Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Democracy" in CA is Destroying Democracy in CA

I just went to vote in the “primary” here in California and it was an even more frustrating and absurd process than it has ever been here in California and, as I was muttering angrily to myself about it, I decided I should write an post about it. Perhaps I'll turn this into an article but it is really more of a book idea as there is so much here to write about but I can’t write a book right now.

The fact is that “democracy” in California has destroyed democracy in California. The “democracy” in airquotes refers basically to all the ways in which the Progressive impulse in California starting with the Progressive era but continuing all the way to today has made it utterly impossible for citizens to reasonably have their desires expressed much less felt in government.

Today’s election had several new ways in which this is brought to my doorstep. For starters, my voting precinct has changed among at least 3 different locations every time I vote. Sometimes it is in the local Radisson. Sometimes it is at a local nursing home. Sometimes it is at the firehouse. I have learned to check my voter guide every time and I did that this morning but ended up driving to the wrong place because I couldn’t remember where the particular firehouse was. Then I called home for help and Jennie was able to recall so I drove over there. This added much frustration and time to my effort to vote.

The substance of voting today had lots of new awful Progressive wrinkles too. You probably know that today is the first election with California’s new non-partisan primary system. All candidates from every party are listed on one ballot and the top two move on to the general election in November. Of course this is terrible in so many ways. Voter turnout today will be VERY low. 15% - 20% is my guess but maybe I’m too pessimistic. Whatever it is, it is not very reflective of the citizenry or even a general election voter pool. My congressional district happens to be one of the hottest races in the country with two popular Democrats facing off against one other (Sherman vs. Berman) and this is happening, of course, because of another Progressive-inspired absurdity – the Citizens Redistricting Commission. Republicans who pushed for this are now suing because the commission drew lines that favor Democrats even more than the Democratic-controlled state legislature ;). What fun! Of course, the non-partisan primary rules do not apply to the presidential primary occurring today … which of course doesn’t matter. But the fact that one part of one’s ballot contains only Democrats and another part has people from all parties just makes this all the more confusing.

Move down the ballot and you get to the non-partisan judicial elections. There are no party labels for these candidates and there are more races for judicial officers than the rest of the ballot combined. Voters, even savvy political scientists like me, have NO idea who they are voting for or what they stand for. Finally, at the end of the ballot you get to the initiatives. There were 4 on the ballot today which is a fairly low number compared to recent elections. My default position is to vote no on all propositions because I object to the whole idea of ballot propositions. And yet I voted yes on all 4 as 3 of them were efforts to raise taxes (you effectively can’t do that in the legislature anymore because of the absurdity of the 2/3rds rule for raising taxes) and the fourth was an effort to provide a tiny bit more flexibility in the term limits rule. One of the initiatives proposed a new $1/pack tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research. The last I heard opponents (read: the tobacco industry) had outspent proponents by a 3 to 1 margin. Not surprisingly, polls have gone from strong support for the idea to a very close race.

This is what the Progressive impulse has made of democracy in California. It is arguably the most dysfunctional state in the nation and I can assure you it is not for lack of governing talent or financial resources. We've surely got more of those than any state. The electoral and governing institutions of California have been utterly destroyed by the Progressive impulse that shows no signs of abating.

End of rant.

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