Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

If California were a country

If California were a country, the Democrats would be said to have scored a huge victory yesterday.

First, Jerry Brown was elected governor. Second, Barbara Boxer was reelected.

Third and probably at least as important as the other two, was that Proposition 25 passed. Prop 25 removed the requirement of a 2/3 majority to pass a budget and returned the rule to simultaneous majorities in both houses of the state legislature combined with the governor's signature. This means that the sizable Democratic majorities in the state legislature will be able (finally) to pass the kind of budget that the majority of Californian's clearly want. Second, it means that governor of California is no longer a weak figure head. Under the old system, the same vote was needed to pass a budget as was needed to override a veto. This meant that the governor was largely shut out of the legislative process especially if the governor in question was unable to exert any influence among the blocking minority. Governor elect Brown (and his successors) will be much more powerful than either Schwarzenegger or Gray Davis. This is a good thing in my opinion.

This new budget arrangement means that when one party controls both houses and the governorship, they will actually be able to govern. This also means that even when there is divided government (different parties controlling different houses of the legislature or the governorship), that the governor become a much more important player than had been the case before. What's more, in the event that one has one party controlling both houses of the legislature and a different party controlling the governorship, the new rules makes obstructionism a much more high profile strategy.

Consider the situation that California faced during Schwarzenegger's years in Sacramento. The Democrats controlled both houses of the legislature but not by the required 2/3. Schwarzenegger might have been inclined to compromise with them but he was not the reason compromise was so difficult. Rather it was radical conservative legislators, from districts far from typical for California, that held things up. The result was a deadlock that was imposed (repeatedly) by one party on the entire state under circumstances where the political costs one might expect to result from such behavior were either shared out or not imposed at all because of the narrowness of the constituencies of the legislators in question. If California had had the new budget rule in place back then however, the real fight over the budget would have been between Governor Schwarzenegger and the Democratic legislative majority. If Schwarzenegger had wanted to be as intransigent as the Republicans in the legislature had been, he would have had to do so under a spot light. He would have had to take center stage in the state and make his case for a veto. That's much harder to do because he would have had to appeal to a much broader cross section of the electorate than any one legislator would. And, as governor, he would get a lot more media attention for what ever actions he chose to take. I suspect that it would have made a Republican governor like Schwarzenegger much more reluctant to adopt the kind of scorched Earth approach so favored by Republicans in the California state legislature.

This won't solve California's problems. But it does at least make a solution possible. So let the healing begin California!


celion said...

How much (if any) of a shift was there in the makeup of the state legislature?

Raised By Republicans said...

I just got an email from LTG that the Democrats actually enlarged their majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

uswest said...

Prop 27 also failed while prop 2o passed. So we get to keep a citizen's commission for re-districting. It will be interesting to see if this really works as intended.

Unfortunately prop 26 passed, requiring super majorities to pass certain fee hikes for state and local governments. It was backed by big business and may make parts of prop 23 hard to enforce.

So it seems that CA voters want a state budget, but not any additional revenue streams that might be generated through pot legalization of increased fees and fines.

Raised By Republicans said...

We've had discussions about redistricting on this blog before. So I won't get into too much detail. But in a country where most "Red" states are going to be adding districts through processes dominated by their local majority, having California use a bi-partisan mechanism is tantamount to unilateral disarmament by the Democrats. To be perfectly ruthless about it, the Democrats should have dominated the process in California and redrawn district maps to all but wipe out Republicans in the state.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The estimates are that the Dems increased in the assembly from 50 to 52 of 80 (2 shy of a 2/3 majority) and from 25 to 26 of 40 in the Senate, 1 shy of a 1/2 majority.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I understand RBR's comment about unilateral disarmament, but I don't think the new commission will change all that much in terms of the partisan composition of the congressional delegation. The current configuration reflects a bipartisan trade to keep incuments safe rather than a democratic squash of republicans. So there may be changes, but the result - especially in a 2012 big turnout election - will probably be quite good for Dems. It will also may help defeat some of the worst GOP reps. All in all, I voted for the change. I'd like to see it spread nationwide, and it might.

Norma said...

Regardless of who won, it's falling into the ocean, and to be saved, the rest of us will be bailing them out.

Raised By Republicans said...


You are seriously misinformed about California, its problems and its relationship to the rest of the country. California's problems relate largely to a bizarre voting requirement of 2/3 majorities to pass a budget. That problem has been solved. As for who is bailing out whom, California is a net contributer to the Federal coffers (that is Californians pay more in federal taxes than the state gets back in federal spending). This is sharp contrast to most "red" states which receive more federal money than they contribute in taxes.

If anything, California is bailing out most of the South and Alaska.

USwest said...

I also hate to mention this, but if California falls into the ocean, it will take its food producing farmers with it. So unless wheat and corn growers are willing to re-plant the mid-west with fruit trees, nuts, and vegtables, you will be getting a lot more of your produce from Central America and Turkey.

It will take its entertainment industry, so I hope you like Ballywood movies. It will also take its high tech industry, along with Google, so no more Blog for Norma to post on.

Raised By Republicans said...

Not to mention that if California falls into the ocean the country will be badly unbalanced and probably tip over in the Atlantic, crushing Bermuda and the Bahamas.