Only in California
The west coast is famous for nurturing extreme left-wing Democrats in coastal soviets such as Berkeley and Santa Monica. Less well-known, but no less barmy, are its extreme right-wing Republicans. The party faithful, no friends of the governor, can block tax hikes, since these have to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the state legislature. But by asking voters to approve new spending directly, the governor has found a way to deprive them of this power.
The extremism of California's politicians is caused partly by the sharp contrast between the state's agricultural interior and its technology- and entertainment-oriented coast. But it is mostly the result of gerrymandering, the drawing of district lines in a way that virtually guarantees seats will not change hands. As a result, the only races that count are the party primaries,
over which the most zealous voters hold sway.
Although this is bad news for the state as a whole, it provides an opportunity for a moderate man of action to shine. California's political middle ground is so broad and sparsely populated that anybody who occupies it seems extraordinarily reasonable. Yet Mr Schwarzenegger's successor will find it hard to follow his lead. He or she will have to win a primary election first, which means sucking up to the extremists. From there, it will be a long, hard road to the political centre. California has given many wonderful things to the world, from the silicon chip to valet parking. But “post-partisan” politics are unlikely to travel quite so well, at least in America.
Actaully, there could be a base for this, post-partisanship. It just has to be built still. There are no new ideas in politics but if you want to go from the model of a republic, in which we've outgrown, as the small elites many masses model works best if the majority of people are uneducated. These days, in the era of mass education, it is no longer solvent. As a.d.h.d. and not ignorance is more of a problem as so many people get an educations now, just not comprehensive ones: to get jobs rational people speacialize as undergraduate speacializations and then graduate degrees are replacing the liberal arts model. The information is out there, the social networks to share the information are in their infancy; we are less of a meritocracy and more of a mediocracy but following a moderately educated (at least K-12) educated normal voter is a lot more democratic.
For a more direct democracy to work, the speacial interests would need to be neutered and the public involved more to cut back on apathy. Apparently this is what Schwartzenager has been doing 'only in california.' There is some progress elsewhere too, in Virginia the democrats have stopped trying to force the Independants to show party allegiance before working with them. That goes over a lot better as people here want to be able to choose between candidates but still bust up monopolies such as some members of the conservative alliance in Richmond. Its just we are also aware that situations change, in the 1960's the alliance that needed to be busted up was the Dixiecrats and they aren't the same as today's Democrats, nor will either party following a median voter model be the same in 40 years. We know this, some americans follow politics, to get the vote of more involved americans, political parties can't condescend.
But Kaine is upbeat about his chances, in part because he says Republicans have nominated several Senate candidates who are too conservative for Virginia voters. While stumping for Miller, Kaine noted that the Republican candidate in the race, Patricia B. "Tricia" Stall, once signed a petition advocating to end government involvement in education.
With foes like Patricia Stalls and Ken Cuchinelli, how can you help but giggle?