Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Special Election Day in California, USA

Today is Special Election day in California. In a supposed drive to “reform” California politics Governator Schwarzenegger could not wait seven months and put the Propositions he strongly backs in next year’s Primary Elections held in June. He did this of course, not for any sense of urgency, but pure Machiavellian politics. It’s pretty much a certainty that voter turnout is remarkably low in off year elections (on Tuesday it is expected to be 42% of eligible voters). And this is historically true of Democratic Party voters. In fact, in an article in the Los Angeles Times by Robert Salladay, “[Schwarzenegger’s] campaign strategy relies on relatively few people showing up [on] Tuesday and large segments of voters staying home.” In addition, he has forced his opposition, the labor unions, to spend millions of dollars fighting his power grab, thereby weakening the unions financially in the political battles to come next year. Very smart politics in many ways. However, as the old adage says, “Be careful what you wish for.” The polls predict most, if not all, of the Propositions he backs are going down in flames. Whatever political capital he had, has now evaporated.

In general I read the Los Angeles Times to keep me informed about what is happening in this state and elsewhere in the world. The work of Patt Morrison, Jean Pasco, Jean Merl, Steve Lopez, Robin Abcarian, among others, is top notch.

The following is a take from Patt Morrison and Steve Lopez on Tuesday’s, Special Election:
Patt Morrison: Can we please stop calling it a special election? It’s not. It’s marriage counseling. Almost every measure on Tuesday’s ballot represents a breakdown, a failure of California institutions to work things out with their significant others: governor and legislature, public unions and governor, business and legislature. So they come to us voters for help, these troubled couples.

Steve Lopez: We all knew California politics could get wacky, but I think it’s fair to say we’re outdoing ourselves this time…. You’ve heard of democracy run amok? This would be direct democracy run amok, and if Schwarzenegger prevails, I believe California would officially become a banana republic…I can’t think of a better reason to stop everything you’re doing [on] Tuesday, get off your duff, and run---don’t walk---to the polls, where your mission is clear as never before: Vote early and often.

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