wa post’s harold meyerson on the un-democratic 2/3 rule

GOP: Going Over the Precipice

Because of a quirk in California’s Constitution, the minority Republicans have managed to push through a budget that makes the state sicker and dumber. Where is the Democrats’ white knight?

The most basic principle of any democracy is that of majority rule, with minority rights running a clear but close second. Simple though this precept may be, California seems to have gotten it backward. The budget deal that emerged from Sacramento on Monday was the result of minority rule — the consequence of a state Constitution that vests more power in the minority party than the constitution of just about any other state. 

Under normal circumstances, this constitutional anomaly doesn’t result in minority rule. But during the budget impasse of the last several months, it did.

The 2/3 rule is un-democratic plain and simple.  When will a democrat stand up and make this THE issue?  Any meaningful campaign for 2010 must confront this head on. It is an outrage that a majority party throws up its hands and claims we are helpless.

The Republicans’ California isn’t a state that most Californians want to live in. Given a choice between creating an extraction tax on oil companies (a tax that every other state with oil already has, but which the Sacramento Republicans rejected) and decimating the state’s universities, I think Californians would opt to tax Exxon rather than reduce the number of science students. But how do we stop the downward spiral before Republicans reduce the state to the status of an Oklahoma or Alabama or the other GOP garden spots? 

First, Democrats in the Legislature should consider calling the GOP’s bluff and voting against the budget deal — but they can’t make their case absent a public spokesman. It’s time for Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom to rise to the challenge that Clinton did when he stood down Gingrich. And second, Californians need to amend their state Constitution, in convention if need be, to end the practice of minority rule. Democracy — not to mention the future of the state — depends on it.  

AMEN!  Candidates who want to lead our state should start leading today.  There is no tomorrow.

Read Full Editorial Here.


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