Trump’s insults, Cruz’s crackers and Kasich’s dose of policy

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, the opinion-politics newsletter.

We begin by looking back at the fun and games in Burlingame, consider the rising fortunes of the California Republican Party, check out a revealing speech in Fresno, revisit UC Davis and consider a new theater for Sacramento.

At the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame, protesters forced Donald Trump to take a back entrance. On stage, Trump decried nomination rules that are stacked against him, insulted his party and his Republican challengers, and called for party unity, though he said he could win without it. He talked about his poll numbers, insulted Hillary Clinton and offered scant policy. Other than that, he was classy.

Ted Cruz prefers Delta smelt with cheese and crackers. Piling on, his “running mate” Carly Fiorina, who lost the U.S. Senate race to Barbara Boxer in 2010 by more than 1 million votes and lives in Virginia, derided environmentalists over the Delta.

All but ensuring he would get limited coverage, John Kasich spoke late Friday about the need to help people like the mentally ill woman he saw talking to herself or an imaginary person in San Francisco. He called for a compassionate fight against drug addiction, the need to help people with developmental disabilities, and his desire to adopt policies that help rather than harm single working moms’ ability to provide child care while they try to better themselves. In short, it became clear why he is running far behind Trump and Cruz-Fiorina.

The weekend’s most revealing speech occurred in Fresno, where Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, warned “our religious liberties will all go down the drain” if another “liberal” is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Take a number: $4.5 million

The California Republican Party had $4.5 million in the bank as of April 23, with $49,741 in unpaid bills. At a comparable time four years ago, the California GOP had $811,000 in the bank and $573,000 in debt. Clearly, Chairman Jim Brulte, who took over in 2013, is turning around the fortunes of his once and perhaps future Grand Old Party.

Our take

Editorial: Sacramento envisions a complete transformation of the Community Center Theater.

Editorial: If Linda P.B. Katehi is replaced, the next chancellor might be just as regionally engaged and better able to deliver. To that end, a little reassurance from UC President Janet Napolitano would go a long way.

Their take

The Olympian of Olympia, Wash., asks, was the Bernie Sanders campaign the birth of a movement or a one-off political campaign?

The Monterey Herald endorses Assemblyman Luis Alejo for county supervisor.

The Mercury News offers a real solution to the water crisis that would not involve killing the last of the Delta smelt.

Debra Saunders of The San Francisco Chronicle shudders at the notion of Trump.

Second takes

Foon Rhee: What’s so wrong about playing the woman’s card?

Dan Walters: California gets the full 2016 treatment from the GOP.

Dan Morain: Trump touts himself, not his party.

Andrew Malcolm: Can the Grand Old Party survive the 2016 election?

Tom Hayden: Democrats need power-sharing agreement to defeat Trump.

Capital Public Radio posted video of Trump’s backdoor entrance. Notice the helpful Secret Service agent adjusting Trump’s tie. The inestimable wretches at Calbuzz retraced Trump’s steps.

And finally ...

The sad passing of two friends, Julie Soderlund and Jim Herron Zamora, too soon. We look forward this week to focusing on the 11-person race to replace Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, and an endorsement interview with Attorney General Kamala Harris.