California gets held up as an example of how Democrats can run amok without Republicans having some sort of veto. Certainly it is true that California Republicans have made ourselves mostly irrelevant when it comes to contests for state-wide offices (both state offices and Senate seats). Currently, Democrats have a 2/3 majority in both houses of the state legislature. Meaning that they can pass any taxes they like, without reference to what Republicans might think.
But things are not as clear and obvious as they may seem from the outside. The current edition of my local newspaper includes an editorial, California Democrats' supermajority is not so super. It notes that the assertion that Democrats can do anything that they want assumes that Democrats all want the same things. And (at least in California) that's not the case.
California's Democrats can be divided into two groups. One is the kind of Democrats that Marty et al. apparently think of when they talk about "Democrats": staunchly liberal, labor union friendly, etc. The other is variously described as "moderate" or "business friendly". They look a lot like Republicans from the 1970s and even 1980s -- especially those denounced as RINOs by the ideologues.
California runs a "top-two" primary system. Which, in a number of cases, results in Democrat vs Democrat general election campaigns. The editorial notes: "... this year in six key Democrat vs. Democrat legislative races statewide, four that were won by the moderate candidate." It isn't a sure thing, of course -- our US Senate race was won by the less moderate candidate (although, in fairness, she is a
While "nature abhors a vacuum" is less than accurate in its original physics sense, it does seem to apply in politics. As our GOP went far right, there arose a vacuum in the center-right of the political spectrum. And the Democratic Party has expanded their tent to fill it; moderate and center-right Democrats started to run. And win.
Clearly Republicans could reverse course, and take back that part of the electorate. There is even some sign, as I have noted before, that this is starting to happen. But until it does, those moderately conservative folks still can elect legislators who agree with them, and so have a say in how the state is run.