Unlike my conservative friends, I do not think the fault lies entirely with the Democrats. Instead, it has to do with the total eclipse of the state’s once-lively two-party system. As Starr has noted, California’s golden age of governance from the 1940s to the 1960s was largely a bipartisan affair, with power shifting between the parties. “Despite their differences,” Starr writes, “Democrats and Republicans saw sufficiently eye-to-eye” to embrace policies that drove California’s growth…
Before 1994, Republicans were capable of winning upward of two-fifths of the Latino vote. But after that, as the Latino portion of the electorate grew, from 7 percent in 1980 to more than 21 percent today, these voters became, much like the African-American vote, essentially a bloc owned by the Democrats. In 2010, Jerry Brown won nearly two-thirds of their votes in his bid to return as governor. Asian voters, despite their decidedly middle-class and entrepreneurial bent, sensed the whiff of nativism among Republicans and also turned to the Democrats. With minority communities’ share of the electorate growing every year, the GOP essentially has backed itself into permanent minority status.
This has set the stage for a bizarre political farce, where minority representatives in Sacramento – with few exceptions – consistently vote against the interests of their own constituents on issues such as water allocations in the Central Valley or regulations that boost energy and housing prices. In their clamor to join the “progressive” team, they, in effect, are placing the California “dream” outside the reach of the state’s heavily minority working class.
It’s almost surreal to see people who represent impoverished East Los Angeles and Fresno, for example, vote exactly the same way as those who represent rich, white and older voters in Marin County and Westside Los Angeles.