California, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, may have delivered the most unexpected news in a night full of surprises:
California Democrats appear to have picked up a supermajority in both houses of the state Legislature Tuesday night, a surprise outcome that gives the party the ability to unilaterally raise taxes and leaves Republicans essentially irrelevant in Sacramento.If preliminary results hold, 2012 will mark the first time in 80 years that either political party in California has enjoyed supermajority control.
...But in the early 1990s California became a majority-minority state, and since then the state has inexorably turned bluer and bluer (aided by ham-handed Republican legislation on immigration that profoundly alienated Hispanics). Only 30 percent of Californians are now registered Republicans, the lowest mark since record-keeping began. In 2012, every single statewide office belonged to Democrats, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein ran essentially unopposed. Arch-conservative Republican Dan Lundgren was the state’s attorney general from 1991-1999. He lost his U.S. House of Representatives seat last night.
...Because the true significance of the new Democratic Californian supermajority is that, at least for a couple of years, it finally releases Californians from the shackles of Proposition 13, the state initiative passed in 1978 that so severely limits the legislature’s ability to raise taxes and govern effectively.
Proposition 13 was a watershed moment in American history, the first crumbling of the post New Deal consensus that supported an activist government intent on educating its citizens and providing them with an adequate safety net. California’s own native son, Ronald Reagan, rode the ideological wave of Proposition 13 right into the White House, and launched an era in which Republicans successfully devoted themselves to crippling government at all levels for decades. Proposition 13 broke California’s government.
The election of Democratic supermajorities suggests that Californians have had enough with broken government. Guess what? If you break something, the other side may get the chance to fix it.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Our Next California Legislative Session May Be The Most Consequential In Half a Century
Difficult to overemphasize this: