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November 12, 2012 3:37 PM Jerry Brown To Replace California GOP?

By Ed Kilgore

An underappreciated election night story (at least nationally) was a historic set of victories achieved by California Democrats. An initiative backed by nearly all Democrats raising taxes passed by a 54-46 margin, despite falling below 50% in pre-election polls. Democrats knocked off two Republican incumbent Members of Congress, and their candidates lead in two more races against incumbents that haven’t been officially certified.

And most amazingly, Democrats achieved a super-majority in both Houses of the legislature.

This last accomplishment may seem somewhat moot since the tax-increase-for-education that Republicans were able to block in the legislature (thanks to the famous two-thirds requirement for tax increases imposed by Proposition 13 in 1978) was imposed directly by voters. But the impact on a Republican Party that essentially existed to use its veto power over taxes to remain relevant in state politics could be incalculable. Here’s veteran reporter George Skelton of the L.A. Times on this subject:

Those days of GOP bargaining leverage are history.
And when business interests and conservatives complain about liberal domination of the Legislature and labor buying votes, they should blame Republicans. They’re supposed to provide the opposition. But they’ve allowed themselves to become so weak they’re helpless.

Skelton suggests that business interests in California will now align themselves closely with Gov. Jerry Brown to blunt the power of labor and other progressive groups.

And there’s no hope on the horizon for Republicans:

It’s practically impossible to envision Californians electing a Republican governor in the future, certainly not in the next gubernatorial election, in 2014. Talk to GOP pros and none can suggest a realistic, credible challenger to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.
Especially after voters accepted his tax increase, Brown looks like a shoo-in for reelection, assuming he runs. And it’s hard to imagine this 74-year-old career pol not running. His life is politics and governing.

As elsewhere, though perhaps even more so, demographics are undercutting future GOP prospects in the state:

Latinos’ portion of the California electorate increased to 22% last week, up from 18% in 2008, according to an Associated Press exit poll. The percentage of voters under 30 rose to 27%, up from 20%….
The Republican slice of registered voters in California slipped below 30%. Only eight years ago it was nearly 35%. Democrats are 44%.

On top of everything else, the lack of budget leverage (the mother’s milk of “moderate” Republicans) and the reduction of the California GOP to a conservative-white-voter rump in a majority-minority state will probably intensify the Right’s hold on the party, further eroding its relevance.

Pretty amazing for the state that gave us Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenneger.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Ronald on November 12, 2012 3:54 PM:

    The Republicans are a party bereft of ideas. Reading all I have over the last week since the election from the Right side, I can't imagine them radically changing up their message.
    The one overriding thing I keep reading is that the message is good, it was the delivery that was wrong.
    Unless they wake up, Texas will go the way of California very very soon. Florida is almost there now- and if it wasn't for the huge population of 'snowbirds' down there, Flordia would be blue already.

  • Dr Lemming on November 12, 2012 4:16 PM:

    I wouldn't make too much of the Democrats' current situation in California. What goes up will invariably come down, both due to Democratic mistakes as well as the usual contingencies of governing. Remember Gray Davis's glorious election? And how artfully the Republicans used a series of crises to recall him?

    The Dems need to prioritize what systemic changes they need to push through and get it done. LBJ was right -- one's moment can pass all too quickly.

  • c u n d gulag on November 12, 2012 4:19 PM:

    It looks like after decades of corporate sycophancy, all the Republican Party will have to show for it, is "Planned obsolescence."

    California, like the nation, is browner, younger, more female, and gayer, now, and that’s only going to keep going in that direction.

    In 2 years, more of the Republican base of ancient rage and hate junkies will be dead.

    And in 4 years, still more of them will be dead and buried.

    They ain’t birthin’ angry white men fast enough to keep the relative stability that Scott’s writing about for much longer.
    And even though we keep telling Conservatives that they should just ‘Go F*CK Yourselves!”, even THAT won’t change things much if they tried it.

    Having said all of that, I never doubt the ability of the Democratic Party to snatch defeat from the jaws of eventual imminent victory.


  • Helen Bedd on November 12, 2012 4:22 PM:

    The other day, the LA Times had a piece on how an influx of Hispanics is turning the once solidly Republican "Inland Empire" blue....almost unthinkable just a decare ago.

  • DJ on November 12, 2012 4:33 PM:

    Pete Wilson's support of Prop. 187 set the table for the doom of the California Republican Party; you might not want to list him in that triumvirate.

