California voters have again handed Democrats a super-majority in the state legislature, which will further empower them to pursue their radical progressive agenda. Bizarrely, at the same time these voters rejected the very same progressive agenda by voting down five key progressive policies in statewide propositions.
Proposition 16 sought to repeal Proposition 209, which implemented a ban on the use of affirmative action by the state, including in college admissions. It was a landmark measure in 1996, a very different time in California. The governor and the State Assembly were Republican, and whites were still the majority in the state. Today, Democrats control every statewide office and hold super-majorities in both houses of the legislature, and Latinos now outnumber whites. Surely, voters in the "new" California were ready to repeal the affirmative-action ban.
Nope. It is going down to defeat by a 13-point margin, even though it was worded in a way to hide the proposed return of affirmative action. It was entitled simply, "Allows Diversity as a Factor in Public Employment, Education, and Contracting Decisions." The vote also flies directly in the face of new laws passed by the legislature this year, including mandating that California corporations have a specific number of minorities on their boards (beyond affirmative action; actual quotas) and a law establishing a task force to investigate and report on slavery reparations.
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Proposition 22 sought to repeal a law passed last year by the legislature which mandated that rideshare drivers be treated as employees rather than independent contractors. The proposition is winning by a 17-point margin, meaning the voters are effectively vetoing the law passed by the legislature and governor. Perhaps they were persuaded by the fact that the drivers themselves did not want to be employees. State leaders ignored this inconvenient fact, persuaded instead by unions that the drivers would be much happier as union members. (Joe Biden also supported mandating they be employees, but that did not seem to bother California voters who voted for him at a 2-1 clip.)
Proposition 21 sought to expand rent control, permitting local governments to have it apply not just to existing renters, but even to new renters after the property changes hands. Just last year the legislature passed and the governor signed a statewide rent-control mandate, becoming just the third state in the nation to do so. It was meant to address the lack of "affordable housing." California voters, however, are voting down the rent-control measure by a 19-point margin. They likely recognize that rent control acts as an impediment to building new housing and reduces turnover of properties. These basic economic realities were lost on their leaders.
Proposition 15 sought to overturn a portion of the landmark Proposition 13 measure, which placed limits on annual property tax increases. Proposition 15 sought to remove the restriction only from commercial and industrial properties, allowing them to now, and suddenly, be taxed based upon the current market price. This would result in dramatic tax increases for commercial and industrial buildings throughout the state, placing huge burdens on business owners, commercial real estate companies and investors. Certainly, this was primed to pass considering that Proposition 13 passed in a very different California back in 1978. The new proposition would only impact businesses and the wealthy, and it was entitled, "Increases Funding Sources for Public Schools …" After all, our legislature recently imposed new taxes on the wealthy, so voters should have followed suit. Wrong. Proposition 15 is going down to defeat.
Finally, Proposition 25 was a referendum on a new law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in 2018, which eliminated the cash bail system. The law was passed as part of "criminal justice reform." The concept was that it was not fair that the wealthy can escape jail time while the poor cannot (never mind that judges set bail amounts that take into consideration the wealth of the defendant). Certainly, on the heals of Black Lives Matter protests, defund the police campaigns and allegations of unequal application of and sentencing under criminal laws, California voters would support legislature and governor ending cash bail. Not at all. The Proposition is losing by 15 points.
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What is going on? Why do California voters keep electing far-left progressives if they do not believe in what they stand for? It is all about branding. Democrats have convinced California's minority communities (which now make up the majority) that they are on their side. They have convinced them that Republicans are racist, sexist homophobes who only care about rich people. Registered Democrats now outnumber Republicans by about a 43% to 23% margin. Thus, an "R" next to your name as a candidate means you start in a 20-point hole. This has handed Democrats a monopoly on control of the state with no checks and balances. As a result, they run amok, free to pursue socialist policies far beyond their mandate.
California voters last week reigned them in. Next time they need to vote them out.