal football opener vs. Washington canceled as coronavirus quarantine diminishes roster,” by the SF Chronicle’s Rusty Simmons: “The Bears’ scheduled opener Saturday night against Washington was canceled Thursday, a day after a player tested positive for the coronavirus and a ‘significant’ number of his teammates were connected in contact tracing.”
DEM DISCONTENT — “Dem leaders warn liberal rhetoric could blow Georgia races,” by POLITICO’s Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants had a stark warning for Democrats on Thursday: Swing too far left and they’re all but certain to blow their chances in the Georgia runoff that will determine which party controls the Senate. …
Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, a Blue Dog whose race remains uncalled though she declared victory this week, grew angry as she warned her party against some of the rhetoric she argued hurt moderate Democrats like herself, saying the election results were a “failure.”
“No one should say ‘defund the police’ ever again,” Spanberger said on the call, according to two sources. “Nobody should be talking about socialism.”
PROGRESSIVES’ MIXED BAG — “California proves it’s not as liberal as you think,” by POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White: Voters in the deep-blue state rejected a progressive push to reinstate affirmative action, sided with technology companies over organized labor and rejected rent control. They are poised to reject a business tax that had been a decadeslong priority for labor unions and Democratic leaders.
Trump portrays California as a land of complete liberal excess — and Biden currently has 65 percent of California’s vote. Yet decisions on ballot measures this week reflect a state that remains unpredictable, flashing a libertarian streak with a tinge of fiscal moderation within its Democratic moorings.
LOS ANGELES SPECIAL — “Holly Mitchell’s LA supervisor win sets off legislative dominoes,” by POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White: Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles) would be an obvious choice to move to the upper house, and she confirmed Thursday to POLITICO that she plans to run. If she wins, that would open up her Assembly seat.
SHENANIGANS — “Facebook bans ‘STOP THE STEAL’ group Trump allies were using to organize protests against vote counting,” by WaPo’s Tony Romm, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Isaac Stanley-Becker: “President Trump’s allies have turned to Facebook and other social media sites in an effort to spark nationwide protests against the 2020 election, thrusting some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful organizing tools into a contest over the legitimacy of American democracy.”
— “A Massive ‘Stop the Count’ Facebook Group Has Ties to Republican Operatives,” by Mother Jones’ Ali Breland.
PLACER GOING PURPLE? — “Why Placer County in California voted for Biden over Trump,” by the Sac Bee’s Tony Bizjak: “The Sierra foothills county, long a conservative fortress, is no longer reliably Republican. But is this red county about to turn blue? It’s a complicated question. Placer – one of California’s fastest-growing counties – is becoming more urban, more modern and more socially and politically complex. If anything, Placer is purple.”
— “Latino voters say they’re tired of being taken for granted by Democratic campaigns,” by the LA Times’ Brittny Mejia: “Political strategists and experts pointed to several factors that worked against the Democratic Party, including the lack of a ground game in Texas and an aggressive Republican strategy in south Florida that falsely painted Biden as a socialist. Others said the push to dominate the so-called Latino vote came too late in some places, allowing Republicans to nibble at the margins and narrow the gap.”
THE NEXT GENERATION— “Alex Lee of San Jose is now California’s youngest legislator,” by the LA Times’ Melody Gutierrez: “The Generation Z Democrat from San Jose is 25 years old, lives with his mom and, up until recently, was working part time for an app-based delivery service to make ends meet during his campaign. When he is sworn into office, he will also be the first California legislator to have come out as bisexual.”
— “SF election may tilt Board of Supervisors in Mayor Breed’s favor,” by KQED’s Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez: “Mayor London Breed and San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors largely agree on the city’s most pernicious problems — the pandemic, the rental crisis, homelessness, the survival of small businesses — but find themselves disagreeing on how to solve them. These ideological log-jams, however, may burst open after this November’s election.”
PELOSI IN PERIL — “Questions for Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Democrats underperform in House races,” by the SF Chronicle’s Tal Kopan and John Wildermuth: “The results defied polls conducted by the Democratic Party and outside experts, raising questions about what the party might have missed. One Democratic lawmaker, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about party leadership, said Pelosi, D-San Francisco, would have to offer a response to her caucus, and that attention would focus on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Democrats’ campaign apparatus.”
— “Pelosi announces big expansion of Covid testing for lawmakers,” by POLITICO’s John Bresnahan and Heather Caygle.
— “Gavin Newsom made it easy for Kamala Harris to decide which higher office to pursue,” by the SF Chronicle’s Phil Matier: “Harris was torn over whether to run for the Senate in 2016 or wait it out and run for governor. … Turned out Newsom made up her mind for her when, without the two talking about it, he let her know through intermediaries that he was taking himself out of the Senate race, saying he still had “unfinished work” in California.”
