Redistricting Boosts Dem Dominance

June 11, 2011


As I was the first to predict 15 months ago right here on, the 2011 redistricting likely would bring 2/3 Democratic dominance in the California Legislature. The reasons were increased voter registration by immigrants, who vote 70 percent Democratic; and the new California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which was tasked with ending heavily gerrymandered districts produced in the 2001 redistricting.

We won’t know for sure until the 2012 election, but that seems to have happened. Democrats currently are just two votes shy in each house of the Legislature from obtaining a 2/3 supermajority. That still gives Republicans leverage over tax increases, which require such a supermajority. Come December 2012, that leverage could be gone.

Reported the Los Angeles Times, “California’s new voting districts could put Democrats within reach of as many as five more seats in Congress and enough in the state Legislature for the two-thirds majority needed to raise taxes, according to Democratic and Republican analysts.”

If that happens, Republicans essentially would be come irrelevant in the state Legislature.

However, Democrats then would bear full blame for whatever happens to the state economy. Currently, Democrats are again passing slews of anti-business bills. If that is coupled with a slew of new taxes in 2013, California’s economic climate, currently worst in the nation, could become a complete basket case.

GOP and Latinos

The problem remains the GOP’s difficulty in attracting Latino votes. Republicans in other states have managed to do so. Nevada just elected as governor Brian Sandoval. And New Mexico just elected as governor Susana Martinez.

Martinez will speak at the Flag Day celebration of the Republican Party of Orange County on June 13. So perhaps Republicans in California will use her as a model and inspiration on what they have to do to win again.

Both Sandoval and Martinez hold sensible positions on balancing budgets and keeping taxes reasonable. When Democratic tax increases make California’s budget deficits even worse by destroying businesses and jobs, perhaps the Latino Republicans’ day will have come.

Latinos in California, as elsewhere, avidly have been starting new businesses. This new business class may not see eye-to-eye with the aged Anglo elite that currently still runs the Democratic party: Gov. Jerry Brown, Treasurer Bill Lockyer and senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

To attract Latinos, Republicans also will have to change their positions to be more pro-business. In votes this year to end redevelopment, only one Republican in the Legislature, Chris Norby of Fullerton, has voted to cancel the $1.7 billion tax subsidies to well-connected businesses.

Redevelopment commonly means big big businesses uses eminent domain — property seizures — to grab the property of small businesses, often at below-market compensation rates. Given that the growing Latino business class is mostly made up of small businesses, this hurts them. Jose’s Muffler Shop is no match for Costo.

To attract the Latino business owners, the GOP is going to have to show that is talk about property-rights principles is more than just rhetoric.

Other Developments

In other developments from the redistricting proposal, Gerrymandering seems to be gone. The weirdly shaped districts of the 2001 redistricting have been replaced with districts of more geometric shapes. The districts also tend more to follow natural civic and geographic boundaries. In this, the Commission appears to have done its job well.

Finally, for years those seeking to split in two the massive state of California have called for a North/South division. But the new maps proposed today by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission show an obvious East/West division, with Democratic-leaning districts lined up along the coast, and Republican-leaning districts lined up on the state’s Eastern border.

Talk of splitting up the state waxes and wanes. But should it ever take flight again, the initial division now is obvious.



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