California – A Lesson in Disenfranchisement

California – A Lesson in Disenfranchisement

Proposition 14 – the ballot proposition that effectively took away the the rights of all members of the Republican Party in the State of California.  To put it mildly, it is a lesson in disenfranchisement.

History of the Law

The bill became law in 2010 after referendum with almost 54% of those voting in favor.  Since it is a Constitutional Amendment in California, it required the General Public’s approval after being accepted at the legislative level.  Governor Schwarzenegger accepted it as part of a deal with the legislature to get his budget through that year.  Governor Schwarzenegger blew it.  He just didn’t see it coming.

The crux of the proposition is that there no longer is a two party system in California.  All statewide elections, except for United States President are by open primary.  Then, the top two vote getters appear in a runoff to determine the elected official on the November ballot.  This includes Governor, Federal Representatives, Senators and their equivalents at the state level.  Accordingly, the GOP almost never has a person on the statewide ballot anymore.

As a result of the heavily Democratic electorate, this had led to the complete disenfranchisement of the GOP.  (At least in the populated areas).  In my opinion, the state of California will never have another Republican Governor or Senator.  And as gerrymandering gets more and more creative, members of the House will be less Republican than they even are now.  Currently, there are 39 Democratic House members out of 53.  Don’t be surprised if the number of Republicans slowly goes down to less than ten.

Evidence of Disenfrachisement

Let’s look at the California 2016 Senate race as an Example.  In that election, there were five people who received more than 1% of the vote.  The biggest vote getter was the eventual winner, Kamala Harris.  The highest Republican received a mere 8%.  The two top Democrats received almost 60% of the total votes cast.  Let me ask you, does a Republican have a chance of ever getting on the November Ballot except for United States President anymore?

The most recent polling for the California Governor’s race in 2018 again shows the same potential results.  Antonio Villaraigosa and Gavin Newsom have a combined expected 39% of the vote.  The closest Republican is eight points behind Villaraigosa.  Of course, this is very early polling and the Federal electorate’s anger may change things.  But, the fact still stands that there is almost no chance a Republican will finish in the top two.

Current polling in the 2018 Senate race to lose to Dianne Feinstein seems to be going the same way.  The top two candidates will be members of the Democratic Party.  There is no beating around the bush on this.

Nehring’s Nightmare of Disenfranchisement

GOP Chairman Ron NehringHow did the California electorate let this happen?  Didn’t the GOP Charman at the time, Ron Nehring, understand what was happening?  According to Nehring:

“This measure will contribute to the further political Balkanization of California. It will limit voter choice. It will not have the result its proponents claim. Other than that, it’s a fine idea.”

I can only ad:  What was Nehring smoking back then.

The San Diego Tribune in an analysis of the Proposition stated that although both parties hated the Proposition, they decided to spend money electing their individual candidates rather than defeat it.  Well, the only way to analyse this is to state the Democrats played stupid and the Republicans were stupid.  There is no other explanation.

Meanwhile, those of us living in California who think Conservatively are forced to accept we live in a state that will forever be liberal.  We simply do not have a chance unless some big Republican celebrity decides to run as a member of the GOP.  Then, and only then do we have a chance of regaining some power.  After all, even Democrats fawn at celebrity.  Other than that, it is effectively over.

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3 Responses to "California – A Lesson in Disenfranchisement"

  1. Proposition 14 requires that candidates run in a single primary open to all registered voters, with the top two vote-getters meeting in a runoff. The new system took effect in the special election for State Senate, District 28, on February 15, 2011.[1]

    Specifically, Proposition 14 provides for a “voter-nominated primary election” for each state elective office and congressional office in California. Voters can vote in the primary election for any candidate for a congressional or state elective office without regard to the political party affiliations of either the candidate or the voter. Candidates can choose whether or not to have their political party affiliation displayed on the ballot.

    Proposition 14 prohibits political parties from nominating candidates in a primary, although political parties will be allowed to endorse, support or oppose candidates. Elections for presidential candidates, and for members of political party committees and party central steering committees do not fall under the “top two” system.
    That is what it says. It doesn’t say “Republicans not allowed” it covers both party’s equally. The fact that the Republican party is the minority party in California as it is in the United States (26% Republicans, 29% Democrats, 49 % independent) is just a fact of life as is the fact that in other states the Republican party holds the majority. This prop treats both party’s equal.

    1. Except it has disenfranchised California voters who happen to be Republicans. In fact, it can almost be argued that it is a denial of the equal protection to a minority class in California. Each party should have the ability to put a Candidate on the ballot. This basically makes it impossible for one Republican to ever go against one Democrat again in this state. Is that fair?


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