  • JM917 on November 12, 2012 4:39 PM:

    "Pretty amazing for the state that gave us Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenneger."

    And Richard Nixon...and Earl Warren.

  • jheartney on November 12, 2012 4:43 PM:

    This is a preview of what'll be happening to the country as a whole in the next decade or two. Once Texas goes blue, it'll be clear to all but the most blinkered business interests that no Republican can be elected president for the forseeable future, and so it's pointless to keep funding feckless attacks on the Dems.

    Now, the congressional Dem majority vote overall in the country may not have immediate significance, but it's a terrible sign for the future of the GOP. They can hold back the blue tide for a while with partisan-drawn districts, but those will eventually be breached as well.

    The trick for drawing partisan electoral maps is to spread a bare minority of your opponent's voters into the safe districts you are drawing for yourself, while packing big numbers of them into a few safe districts for your opponent. This can be problematic if the numbers of opposing voters grows unexpectedly; your "safe" districts can suddenly be overflowing with opposing voters, and you can end up losing multiple "safe" districts all at once.

  • gregor on November 12, 2012 4:49 PM:

    You forgot another contribution from a bit north of San Diego here: the Despicable Mr. Daryl Issa.

  • dweb on November 12, 2012 7:15 PM:

    It finally came to this...Democratic full control of both houses despite the GOP's past holding on via super majority requirements....a GOP position so venal that it was even used to block a proposed Brown referendum on whether or not to increase taxes to solve the budget deficit.

    That was two years back but that idea came back with a ballot initiative this election and the Dems clearly won, despite an attempted last minute infusion of $11 million in Koch-backed Super PAC funding against the measure, fed to the state via a two-step jump through two other PACs to try and conceal its parentage. Fortunately, sunshine laws and the courts made the backers reveal themselves and probably helped swing the vote in favor of passage.

    The GOP blocked the earlier referendum and the reason was clearly because they were deathly afraid that if the vote was allowed to happen, they would lose. If that happened, it would blow a hole in their long-standing claim that the voters were overwhelmingly opposed to ANY tax increases and that kind of evidence could undercut them nationwide.

    This time around, the voter proved their fears were valid. Hasta La Vista CA Republicans. May you stay gone for decades to come.

  • John R on November 12, 2012 8:47 PM:

    And don't forget riySum ExamJerry's Dad, Pat Brown!

    Pretty amazing for the state that gave us Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenneger."

    And Richard Nixon...and Earl Warren.

  • jjm on November 13, 2012 1:14 AM:

    Jerry is very smart; the only mistake he ever made as governor was to have a budget surplus, leading Gann-Jarvis to go for Prop. 13, which made new taxation all but illegal. I doubt Jerry will make that mistake again. (Same as Clinton's; if there's a big pile of money, the GOP vultures will swoop in to make sure it gets spent and overspent on them and their friends.)

    Pat Brown was brilliant, but Jerry was far sighted. CA energy use is on a par with Europe, i.e., low, because he saw even in the 70s that energy conservation and alternative energy were crucial to everyone's future.

    GO, JERRY!

  • HenryW on November 13, 2012 1:19 AM:

    If present trends continue, in 20 years the Republicans will be holding on to Modoc and Placer counties. Hell, the Dems even carried Alpine county and its 200 or so voters.

    Of course, present trends rarely continue in a linear fashion. But the Republicans have so little to offer Californians that it's hard to see them actually functioning like a party under these circumstances.

  • superdestroyer on November 13, 2012 7:53 AM:

    The question is is going to happen to governance, politics, the economy, and the culture of the U.S. as the U.S. becomes a one party state. How high will taxes go? how big will the government get? What does it mean that the general election is moot? Will the Democrats push to get rid of initiative and referendum now that they have total control? Will the chaning demographics of California accelerate with the change in politics.

    As with all changes in politics, the question is who are the winner, who are the loser, and what are the long term impacts of the changes. What is amazing is how wonks and pundits are refusing to ask those questions.l

  • Grumpy on November 13, 2012 10:24 AM:

    Mellow out or you will pay!

