Do you listen to The Daily?  The New York Times podcast Michael Barbaro hosts?

Too lazy to open my eyes in the morning, I’ll often say, “Alexa, play The Daily,” and up it comes.

Most are really good.

Friday’s — When Democratic Newcomers Challenge the Party Line — highlighted the drama being played out today in California, and that’s often played out elsewhere:  Should “the party” attempt to “clear the field” for the candidate it thinks has the best chance of winning?  Or is that an affront to the democratic process?

I recently heard from ultra-liberal friends who would normally fall into the latter camp; yet they were disgusted and angry at the situation in California, where so many good Democrats are running today they may split the vote and let two Republicans emerge as the general election candidates.  (California doesn’t have separate primaries; the two primary candidates who get the most votes, regardless of party, become the general election candidates.)  How could the party let this happen?  Somebody ought to do something!

In fact, someone has.  (To no avail.)  But to see this from the perspective of Mai Khanh Tran — one of the spectacular candidates it was done to — and to understand how she feels, and how tough this is every time it becomes an issue, listen to the podcast.

There are no bad guys in this story.  Yes, I wish Dr. Tran had dropped out.  But it’s very hard not to sympathize with her for staying in.  Yes, the party was right — in my view, and even, I guess, in the view of my ultra-liberal friends — to try to assure we flip this seat from red to blue.  If we should lose this seat today (i.e., if the top two vote-getters are Republicans), and then miss taking back the House by just one seat in November, then we’d have another Ralph Nader moment — the arc of the moral universe tragically, needlessly set back by someone who didn’t mean to.

Having inherited the happy gene, I don’t think it will happen.

But the podcast puts this all into very human terms.

It will be interesting to watch tonight’s returns.



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