Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Did Socialist Label Make a Difference for These Fresno Candidates?
gvw_nancy_price
By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 4 years ago on
November 4, 2020

Share

The Fresno chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America endorsed only three candidates for election Tuesday, focusing on the Fresno and Central unified school boards and State Center Community College District trustee races.

Two of the candidates finished last in their races, and the third came in second in a four-person race, according to Tuesday’s preliminary vote totals.

Did the socialist label turn off voters? Probably not, says Fresno State political science professor Tom Holyoke and Dary Rezvani, a DSA Fresno member who ran against incumbent John Leal and challenger Danielle Parra for the State Center Trustee Area 3 seat.

The other two DSA-endorsed candidates were David Paredes, who helped establish the chapter and who came in second behind incumbent Carol Mills in the Fresno Unified Trustee Area 5 race, and Stacy Williams, who finished last in a field of four candidates for the Central Unified Trustee Area 6 open seat.

Paredes did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

“Being tagged as a Democratic Socialist, at least in this part of California, is probably not a great benefit.” — Fresno State political science professor Tom Holyoke

Were Most Voters Even Aware?

Holyoke and Rezvani told GV Wire℠ on Wednesday that since the races were nonpartisan and ballots did not reflect political affiliations, most voters would have been unaware of the connection.

“In no way, shape, or form,” Rezvani said. “I think if you were to ask the 30,000-plus people that voted in this election, if they knew that I was endorsed by DSA or that I was the DSA member, I would probably say less than a thousand people would tie that together.”

Holyoke said that each race presented its own unique challenges, and having a socialist endorsement was not among them.

In the Fresno Unified race, Paredes was up against a well-known and longtime incumbent in Carol Mills, he said.

Meanwhile, the Central Unified race pitted Williams and two other liberal candidates against a candidate identified as more conservative, Holyoke said.

“The votes are going to get split, and that allows a person affiliated with the other party to slip in,” he said.

Emily Cameron, who called GV Wire℠ on behalf of Williams, said the endorsement by the DSA was not detrimental to Williams’ campaign.

“That has been such a great resource, and a lot of people have seen that and responded positively,” Cameron said. “We never had any issue with that.”

Older Voters Remember Iron Curtain

The progressive messaging of DSA members — universal health care, for example — might be welcomed by some of the Valley’s more conservative and older voters, Holyoke said. But not if they hear it called socialist, he said.

“New Democratic Socialism has been sort of cast by President Trump and others, more locally, like Congressman Devin Nunes, as kind of a genuine kind of threat, and throwing out the word socialism there and socialism generally has a negative connotation in the minds of most voters,” Holyoke said. “And while some of these candidates are trying to embrace the term and sort of change public thinking on what the term means, I don’t think that’s really caught on yet.

“Being tagged as a Democratic Socialist, at least in this part of California, is probably not a great benefit.”

Focus on Improving Messaging

Rezvani said he agrees completely that the goals of improving the community can get lost in the messaging, so candidates and their parties need to do a better job communicating to voters.

“I really don’t care what people call themselves, I just want the city that we live in to be better. And so, whatever they want to call themselves, if they’re going to bring an agenda that makes everyone else’s lives better in Fresno County, then I’m all for that,” he said. “I guess it’s just on us as candidates and really, as the Democratic Party that I hope to continue to work with, just to message these things better.

“That’s a complex game, especially when  you are trying to change stuff because not everyone’s life is necessarily that bad and change can scare people. So it’s a balancing act.”

DON'T MISS

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

DON'T MISS

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

DON'T MISS

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

DON'T MISS

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

DON'T MISS

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

DON'T MISS

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

DON'T MISS

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

DON'T MISS

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

DON'T MISS

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

DON'T MISS

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

UP NEXT

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

UP NEXT

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

UP NEXT

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

UP NEXT

Fresno County Fruit Trail: Rewards You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

UP NEXT

Rising Stars Tigirlily Gold Wows the Crowd at 93.7 KISS Country Concert

UP NEXT

Plan Your Weekend With This Fresno Memorial Day Events List

UP NEXT

Snow is the Resilient Maltipoo Who Is Ready for Her Forever Home

UP NEXT

Dolores Huerta, Mayors Dyer and Ashbeck Oppose Tax Protection Measure. What Does it Do?

UP NEXT

Second Flag Carried by Jan. 6 Rioters Displayed Outside House Owned by Justice Alito, Report Says

UP NEXT

Fresno Man Charged with Throwing Meth into Mendota Prison Yard

Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

1 day ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

1 day ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

1 day ago

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

2 days ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

2 days ago

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

2 days ago

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

2 days ago

Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Teaching Bomb-Making to Person Targeting Authorities

2 days ago

UCLA Police Arrest Young Man for Alleged Felony Assault in Attack on Pro-Palestinian Encampment

2 days ago

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

2 days ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

What’s the cost of democracy in California? Sameea Kamal CalMatters If we calculate that based just on the pages informing the state’s 22...

7 hours ago

7 hours ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

7 hours ago

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

7 hours ago

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

1 day ago

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

1 day ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

1 day ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

2 days ago

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

2 days ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend