Saturday, November 22, 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

.

US / World

House intel panel debunks many Benghazi theories

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

 
A look at how FDA-approved robotic leg braces work

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Marine with robotic leg braces gets Bronze Star

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Oregon festival’s giant nutcracker: 41 feet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

San Francisco window washer falls onto moving car

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
$139M deal reached in school molestation case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Zookeepers had safety concerns before gorilla died

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
California storms bring scattered rain, mudslides

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Judge declares wrongly convicted woman innocent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Senate leader lays off dozens of office employees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

UC expands legal services for immigrant students

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man pleads not guilty to emailing nudies of ex

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Stymied? Republicans seek immigration response

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
LA animal shelter slashes prices on 100 pets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Agency rejects solar project in Silurian Valley

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
93-year-old woman marks 75 years with same company

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

UK police spied on reporters for years, docs show

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Agency: Schools helped Lanza’s mom ‘appease’ him

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Bandits in Guinea steal suspected Ebola blood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
With snow still piled high, Buffalo faces flooding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Iran nuke talks stalled, despite Kerry efforts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Biden urges Russia to uphold east Ukraine truce

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Police: 3-year-old set fire that killed his family

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

 
Editorial Cartoons: Nov. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Batson column falls short of truth

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 35 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Nov. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Nov. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My sister kicked Mom out of her house and won’t let her have the car

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

Blanket drive for homeless gets help from Colts player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

‘Queen Latifah Show’ to end after its 2nd season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Bill Cosby show set for Vegas casino canceled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Matt Czuchry says ‘Good Wife’ arc is at right time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

 
Sparano savors 1st win with Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Vacaville downs Del Oro to advance to section semis

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

Sharks trade Demers to Stars for Dillon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL will hear Adrian Peterson’s appeal Dec. 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers’ Dorsey is out of Sunday’s game against Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
France levels tie against Switzerland in Davis Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ibanez, Cash, Wakamatsu finalists to manage Rays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Federal judge denies sports betting in New Jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

JC women’s basketball: Solano advances to tourney title game

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Ciganda, Granada tied for lead at LPGA finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Toyota recalls nearly 423K Lexuses for fuel leaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Ford’s new F-150 to get 26 mpg, tops among pickups

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment | Gallery

CEOs in 10 big mergers to get $430M: Equilar study

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
California unemployment unchanged at 7.3 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

White House: Immigration steps would boost wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Arthur Irving Weiner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 11/22/14

Ask a Designer: from clutter to decor

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for Nov. 22, 2014

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: HSR3

US 30-year mortgage rates drop to 3.99 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3