Key divides vex CA Democrats

Democrats fighting logoAs the dominant political party of California, Democrats have begun to fall victim to one of the more humbling rules of power: When your team has few tough battles to fight, it often turns on itself. From politics to economics and beyond, the party’s dominance has bred sometimes sharp disagreements that leaders have proven unable to tamp down or brush aside.

Fighting over the spoils

With an election year on the way, Democrats jockeying for power in Sacramento have found themselves in fractious intra-party competitions. “Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, faulted by some for not controlling her moderate faction, is being forced out of her seat by term limits but doesn’t want to retire, so she is challenging Sen. Marty Block’s bid for a second term in San Diego,” as Dan Walters observed at the Sacramento Bee. “Atkins says Block had promised to retire after one term and cede the Senate seat to her, but he denies it. The stage is thus set for what is likely to be an expensive and nasty duel between two conventionally liberal Democrats.” Another drama has centered around Raul Bocanegra’s establishment-backed effort to wrest back his seat from insurgent Patty Lopez, Walters added.

On budgeting, meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown’s unwillingness to capitulate to Democrats’ demands for greater largesse was thrown into a striking new light by the news that California’s balance sheet is $1 billion stronger than projected this fiscal year. “The surplus suggests Brown was indeed conservative during budget negotiations,” according to Capital Public Radio. “The governor insisted on using lower revenue estimates, while legislative Democrats had pushed for some limited additional spending.”

Republicans, whose idea of fiscal discipline tends to go well beyond Brown’s own, see Democrats’ power struggle over spending as a double-edged sword. Giving too much credit or support to Brown would weaken the already anemic state GOP, while undermining him would fuel an insurgency from the Left. But in a telling signal of how Republican officials sought to resolve the dilemma, the party has pointedly withdrawn itself from races where business-friendly or Brown-allied Democrats faced a matchup against more liberal or union-funded challengers. Speculation has built that the pattern could effectively repeat itself in the campaign to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. Thanks to California’s new primary system, “it just may happen that no Republican survives next June’s Top Two primary, letting Harris and Sanchez split the larger Democratic vote and duke it out in the fall,” according to the Californian. “To prevent that, two of the Republicans will have to drop out long before that primary.”

Unions divided

Even without the added pressure of GOP machinations, organized labor, a powerful Democratic constituency, has found itself fractured in the Golden State. California, the state with the most lower-wage employees, has been at the forefront of activists’ successful movement to boost minimum wages in the absence of federal legislation. But now, that effort has been imperiled by its own strength.

“The SEIU mega-local UHW, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has long been campaigning for a 2016 ballot measure for a $15 minimum and has already gathered the requisite number of signatures to get it on the ballot,” the American Prospect reported, drawing the support of Democrats like Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom and the mayors of party strongholds like Oakland and San Francisco. Yet the dominance of Democrats and labor has produced internal competition. The SEIU California State Council rolled out a measure of its own “that would also raise the minimum to $15 while expanding access to paid sick leave for home-care workers.”

“The competing measures are the latest skirmish in the running battle between the UHW leaders and the leaders of the national union, joined by other state SEIU honchos, over questions of SEIU’s strategy and structure,” the Prospect noted. “The skirmish has higher-wage advocates worried that two competing measures will diminish state voters’ considerable support (68 percent in the Field Poll) for a $15 minimum wage, so much so that both measures could go down to defeat.”

9 comments

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  1. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 18 November, 2015, 07:31

    Popcorn time!
    OF COURSE Toni doesn’t want to ‘retire’ from ‘public service’! What would she do? Think tank? Policy Institute? The benny’s in her current spot are amazing. I remember well her ability to cry on cue when she sat on the San Diego City Council-truly Shakespearean/Screen Actors Guild stuff.
    And of course Marty Blockhead ‘promised’ to give up his seat to her, but has now ‘changed his mind’. Never mind that whole democracy thingy, you know, elections and all, seats in the legislature are traded around like used cars in california. Since they’re all acting/thinking on a first grade level maybe they should go outside and settle it with a game of ‘smear the queer’ (foursquare)……

    Reply this comment
  2. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 18 November, 2015, 08:50

    the demac-RATS are eating their own kind like the two snakes that grap each others tails start swoallowing until their gone

    Reply this comment
  3. Dc1
    Dc1 18 November, 2015, 15:30

    Meanwhile, the dems have declared victory while the state’s long term fiscal health continues to deteriorate. It’s just too easy to give away other people’s money, but in the meantime the long term unfunded obligations just keep growing.

    Reply this comment
  4. Colonel Bill Kilgore
    Colonel Bill Kilgore 18 November, 2015, 16:40

    On budgeting, meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown’s unwillingness to capitulate to Democrats’ demands for greater largesse was thrown into a striking new light…

    Spend’em to the stone age, son!

    The stage is thus set for what is likely to be an expensive and nasty duel between two conventionally liberal Democrats.”

    But seriously, it’s great to see these Demonrats lighting each other up.

    I love the smell of burnt Demonrat in the morning!

    Reply this comment
  5. Truthafuss
    Truthafuss 18 November, 2015, 16:59

    The DEM party of Todos Locos has d— near destroyed the state. Sacromaia is a disgrace to our history. It’s as if these horrid pols want to give everything away, as long as those to whom they give things vote for them. The California legislature is a poster child for all that can possibly be wrong with modern pols and their perverted governance.

    Reply this comment
  6. desmond
    desmond 18 November, 2015, 18:22

    There certainly must be a debate between Gavin and Kamala on the positions for oral versus anal.

    Reply this comment
    • Rex the Wonder Dog!
      Rex the Wonder Dog! 18 November, 2015, 19:48

      There certainly must be a debate between Gavin and Kamala on the positions for oral versus anal.

      I just barfed up lunch. Thanks 🙂

      Reply this comment
  7. desmond
    desmond 19 November, 2015, 04:25

    Kampala has done that as well.

    Reply this comment
  8. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 19 November, 2015, 07:43

    The demacratic party all mouth and no mind all you hear from them is the mindless braying and the four legged donkey is bored with it all

    Reply this comment

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