Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Congress

Just When You Thought California Couldn't Get Worse

No help on reapportionment.  Rs Dreier and Lungren may go down, though Dems' dilemmas also amuse.  Progressivism's wheel of destruction rolls on.  Conservatives' only immediate weapon in California is direct democracy.  Learning how to campaign outside a narrow and shrinking constituency also helps--in the long run.  Short term solution is to use Progressivism's weapons against it.  Direct democracy is one such device; something good may come out of their new primary system, though odds are against it.
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Discussions - 9 Comments

For my random musing today--I wonder if the new primary system, by preventing a party from being guaranteed that it will be on the ballot (even if it has a certain significant level of support), I wonder if this could not be called a functional partial denial of the right to free association--the prevention of the, fruits being harvested from the efforts of citizens banding together and proposing candidates to their fellow citizens, even if they gathered a significant percentage of the vote, and thus the nullification of their efforts to band together, one step removed. A functional ban, as it were--unless they choose to join a larger party where they would be more likely to be the second place candidate (which functional requirement would a.) most certainly be against the spirit of the free association clause, and b.) would be applauded in China, because naturally one party states are the way to go).

Overall, not the strongest Constitutional argument in the world, but not immediately trivial, either.

As a further thought, an important one, and one I am not sure of the answer to: in California, what document authorizes the Republican and Democratic parties to exist? What gives them legal standing, in the eyes of the law? What defines "A" as the official Democratic/Republican Party, and not "B"? What is the legal mechanism for doing this, and what is the actual piece of paper?

I also wonder if this open primary system could not be considered a violation of the spirit of various civil rights rulings/laws, which prevent a system whose main intent is to dilute the votes of a minority bloc (if I understand correctly).

Parties can't be guaranteed a right to exist, but your points are worth making, esp. #1. The problem is taking down a one-party despotism, when the leading opposition is so weak.

Is there a Constitutional basis for political parties, especially the idea of just two parties?

Remember, people, that just asking the questions makes you an "extremist". I'm lost but it is not too late for you. All the thinking has already been done for us by people who just want to make things better....and they would never have forgotten anything in their quest to make things "perfect", absolutely "perfect" in the ideal--making reality match the theory. Get on board or suffer the consequences...

Too bad the map cannot be viewed here. The results-oriented analysis linked to avoids dealing with the details of redistricting. For example, are there two Assembly districts in each Senate district, as there was when state judges resolved the deadlock between the Democrat legislature and Republican Gov. Pete Wilson? Are geographic and muncipal realities taken into account? How much has race got to do with the new districts?

Be these things as they may, the political party question is the crucial one. Of course, they were not planned, but they formed almost immediately, given the constitutional and political realities. That is, single-member districts encourage broad-based parties to win pluralities, relegating third parties, as we tellingly call them, less relevant than they are in multi-member districts as in Europe and other nations with parliamentary systems (except England and Commonwealth countries). Hence, the US and the latter have two-party systems and the rest have multi-party systems. At the federal level, the Electoral College puts a premium on what the late Martin Diamond called "nationally distributed majorities" that capture two or more sections of the country and not merely the states with large urban areas. Within states, the urban advantage can be maximized, California being a painfully clear example, but it is by no means unique.

Before I become disappointed or outraged, I would like to see just how fair the redistricting was--if it was.

There is an easy answer to redistricting here in the Stupid State. Cut the state starting about 50 miles North of the Stupid City (SF) and about 50 miles inland then head all the way down to the Mexico Border. This would encompass the bulk of the liberal cities including San Francisco, Berkeley, the west bay area, Carmel/Monterrey, Hollywood, Los Angeles and San Diego. This would include some of the most crime-ridden cities as well as some of California prisons that hold some pretty violent and crazy criminals. It also contains some of the most dangerous fault lines in California. We can call this new state the Lindsay Lohan State and the other State - well let's just call it Red California. And who knows, maybe one day those of us living on the dividing line 50 miles inland will have ocean front property.

As a matter of fact, San Diego County is still Republican territory, and Imperial County is controlled by Democrats. But otherwise your generalization is correct. The counties north of San Francisco to the Oregon border are pretty liberal too.

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