Brown Only Democrat Left Standing … Really?
by Paul Hogarth‚ Nov. 16‚ 2009
Seven months ago, California had four Democrats running for Governor. Now, we only have one – who has yet to formally declare. John Garamendi’s ego dropped out to run for Congress in the wrong district (which he won anyway), Antonio Villaraigosa stepped out to focus on his day job as Mayor of Los Angeles, and Gavin Newsom appears to have withdrawn from both the Governor’s race and his day job. Unless someone jumps in (or back into) the race, June 2010 will be the coronation of Jerry Brown – a 72-year-old ex-Governor who quit the Democratic Party 11 years ago, and whose record after quietly re-joining has been a nightmare for progressives. Faced with only Republican opponents next year, Brown is moving further to the right – and will be pressured to do so down the road. Even though the Golden State, where the G.O.P. is in deep trouble, deserves a lot better than that.
As Beyond Chron has written on a number of occasions this year, California has led the progressive charge on the national level – but our state is in dire need of that kind of energy to fix Sacramento. And yet, progressives have failed to recruit a candidate of their own to be California’s next Barack Obama – leaving Jerry Brown as the only viable Democratic candidate to lead the largest state in the union.
Now, with no other Democratic alternative for Governor, progressives are left with two choices: (a) recruit a candidate to face nearly insurmountable odds to defeat Brown, or (b) organize on issues to the point that Jerry somehow feels compelled to respond. The former isn’t likely to happen, because the only Democrats with the stature to run a viable campaign are in Congress – and who would want to risk a safe seat when your party is in power in Washington? The latter is practically our only choice, and it remains to be seen how much Brown will bend in to public pressure. If 2010 is a wake-up call to California progressives that we need to focus more on state issues, it may be a good thing long-term.
Read full article here.
Could South Lead to Newsom’s Downfall?
Gavin Newsom’s bid for Governor suffered a potential blow this week, with the exit of long-time campaign manager Eric Jaye. Under Jaye’s tutelage, the Newsom campaign cultivated the image of a “fresh face” to contrast with Jerry Brown – and heavily courted the netroots and small donors in the Democratic Party. With Jaye’s departure, strategist Garry South is effectively calling the shots. Jaye says he quit because of a “fundamental difference in how to run the campaign,” suggesting that South will take Team Newsom in a different direction. South ran the statewide campaigns of Gray Davis, Steve Westly and Joe Lieberman’s California operation – efforts that were far more traditional and establishment focused. His open hostility towards progressive Democrats – along with a record of slash-and-burn campaign tactics – will not endear Newsom to the grassroots, and threatens to undermine the image the Mayor has worked hard to convey. Liberals are already disillusioned with the choices next year between Newsom and Brown, and this development can only fuel the desire to see a third candidate jump in the race.
Read Full Article Here.
Newsom Budget Figures Don’t Add Up
Newsom also addressed the state’s recent special election, and said the “message was clear – the people want us to find $6 billion in more cuts.” That’s a disturbing analysis, as polling evidence shows that the voters did not vote “for cuts” when they rejected a fatally flawed budget package that was the product of political extortion. The state budget can also be balanced with deeply popular revenue measures – such as an oil severance tax, or restoring upper-income tax brackets to what Republican Governors Pete Wilson and Ronald Reagan agreed to during hard times. We need to fight for this.
Gavin Newsom wants to be Governor, but his analysis of the state budget mess is the last thing progressives need right now – and calls into question whether he’s ready for prime time. As Schwarzenegger pushes for an “all-cuts” budget, we need Democrats in Sacramento who fight back – and help build momentum and public outrage against the two-thirds rule. Newsom supports lowering the threshold to pass a state budget, but he has not shown the willingness to lead on this issue. For now, progressives should be looking elsewhere …
What Democratic Vote Means for May Special Election
The California Democratic Party “split the baby” on the six propositions for the May 19th ballot – endorsing Propositions 1B, 1C and 1F, while not supporting Props 1A, 1D and 1E. This shifts the dynamic for the last three weeks. No longer can Prop 1A’s defeat be a mandate against tax increases – because the measure’s “spending cap” is why progressives oppose it. Likewise, “no” on Props 1D and 1E is now a vote for the state to fund children’s health programs and mental health services. And while many liberals fear the short-term “budget gap” if the measures all go down, the Party endorsed a “yes” vote on Prop 1C – which would have the most immediate impact. The Party’s support for Prop 1B is a mandate for public schools – and while Prop 1A’s defeat would prevent 1B from going into effect, a “yes” vote could pressure Governor Schwarzenegger to stop gutting education money. Democrats in the legislature promoted all six measures as a “budget package” to avert fiscal disaster. But it was a rotten deal, and the strategy would leave us no better off on May 20th towards a long-term solution. With this new dynamic, we can build momentum for scrapping the “two-thirds rule” in the state budget.
The Morning Show
Morning Show looks at the California Special Election with Paul Hogarth, of Beyond Chron, then we discuss a rise Homelessness in the state, with Joan Burke, Director of Advocacy, Loaves & Fishes, then an edition of Poor News Network and Letters to Washington and a finally we speak with former Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders.
Red California Death Watch
In 2007, right-wing political operatives tried to place a measure on the June 2008 ballot that – if successful – would have awarded California’s electoral votes by Congressional District. Democrats and progressives strongly opposed it, because everyone assumed it would give the G.O.P. presidential nominee an extra 19 votes. California is a deep blue state, but parts of Orange County and the Central Valley are still reliably Republican. New data from last November’s election, however, suggests that “Red California” is becoming less and less relevant. Barack Obama carried eight Congressional Districts that had long voted for Republican presidential candidates, and John McCain came close to losing three more. All these districts are currently represented in Congress by Republicans, but a few incumbents came close last year to losing to Democratic challengers. It’s only a matter of time before some of these districts will eventually flip. None of this is a surprise, however, because the state’s Republican base is older, whiter and shrinking in size. But the rate of this change is quite staggering, which explains why Republicans in the state legislaturehave clung to the “two-thirds rule” for passing a budget. After all, it’s the only reason they have any power left in the state.