Election was a remarkable one, indeed

jtarica@thetribunenews.com.November 10, 2012 

What a remarkable election this turned out to be. Beyond the drama of President Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney, California witnessed more than its share of intriguing results, beginning with the top initiative on this year’s ballot: Proposition 30.

It is no exaggeration to say the passage of Prop. 30 will have a monumental impact on public schools in California, improving the educational experience for everyone from the youngest kindergartner through the most advanced students at universities such as Cal Poly.

I personally want to extend my thanks to everyone who saw fit to vote yes and finally, after so many years of distress, turn back the tide on a culture of budget cuts that had battered our local schools and from a psychological standpoint, become business as usual.

In the end, this revenue plan was a no-brainer, imposing a quarter-cent boost on the sales tax that will largely go unnoticed in our personal finances, along with an income tax hike on high earners, who also can afford to pitch in a bit more for such a good cause.

“With one election,” the Los Angeles Times wrote Thursday, “a deficit that has rendered Sacramento dysfunctional and threatened to ravage public schools has largely been wiped out.”
This is a beautiful thing.

Speaking of Sacramento, in the days after the election, an even more remarkable result has developed.

That is the potential for Democrats to reach supermajorities in both the state Senate and Assembly, depending on the outcome of a couple of remaining seats in the latter body.

If there ever were a legislative shift that should strike fear in the hearts of Republicans all across this blue state, that is it.

The supermajority threshold is the kind of historic milestone we simply never see, and San Luis Obispo County ended up as part of that shift by joining a redrawn district that replaced Republican Sam Blakeslee with Democrat Bill Monning.

How unusual are these times? The last time California saw a supermajority in both houses, it was held by Republicans in 1933. To find a time when Democrats last held unchecked power, you have to go all the way back to 1883.

Holy moly.

If this comes to pass, the Democrats must use the authority with great wisdom and responsibility. They will be singularly responsible for whatever successes or failures follow.

And Republicans would do well to think carefully about the position they now find themselves in, while engaging in a search for solutions rather than continuing this exercise in wanton obstructionism. They would also do well to appreciate this dose of new reality for what it is, as opposed to dwelling in an ever-more implausible fantasyland.

On the prospect of a Democratic supermajority, state Senate GOP leader Bob Huff, speaking to The Sacramento Bee, still claimed Republicans “clearly don’t see this as a mandate.”

Really? A legislative advantage that could reduce your party to nothing more than stumps in leather chairs isn’t a mandate?

What is, then? The day you engineer your extinction from the state Capitol? Will that be a mandate?
Because that’s where the California GOP is headed.

Behind the final tallies, one need not look very far to see how demographic forces are carving new shapes in the state’s electoral landscape.

A new online voting registration system brought more young voters to the polls this year, and they tended to skew Democrat.

The L.A. Times noted that Republican registration has dropped to less than 30 percent, another historic milestone that has never been reached as long as the state has tracked such data, going back to 1922.

And of course, minorities continue to grow and gain in influence every year.

In the 24th Congressional District, won handily by Lois Capps, Latinos now make up 34 percent of the population. Ignore them at your peril.

It was a long and arduous journey reaching this November result, but we have much to be thankful for.

For all of our sakes, here’s hoping the choices we made this year yield the fruitful results we need and expect.

Joe Tarica is the presentation editor for The Tribune. Reach him at jtarica
@thetribunenews.com.

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