Defining the Dream
I was very enthused by Phil Angelides as a candidate. He had a plan to reduce California's oil consumption by 25% in ten years. That's the most ambitious plan by a politician who actually gets more than 3% of the vote I've ever seen. I also regard him as the best candidate for governor of California I have ever seen, but the star power of Arnold Schwarzenegger eclipsed him.
I admit, however, that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a much better candidate in 2006, than in 2003 or 2005. I can imagine that a certain percentage of the population supports Arnold Schwarzenegger because it fears that the liberals will run away with the state. The liberals are not running away with the state, but they did assert themselves on Tuesday. Only Steve Poizner joins Arnold as a Republican to get elected to state wide office since the Republicans championed and passed a racist and illegal proposition in 1994.
I interpret the elections as an endorsement of the status quo. The Governor is re-elected, and California expressed its democratic nature. What keeps liberals from running away with the state is the inability to challenge the anti-tax philosophy of the Republicans, which has trickled down to many parts of the population. The result is that on election day the state of California acquired around $42.5 billion dollars of debt, and now has debt totaling about $93.5 billion dollars.
Californians are reluctant to impose small taxes on corporations. In fact, more Californians are willing to impose a tax on cigarette smokers than to impose a tax on oil companies and corporations. Publicly financed elections did not capture the imagination of the population. Universal healthcare in the state will have to wait. Dramatic improvements in mass transit are very unlikely to occur. Proposition 1B which raises $19 billion dollars for transportation purposes allots a modest $4 billion for mass transit. We plan to be driving, and consuming gasoline.
It could be that Californians are expecting leadership to come from the federal government in order to improve the problems that plague our society. A Californian, Nancy Pelosi, is the new speaker of the house. Perhaps if George Bush signs a few bills written and passed by the now democratically controlled Congress, Californians will come to like him better.
Voter turnout in California was 55%. I view the rest of the eligible voters as a vast market for politicians and ideas. Voter turnout has steadily declined from a high of 79.5% in 1958, with exceptions; in 2003 when Arnold Schwarzenegger was first elected it spiked to 61%