Opinion

Our long national nightmare will end soon. Or will it?

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Taking stock

Rep. Xavier Becerra, stumping for Democrats here and across the country, stops short of predicting Democrats will take control of the House. But he says there’s a reasonable chance they could pick up three of 14 congressional seats Republicans cling to in California’s 53-seat delegation.

Five days before Election Day, Becerra told our editorial board that Republican incumbents Jeff Denham of Turlock, Steve Knight of Palmdale and Darrell Issa of Vista could get knocked off by Michael Eggman, Bryan Caforio and Douglas Applegate. And he’s not counting out Democrat Emilio Huerta defeating Republican David Valadao of Hanford in Kings County.

What if Republicans hold onto the House and follow through on threats to impeach Hillary Clinton, assuming she wins on Nov. 8?

“It’s not a good way to start,” Becerra said of the prospect. “The fringe is now the mainstream of the Republican Party. The tail is wagging the dog … and there’s no guarantee what happens on Nov. 9. The election will have ended, but the civil war will still be raging on within the Republican ranks.”

And what if Donald Trump wins?

“That’s not a question I was expecting,” he said, after a long pause. Democrats would be left to work to keep “rest of the country from panicking.”

Take a number: ?

Sen. Barbara Boxer released her tax returns when she first ran statewide, reflecting her income and that of her husband, a workers’ compensation lawyer. Sen. Dianne Feinstein released her returns when she first ran, reflecting income from her husband, a high-end investor. Attorney General Kamala Harris, seeking to replace Boxer, released her joint tax return, reflecting her state salary and that of her husband, a lawyer.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Harris’ opponent, has broken with that tradition by releasing her return showing she earned $156,674 and paid $36,306 in taxes last year, but not that of her husband. Sanchez’s husband, John Einwechter, is a lawyer who previously was registered as a Washington lobbyist. The Orange County Democrat says Einwechter has “four or five clients” and “they have nothing to do with anything.”

Perhaps that’s true. Or not. But it definitely says something about Sanchez’s openness.

Our take

Editorial: It’s beyond the pale to openly talk about impeaching Hillary Clinton before she’s even elected, as Donald Trump and some Republicans allies are doing in the final week of this ugly campaign. By their cowardly silence, GOP leaders in Congress are complicit in this anti-democratic outrage. And if they don’t speak out, Republicans running for Congress in California and across the country will be tarred as well.

Editorial: It was a great Cubs-Indians World Series – and we needed it. Imagine the possibilities were our politics to recall that example.

Ben Boychuk: Are Californians still capable of governing themselves? I’d wager the answer come Wednesday will be “No.” Which, come to think of it, is my default vote on any ballot initiative.

American Bar Association President Linda A. Klein: California can’t cut corners on death penalty.

Tre Borden: Who’s best to tell Sacramento’s success story?

Jane Braxton Little: Siskiyou voters can end county’s sweetheart deal for water bottlers.

Their take

Francis Ford Coppola, San Francisco Chronicle: A new restaurant with a story to tell, Werowocomoco, an American Indian restaurant will be guided by a council of advisers, choose charitable organizations, offer preferential employment opportunities and give foodstuffs acquisition preference to local tribes.

L.A. Times: Don’t make human trafficking our new war on drugs.

Fresno Bee: Republicans Frank Bigelow, Devon Mathis and Jim Patterson, and Democrats Adam Gray and Joaquin Arambula for Assembly.

William Kristol, Weekly Standard: To Pat Buchanan, we say the “niceties” of liberal democracy are preferable to the uglinesses of illiberal democracy. And to Donald Trump, we say, nicely: #NeverTrump.

Eliana Johnson, National Review: If Donald Trump loses on Tuesday, as most expect him to, what the reality could and should be in the future will become the subject of heated debate in Republican circles starting on Wednesday.

Syndicates take

Eugene Robinson: What’s at stake in the election.

Michael Gerson: A final appeal.

Charles Krauthammer: Final days, awful choice.

Trudy Rubin: The biggest threat to U.S. national security is Donald Trump.

Dana Milbank: Engrave my name on the list of those stiffed by Trump.

Nicholas Kristof: Five reasons to vote Trump, all terrible.

Gail Collins: Republicans, admit you’re voting for Hillary.

Mailbag

I’m just an old cop on a pension, and I have been touched by the horror and am steadfastly against the death penalty. It is time for the people of California get out of the killing business. – James Cost, retired chief of police, Folsom

Tweet of the day

“In @realDonaldTrump’s America, people are attacked and have their rights violated based on their faith, the color of their skin, or gender. Evan McMullin ‏@Evan_McMullin.

Deplorable

William Johnson, who made racist, homophobic robocalls attacking Evan McMullin: “I am sorry for the mean-spirited message and I humbly retract its contents. I sent the robocalls out because Utah is a strong family-values state and America and the West is gripped by an extreme and fatal malady: failure to marry and have children. ... I felt Evan McMullin typified that perfidious mentality.”

Payoff

Donald Trump holds lead in new Utah poll as Evan McMullin’s surge stalls.

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