Friday, August 1, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Will voters create de facto third party?

elias column sig

By
June 04, 2014 |

California voters created tectonic changes in state politics four years ago, when they approved the top-two primary election system that’s in effect in races for statewide offices Tuesday.

There is no longer any guarantee Democrats and Republicans will face off in November runoff elections. In fact, four years ago, primary election voters set up more than two dozen intraparty runoffs matching Democrat on Democrat or Republican on Republican in legislative and congressional contests. It could happen in more than one statewide race this year.

Every poll in 2010 showed that voters acted because they were sick of polarization and gridlock in Sacramento. They got what they wanted, says a new report from a University of Southern California institute funded primarily by ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Voters also may have inadvertently set up a de facto third political party in Sacramento, a moderate one, even if it’s not formally recognized by anyone. For lack of a better term, this group might be called the “Blue Dogs,” borrowing a name from a group of moderate to conservative Democrats who served in Congress in the 1990s and carefully picked and chose which liberal causes to support.

Just such a group now exists in Sacramento, and it promises to grow larger after Tuesday’s primary. The group has no formal organization, but that might come as its numbers grow.

Based on an analysis of all roll-call votes in both the state Legislature and Congress, USC political scientist Christian Grose found the average state legislator was more moderate over the past 18 months than for many years previously.

Diminished polarization of the parties in the Legislature took place against a background of ever-increasing partisanship in Congress, a phenomenon that applies in both the House and Senate.

Most movement, Grose found, occurred among Democrats. This may partly be because, as noted in an investigation by former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Gary Cohn, increasing numbers of Democratic legislators are less beholden to labor unions for their campaign money and more dependent on corporations and the state chamber of commerce.

Cohn found that some of these lawmakers – he named Marin County’s Marc Levine and Republican-turned-Democrat Steve Fox of Palmdale as prime examples – skipped or abstained from several key votes. Abstentions affected the fate of bills that aimed to help farm workers, require economic impact reports for proposed new big-box stores and require more disclosure from some health insurance companies before they raise rates.

One possible addition to the Blue Dog ranks this year might be Steve Glazer, until last year a top adviser to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who later worked as a consultant to the chamber. Glazer, an Orinda city councilman, now seeks an Alameda County seat in the Assembly.

“I am trying to redefine what it means to be a Democrat,” Glazer told one reporter.

For sure, Glazer has parted company with the labor unions that support most Democratic campaigns. But that doesn’t make him any less liberal on issues from gay rights to gun control and abortion, areas of relatively little interest to business.

How many Blue Dogs get elected this fall will in large part be a product of the current primary. The more Democrat-on-Democrat races ensue, the more contests will pit union contributions against business dollars.

Their outcomes can be surprising, too, as when former Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom two years ago won in an Assembly district created by reapportionment over Democratic Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, a strong labor ally who previously represented a district that marginally overlapped the new one. Butler now seeks a vacant state Senate seat and will very likely this fall face another Democratic rival not funded by unions.

No one can be quite certain how all this will play out in the long term: A moderate wing for the most liberal state Democratic Party in the nation? A three-party system?

These are the kind of unpredictable developments that make voting both worthwhile and fun.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at tdelias@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Trifecta: ‘The Who’s Tommy’ third play in three months

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Gemstones shine at Solano County Fair

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Japan Summerfest returns this month

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Vallejo police arrest suspect in shooting death

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Fairfield man settles suit against Raley’s

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Solano Tea Party Patriots schedule meet

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Details limited after shooting leaves 1 with injuries

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Highway 12 to close overnight in Jameson Canyon

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Air district calls Spare the Air alert

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Stabbing victim dies in Vacaville

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

A look at the impact of Wisconsin’s union law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Union: California prison staff told to fake checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Abbas seeks broad support for war crimes charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US, UN announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

As US job market strengthens, many don’t feel it

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Dow plunges as multiple worries vex investors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds 2011 union law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Report: Secrecy enveloped Bay Bridge construction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Yosemite wildfire weakened, evacuations to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Candidate goes homeless to show economic gap

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

California ex-mayor sentenced in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Californians to see increase in health plan costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Appellate court overturns high-speed rail rulings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Demoted worker shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NASA to test making rocket fuel ingredient on Mars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Investigators reach Ukraine jet wreckage site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Congress races to finish VA, highway bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

See-through mice reveal details of inner anatomy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
CIA spied on Senate, internal review finds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Opinion

Why do so many Americans support Hamas

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
Nice guy becomes House majority leader

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
Should union organizing be a civil right?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: Aug. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

 
Review: Boseman drips with charisma as James Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Sports

Safety Bethea finding a groove with new 49ers team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
A’s deal Tommy Milone to Twins for Sam Fuld

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

A’s get Lester, Gomes from Red Sox for Cespedes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Chekwa taking reps with Raiders while Hayden sits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Expos fall short in 10-9 loss to Leghorns

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

 
Phelps to compete in 4 events at US nationals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Another decent start for Woods at Firestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Ravens’ Rice: His actions ‘totally inexcusable’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Dustin Johnson takes leave of absence from golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Commonwealth Games athlete convicted for assault on rival

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Lynch ends holdout, arrives at Seahawks camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Nick Watney leads PGA Barracuda Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Rich get richer: Rays’ Price traded to Tigers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Dumdumaya takes third in World Junior/Junior Olympic tourney

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

AP Source: Trump advances in Bills sale process

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Mudcats get 15-7 win in Auburn Classic

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

Signups for Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
Derrick Brooks set standard for NFL linebackers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

.

Business

Daimler launches new version of tiny Smart car

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
SeaWorld, Southwest Airlines ending partnership

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Target taps outsider as CEO for needed shakeup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Iliad of France makes surprise bid for T-Mobile US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Facebook’s Internet.org expands in Zambia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
In San Francisco real estate, $1M won’t buy much

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Debit overdraft fees often exceed cost of purchase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9