— “The Bay Area’s Black populace is hesitant to trust a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s because of Trump,” by the SF Chronicle’s Justin Phillips: “Black people, well before he was sworn into office, were aware of Trump’s anti-Black views. So, it makes sense Black people would distrust the idea of a vaccine while he’s in office, because for years, he has shown no care for my community’s well-being.”
— “Sacramento County to offer free flu shots. Why it’s a practice run for a COVID-19 vaccine,” by the Sac Bee’s Tony Bizjak and Cathie Anderson.
WHAT’S NEXT? — “After gig companies’ Prop. 22 win, labor groups vow challenges,” by CalMatters’ Lauren Hepler: They’re “warning that the measure cements gig workers as a ‘second class’ of workers and mulling limited options to challenge it.”
IN SF — “S.F. voters passed new taxes. Will that hurt or help as city recovers from pandemic?” by the SF Chronicle’s Trisha Thadani: “San Francisco voters are generally friendly toward new taxes — particularly when they are levied on big businesses — and Tuesday’s election revealed how the current recession failed to change that. The victories were welcome at City Hall, which recently struggled to close a $1.5 billion deficit and is bracing for even more pain.”
IN SAN DIEGO — “Democratic county supervisors, with new majority, plan to bring change to San Diego region,” by the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Charles T. Clark: “In interviews Wednesday, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, currently the lone Democrat on the board, and Vargas said they feel excited and emboldened to take the board in a different direction and tackle some of the region’s greatest challenges using a more progressive lens.”
INSURANCE FIREFIGHT — “California insurance chief prevents policy cancellations in wildfire areas,” by POLITICO’s Debra Kahn.
— “Newsom seeks savings from permanent state telework,” by the Sac Bee’s Wes Venteicher: “The letter makes repeated reference to telework, saying departments may find savings by reducing lease space, trimming travel spending and using telework to cut costs such as printing, postage, utilities and transit subsidies.”
POLITICO’S CALIFORNIA BALLOT TRACKER: No state does ballot initiatives quite like California, and interest groups have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to sway voters. It’s all here in POLITICO’s guide to California’s 2020 ballot initiatives.
YIKES — “Facebook Has A Metric For ‘Violence And Incitement Trends.’ It’s Rising,” by BuzzFeed’s Ryan Mac and Craig Silverman: The number “indicates that the company’s own internal metrics have found Facebook posts are contributing to an unstable situation around the counting of ballots in the US presidential election as President Donald Trump and his supporters attempt to inject unfounded doubts into the process.”
— “Tech’s misinformation fight: Winning the battle, not the war,” by Axios’ Ashley Gold and Kyle Daly: “Dedicated spreaders of misinformation are finding ways around platforms’ rules. Sometimes enforcement actions themselves provide fresh fuel for otherwise baseless conspiracy theories that the media, Big Tech and Democrats are colluding to steal the election from President Trump.”
— “Anonymous Trump Critic And Former DHS Staffer Miles Taylor Has Left Google,” by BuzzFeed’s Hamed Aleazis and Ryan Mac.
— “‘Don’t Panic. Buckle In’: Stacey Abrams Doc Filmmakers on Voter Suppression and Homestretch Impact,” by the Hollywood Reporter’s Rebecca Keegan: “’All In’ co-directors Lisa Cortés and Liz Garbus spent 18 months immersed in the issues of a fragile democracy—and election night trying to channel Abrams’ calming message.”
— “Lionsgate lays off 15% of film staff as Hollywood suffers from the pandemic,” by the LA Times’ Ryan Faughnder.
— “Plea deal in California officer killing that fed Trump fight,” by the AP’s Don Thompson.
— “Attendance at SeaWorld parks plunges more than 80 percent because of COVID restrictions,” by the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Lori Weisberg.
— “Wet weather should clear the air in parts of California plagued by smoke since August,” by the LA Times’ Paul Duginski
— “S.F. City Hall wrong made right: Eye-catching monument to Maya Angelou to be installed after all,” by the SF Chronicle’s Heather Knight.
— “Man Accused of Driving Truck Into ‘Black Lives Matter’ Crowd Granted Release on $10M Bond,” via Bay City News.
ON THE SILVER SCREEN — Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, who was reelected in a landslide in California’s 13th Congressional District, is the subject of a new feature-length documentary, “Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me.” The film, by Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Abby Ginzberg, will be screened virtually at the DOC NYC Film Festival from Nov. 11-19. Watch the trailer. Tickets here.
Jason Kinney is the big 5-0 … Marlon Bateman is 32 …
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