  • meady on November 13, 2012 1:39 PM:

    "Don't count your chickens..." While I do think that the GOP is bereft of ideas that benefit anyone but members of their party, I cannot laud the onslaught of one-party rule. I actually think, that too much success and too big a tent will ultimately splinter the Democratic Party. Some other notes: It never occurred to me that Jerry Brown was running again. The guy is 74 years old. We just re-elcted Diane Feinstein to Senate, she's 79 years old. The leadership in the Democratic Party in California is quite old. Who are the younger politicians with statewide recognition: Gavin Newsome, Kamula Harris, Cruz Bustamante, Darryl Steinberg? The bench is not as deep as it needs to be for long term sustainability. Basically, the Democratic Party has some work to do here as well, or this celebration of the demise of the GOP will be short lived.

  • MelanieN on November 13, 2012 11:47 PM:

    It's been a tough situation for California moderates like me, because the shrinking Republican base kept nominating far-far-right candidates and loony tunes; it's been decades since I saw a Republican name on the ballot that I could consider voting for. In effect I have had no choice but to vote for the winner of the Democratic primary. And I don't like the idea of one-party rule; I want to have choices. But we may have a new playing field now. Parties have become almost irrelevant here due to California's new primary system, where the top two vote getters run off against each other irrespective of party. This eliminates the stranglehold that the far right had on the nominating process, and offers the possibility of electing moderate Republicans, genuine independents, and third-party candidates. I doubt if the Democrats will keep their stranglehold on the legislature once the smart, ambitious pols realize they don't have to have a D after their name to get elected.

  • Dave Francis on November 15, 2012 10:05 PM:

    IS CALIFORNIA TAXPAYERS COMMITTED TO SUBSIDIZE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FOREVER?

    BEFORE ANY PASSAGE OF IMMIGRATION REFORM FINDS ITS WAY THROUGH THE CONGRESS, TWO BILLS ARE A NECESSITY TO EVENTUALLY STOP THE INGRESS OF ANY MORE FLOWS OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. 1. THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT CONTAINING MANDATORY E-VERIFY AND HALT ILLEGAL ALIENS TAKING JOBS AND HOLDING EMPLOYERS ACCOUNTABLE. 2. A SIMPLE AMENDMENT TO END THE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP BILL TO STEM THE INFLOW OF SMUGGLED BABIES EITHER UNBORN OR AS AN INFANT, INTO THE UNITED STATES TO GAIN INTENTIONAL RIGHTS TO BE A CITIZEN AND A MASSIVE FINANCIAL BURDENING THE U.S. TAXPAYER. 3. THE REINTRODUCTION OF FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH 2006 SECURE FENCE ACT IN ITS ENTIRETY. THIS IS A DOUBLE PARALLEL FENCE STRETCHING ALONG THE BORDER OF THE U.S STATES AND ITS SOUTHERN NEIGHBOR. AMERICA MUST REDUCE SANCTUARY CITIES, CHAIN MIGRATION AND THE ILLEGAL ALIEN INVASION. 4. A GOVERNMENT ISSUED PICTURE ID CARD, WHICH CONTAINS INFORMATION TO USE IN PROVING WHO YOU ARE?

    MULTIBLE LIES COMING FROM THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY ASSEMBLY

    Stephen Frank Stated on 11/14/2012 on California deficits as follows at http://capoliticalnews.com/


    In the past two months, the cash deficit of the State has gone from $22.3 billion to $24.7 billion—just for the first four months of the year.
    Plus the State OWES $12.5 billion to K-12 education It owes $15 billion stolen from Trust Funds to cover cash deficit
    It owes $10 billion BORROWED to cover the rest of the cash deficit.
    The State owes the Feds $10 billion for the loan to the unemployment insurance fund—so California can continue to send out unemployment checks.
    That is a total of $71.5 billion—and there is more. Yet, the State claims “California faces a $1.9 billion deficit through June 2014, significantly smaller than in recent years after voters passed two tax initiatives last week, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said last Wednesday”
    They claim we will have this small deficit, instead of $71 billion because of the $9 billion Prop. 30 is going to bring in, in new revenues! Any wonder our kids are illiterate—this is the math taught in our schools. Government lies—and tries to make you feel good about being insolvent.
    Seems like marijuana must be legal in government offices, he has studied.


    California has the highest population of illegal aliens who have settled there. Thousands of children of illegal alien parents gaining automatic citizenship and the cost is thrown at the taxpayers. Health care and other free handouts that are the right of citizens is being disbursed to anybody who sneaks across the border or steps off a plane. None of the 50 states is exempt from this silent attack on our country or the pilfering of their general treasuries. Now the Democrats have their majority public entitlements will be pouring out across the state to all the “Freeloader voters” the spongers and the people who have no intention of finding a job.