California Democrats were faced with the choice of two Pyrrhic victories this year. Play partisan hardball (a la Republican Congress) with the Governor after his 2005 special election defeat and nudge people towards Angelides, or deal with Arnold and destroy motivation for independents to head to the polls in November.
They chose the later, and it’s done a lot of good, but it will Kill Phil.
It started with the deal on the infrastructure bonds. Sure, there was some wrangling, but that’s just high stakes negotiation for you.
The budget was on time. More money for schools.
All of that was wonderful and needed. Then came the two killers.
My theory of California politics is that it’s much more linear than national politics. The labor/corporate axis is dominant, at least much more so than on the national stage. So when Arnold made a deal on the minimum wage, it mollified, to some extent, a large part of the Democrats’ support. In essence, it sent a signal that Arnold was someone that could be dealt with, so ridding us of him was not an emergency.
He did the same thing to environmentalists with the global warming bill, playing into his supposed reputation as an environmentalist, Hummers notwithstanding.
So, who’s left? Social liberals? Arnold has been very quiet on the social front. Check.
That leaves us partisan Democrats. Even asuming 100% turnout among us, we don’t win an election without a jolt from independents, and Arnold now owns them. (See the PPIC poll.)
I’ve been a big Phil naysayer on this site. So, you can take what I say in that context. I believe that given these dynamics, unless he was going to run a campaign for real change in our state he was going to lose. Now it’s almost certain.
Blame whoever you want, but unless lightning strikes, it’s the Democratic legislature that did it.
I’m glad they acted this way. They were responsible to the people first. If only the other side would act that way.