CA’s new political landscape

CA’s political landscape will be changing dramatically and since most of these changes are inside-baseball-type of things I doubt anyone will notice until after it happens…

In 2012 voters will face a completely different scenario then they have ever seen before as a result of two major changes: the redistricting commission and Prop 14.

Now that the 2010 Census is completed, we are facing our decennial redistricting, only this year it will be done by a totally new entity, the CA Citizen’s Redistricting Commission. If anyone tells you they know how this is going to turn out — be wary — they are lying to you! NO ONE has any clue what is going to happen. This is our first time ever drawing the lines this way so it is anyone’s guess what may result from this mess. Without getting too much into the weeds, the Commission is made up of 14 members: 5 each from the two major parties and 4 from remaining parties and Decline To States (DTS). Those members will be in charge of drawing all boundary lines for legislative and other races.

Prop 14: This initiative was labeled ‘the open primary’ initiative and was lauded by some as the end to partisan-extremism as it would only allow for the most moderate candidates to make it on to the general election ballot.  It seems that only now, almost two years after it made it on to the ballot are state legislators starting to realize how terrible Proposition 14 actually is. Before the passage of Prop. 14, we had a primary election where all registered voters could vote in their primary and determine their nominees. We then had a general election for those nominees to face off against one another.

Now, we have a system where in June all candidates will run against each other and the top two vote-getters (frequently from the same party) will square off against each other again in November. Since this new system does not afford either major political party the ability to have a ‘nominee’ we are now seeing both parties scramble to develop a system to choose one candidate to be backed by their party. While it is unclear how this system will work one thing is for sure (for the GOP), at best it will include all members of the CA Rep party (approximately 1,500 or so people) and at worst, will include a handful of Rep power-brokers. How is a system which allows only a handful to choose GOP ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ supposed to be fair and more democratic than a process that allowed for ALL registered voters to weigh in on who our nominee should be?

While both of these changes are still up in the air in terms of the nitty-gritty details, I seriously doubt that either plan will advance Democracy or promote greater voter participation — so for that, all I have to say is ‘thanks for nothin’ Abel…’

(*As a note, the GOP did not support Prop 14 and the above changes to the party are as a result of its passage. Most in the GOP remain adamantly opposed to it.)

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