Through an accident of history, California has traditionally held one of the last primaries of the cycle, usually sometime in June. California is easily the largest state in the United States. Since the Democratic Party tends to be more diverse, California's status as a majority minority state also reflects the Democratic Party better. And yet, for decades, California's voting has been an afterthought, as the primary process is often decided by Iowa and New Hampshire months before California votes. Sadly, the last time that California played a roll in the primary process was in 1968, when Robert F Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles, shortly after winning the California primary.
In 2020, California decided to change this by moving the primary to early March, and to Super Tuesday. California would get to play an actual role in the primary process! Almost immediately, California showed its relevancy by breaking up Public Enemy. Chuck D wanted to hold a concert to support Bernie Sanders, a move that Flavor Flav objected to. Chuck D, after dozens of years of putting up with Flavor's sketchy and mercenary attitude, kicked him out of the group. So already, the ramifications started to ramify.
This was also the first real important primary I had ever voted in. California uses a jungle primary system for most offices, meaning that the top two candidates, regardless of party, make it on to the main ballot. However, for President, it still uses a party system. I was not aware of that, and had to ask for a Democratic ballot when I went to the polls. I was also registered as a by-mail voter, but had lost my ballot, so had to go the polling place to vote provisionally. So, in summary: voting as a provisional voter with no partisan preference but asking for a partisan ballot is somewhat like trying to get data on a moving Amtrak train with a Mexican cellphone.
So after all that process, what were the results? By the time California occurred, the race had more or less turned into a two person contest. As could be expected, the young, diverse and urban electorate in California supported Bernie Sanders, although not in overwhelming enough numbers to offset his other defeats
, earlier in the night. Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren got in the low teens, and both exited the race shortly afterwards.
For all the talk of vast social and political differences between electorates, Texas and California, two very different states, had two very similar results. It is a 34-27 split between Sanders and Biden, a mirror to the 35-30 split between Biden and Sanders in Texas. The gigantic differences in demographics and society end up shaking out to a few points difference, when the numbers are rolled. So while California did have a great effect that night, it wasn't quite big enough to change the overall course of the night, which put Joe Biden in the lead. And, last that I checked, Public Enemy was still broken up.