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December 14, 2016


Part of the problem is that we only have two truly viable national parties in the US, and since those are the ones everyone thinks of when it comes to state level and local politics, with exceptions here and there.

If there were more national parties then perhaps California contests could come down to contests between the ConservaDems and LiberalDems parties, each of whom hold X House and Senate seats in Congress. But not the way it works.

That the CA GOP decided to write off what is now the largest ethnic group in California with the Pete Wilson insanity from 1991-99 is their own damn fault.

That the GOP is now explicitly doing the same at the national level is a way of putting lipstick on the Trump pig.

Also, it just occurred to me that I cannot for the life of me remember what Gray Davis did that caused his recall in 2003. Maybe it was nothing much and that's why.

CA statewide voter registration has Democrats at 45% of registered voters, Republicans at 26% of registered voters and No Party Preference at 24%. That 24% of unaffiliated voters spreads its votes around quite a bit.

For the 2016 CA ballot initiatives, the voters supported mutlilingual education, school bonds, recreational marijuana legalization, extending the tax on the top 1% to benefit education and health care, background checks for ammunition, reduced sentencing for non-violent criminals, and a ban on single-use plastic bags, but they opposed eliminating the death penalty and voted to speed up death penalty proceedings.

In 2008 the state as a whole narrowly rejected SSM in a ballot initiative that was overturned on constitutional grounds.

Those results aren't indicative of liberalism; they're indicative of multiculturalism.

California is not super liberal, but it leans heavily enough towards the urban areas to make education and infrastructure a tax priority. The bleeding that the Republicans have done at the state level comes largely as a result of them opposing tax increases for health, education, and infrastructure. Much of that 24% of unaffiliated voters chose tax increases over austerity measures that would have continued to hurt the CA education system. And with diversity on the rise the CA Republicans are having to put away their dog whistles -- especially in Orange County and San Diego.

Those are all moderate issues.

Davis had signed bills giving energy companies high, and rising, prices for years to come. This when people were seeing their electricity bills triple.

In short, he was as pro-business as Trump looks likely to be. Democrat or not, it didn't go down well.

Note also that, even though it was a pro-business action that brought him down, it was the interior counties (i.e. the Republican core) which brought him down.

Was that when out of state electricity traders were running amok?

Gray Davis's most basic problem was that even his allies disliked him. He was a non-descript weasel, who looked out only for Gray Davis. All those years in Sacramento, and no friends in Sacramento, or anywhere else in California.

So when he came under attack, the defense from his own party was, shall we say, muted.

Words like "moderates" and "ideologues" are loaded terms. On that last one, people can be close minded and irrational no matter where they fall in the political spectrum.

But the main point seems correct. Back in those days, long ago, around late October, when it seemed like it was the Republicans who were self destructing, it also seemed reasonable to assume the future of the Democrats was in expanding to include more suburban Republican types. It might still be that way in a few years. Apparently that's how it is in California.

I posted this two days ago in a mostly-dead thread to no comment (despite a subsequent upsurge of discussion), but 1) it seems more on-topic here, and 2) I was never one to take a hint about something being uninteresting. It's specifically apropos in terms of Donald's comment above about Democrat demographics and inspirational demographics.


From hilzoy's twitter feed, headed:

Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda: Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen

Looks like (I haven't finished it yet) it could be an invaluable guide to learning the lessons of how the Tea Party had such disproportionate success in applying pressure, and achieving some of what they wanted despite such small numbers, and then applying them for different ends.

Agree with you, Donald, that "moderate" is a loaded term. My use of the term here is mostly intended to highlight that, despite what Marty seems to believe, the composite will of the CA electorate is not an overwhelmingly liberal will. This is especially apparent when you look at the purpling districts of Orange County and San Diego County. These counties have an interesting mix of immigrant neighborhoods, military personnel, and high-tech jobs alongside the long-time California Latin@ communities (which are, of course, ethnic neighborhoods, but are not immigrant communities).

Dennis Issa nearly lost his seat this time around to a Democratic challenger who was a veteran. Irvine went blue largely because a significant portion of the usually conservative electorate her is Persian. Good luck motivating those voters to rally behind the usual progressive causes, but they will support multilingual education and will fiercely oppose anti-immigrant populism and can be convinced to support tax increases if those taxes go towards better public education because the community supports the aspirational notions of higher education.

Make that Darrell Issa.

Viper is armed!

Wow, that's a really valuable explanation of how Congressional offices work. Thanks!

If that's for me, wj, you're more than welcome. I never know whether to post stuff from hilzoy's feed, because for all I know all ObWi hands also check it most days, but on the offchance, when it's something this significant, I risk annoying repetition.

Yes, that document shows why progressives need to organize at the local level and quit looking to the executive and SC to fix everything.

50 states. Local politics. Bottom-up.

GftNC, yup, it was for you. I don't know about others, but hilzoy isn't on my (overfull) list of places to check. So I appreciate the references when there is something relevant there.

Not just why they need to organise, but exactly how to organise, by people who were in the trenches and saw it done.

I was born out of the loop, and have only gang further agley since then.

What is hilzoy's feed?

Her twitter feed:


FWIW russell, I'm not on Facebook, nor on Twitter, but some people are interesting enough that I check their feeds most days. Hilzoy is certainly in that category....

Fallows posts an interesting speech by California's Jerry Brown "we'll launch our own damn satellites" (to monitor climate).

What amused me most was this, though:
Again, I find Perry more appealing as a person than some of the other characters now coming onto the national stage. But it is somehow an appropriate metaphor of our era that, if he is nominated and confirmed, this could be the sequence of U.S. Secretaries of Energy:

2009-2013, Steven Chu, winner of the Nobel prize in physics, professor of physics at UC Berkeley, director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab;
2013-2017, Ernest Moniz, professor of nuclear physics at MIT, former under secretary of Energy;
2017- , Rick Perry, the man who couldn’t remember the department’s name...

Amusing, perhaps. But also sort of a symbol for the whole Trump administration so far.

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