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Xavier Hermosillo is the President of, a national Crisis Communications, Marketing, and Management firm he founded 23 years ago. He is a former political chief of staff, an award-winning reporter and photographer, and a former radio talk show host and TV commentator in Los Angeles. He has co-founded two publicly-traded companies where he served as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. He has also served as a Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission on police officer discipline cases, and holds degrees in Administration of Justice and Business and Communications. He can be reached at

The major election decisions have been made but three weeks later, there are still many unanswered questions.

We're approaching the one-month mark of analyzing Election 2004 and many of the pundits are suffering from analysis paralysis. How did the Republicans pull off such a national sweep, they ask. Dan Rather and Company are having nightmares. So many new people registered to vote, the turnout was fantastic, there were major campaigns to bring out the younger liberal vote, Hollywood celebs and musician busted their butts for John Kerry. But we see the results and the Democrats are NOT happy.

Although all of the election results haven’t even been certified yet, there is already a political war breaking out on several fronts, nationally and in some local races.

On the federal level, John Kerry is saying he’s going to run again in 2008. That’s got to be a thorn in Hillary Clinton’s side since few people would argue that she is not interested in winning that race. This will be one ugly race with those two.

The other race to watch is the San Diego Mayor’s free-for-all where the voters are fed up with deficit sending, uncontrolled growth, and major infrastructure problems. A new deal for water that was signed a year ago still has a way to go before residents see the effects in their taps and toilets. The city that NEVER wanted to be like Los Angeles is half way there.

Two longtime Republican officials have a feisty surfer chick on their hands and they’re not happy that Councilwoman Donna Frye could win the election as a write-in candidate. She could be the major spoiler in this election which apparently is being determined by absentee and provisional voters.

But let’s first look at what both John and Hillary need to examine before they develop a real sense of what to campaign about in 2008 if they are to have any chance of winning.

The big lesson of 2004, perhaps, is that the cultural divide is getting wider in the U.S. and the Democrats no longer know how to appeal to many voters in the South, Midwest and mountain states.

Despite all the attention paid to the red and blue states scenarios, the reality is they conceal as much as they reveal. There is no one explanation for this values divide. It's ridiculous to say, as some liberals have, that we are perpetually re-fighting the Scopes trial, with the metro forces of enlightenment and reason arrayed against the retro forces of dogma and reaction.

We agree with some of the president's cultural stances, disagree with others. But President Bush is not promoting an evisceration of the line dividing church and state. The Bush strategy, to the extent it was based on his religious beliefs, seemed heartfelt, not cynical. And it appealed not only to red-state diehards, but to members of demographic groups that tend to vote for Democrats.

President Bush received 45 percent of the Hispanic vote and that’s up about 10 percentage points from the last presidential election. In California, he got four per cent more of Latino votes than he did in 2002. Bush also received 26 percent of the Jewish vote, up about seven percentage points from 2000. He also received from 11 percent to 14 percent of the black vote (depending on who you believe), which is up from about nine percent in 2000.

The point here is that Democrats need to evaluate these trends rather than engage in the name-calling and demonization of red-state America. That may be enjoyable, soon after a bitter election loss, but it's destructive in so many ways.

The Democrats need to learn to respect traditional voters and not demonize them if they’re going to try and win them back. Fat chance of that. Old habits die hard and the Democrat Party is very close to facing political extinction if it doesn’t find a heart, a soul, and a true message that people can accept and embrace.

Example: Remember all the nasty television ads produced and paid for by Well, they apparently didn’t get their money’s worth because the voters didn’t buy the garbage these folks put out.

It is a very telling sign how out of touch the Democrats were with the mainstream and the fact is that only four out of 26 Democrat candidates endorsed by won election or re-election on November 2nd. The notion that Democrats need to embrace a "radical" candidate in order to win in '08 is very silly. The only ones to take over previously Republican Senate seats were Ken Salazar in Colorado and Barack Obama in Illinois. Salazar ran as a common-sense moderate while Obama received kudos from many conservatives for his convention speech.

It is very clear that voters were turned off by all the stupid name-calling led by Michael Moore and Gazillionaire George Soros pissed away a lot of money but thank God he has a constitutional right to do so. So much for campaign finance reform!

The end result was record amounts of expenditures by the so-called 527 groups, the independent expenditure committees.

If you’re one of those who couldn’t wait for the end of the election and all of the television advertising, take a look at the slow vote count in the nation's seventh-largest city, San Diego.

Running as a write-in candidate against incumbent mayor Dick Murphy and county supervisor Ron Roberts, council member Donna Frye has ridden a wave of voter discontent to the verge of victory.

The agonizingly slow count of write-in ballots may finally be decided in the courts. The city is supposed to swear in a mayor on December 6th, IF it has a winner by then. Although the race is nominally a nonpartisan one, Murphy and Roberts are both Republicans, while Frye is a Democrat.

But the mayoral election may hinge on the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters that challenges a decision by county election officials NOT to count write-in ballots on which voters wrote in a name but failed to also fill in an oval mark next to the name. The lawsuit contends there are thousands of such ballots and obviously, Frye would benefit from a favorable decision.

Frye, the 52-year-old community activist and wife of legendary surfer and surfboard builder Skip Frye, is an unconventional politician. She is a Democrat in a Republican city. In car-obsessed San Diego, she doesn't drive. Running against a Harvard-educated former judge (Murphy) and an architect (Roberts), Frye offers a resume that includes, a bachelor's degree in business administration, as well as work experience as a technical writer, dental office manager, hotel maid, short-order cook and gas station attendant. Her next job title could be Mayor.

Her push for more open government comes as a series of unhappy events have shaken City Hall: the financial crisis; the new city manager's announcement of his intent to resign seven months after taking the job; the indictment of three city councilmen for taking bribes from a strip-club owner; the disclosure that the city fire department was unequipped to fight devastating wildfires last year; a contentious stadium lease battle with the San Diego Chargers football team; and a sewer system that sometimes dumps pollution into the ocean.

Frye took advantage of the county's decision to use optical-scan ballots this election, which meant voters would use a pen no matter whom they voted for, making it easier for a write-in candidate. San Diego voters just approved a new, strong-mayor form of government, so whoever wins the election will get new powers, beginning in 2006. The old system had vested much of the executive authority in the city manager.

She entered the mayor's race this year after rejecting overtures from both Murphy and Roberts to get her endorsement. Despite efforts by friends of both Murphy and Roberts to have her write-in campaign success killed off in the courts, both a specially-appointed Superior Court judge and a federal judge have refused to void the write-in effort.

Here's the bottom line for me. While there is probably very little or no political agreement between my political philosophy and that of candidate Frye, I am rooting for her. Even though she’s not as polished as the other two establishment candidates, and she’s a little loopier than I would like, and her agenda is too far to the left of where I hang out, her gutsy view of life and her go-for-the-gold attitude is something I greatly admire. She challenged the traditional system and that is ALWAYS good. And besides, being born and raised in San Pedro, and living by the crashing ocean waves makes me a bit partial to surfer chicks.