John Garamendi appeared on Angie Coiro’s Live From The Left Coast with Professor George Lakoff and our own David Atkins to talk about the California Democracy Act, Lakoff’s one-line initiative which would change all legislative actions on budget and revenue to a majority vote. Listen at around 13:00 for Garamendi’s remarks endorsing Lakoff’s approach.
Garamendi: Well, if you put a proposition or a Constitutional amendment on the ballot, and it says, gives the legislature a majority vote to raise taxes and a budget, or one or the other, it’s likely to be turned down. You know, that’s, the polling indicates that, there are issues that have come up before, there was one I think two years ago that was on the ballot, it was turned down (it was 2004 -ed.). That was 55% for budgeting. The fundamental problem is, we’re not framing the issue, we’re not putting the proper issue to the people, and I think that was the common error from just a moment ago. If you make it about the budget, if you make it about taxes, I think you’re sure to lose. If you make it about the very nature of democracy, all the way back to the Greek, the Greek civilization and the start of democracy, it was a majority. It was a majority situation, and here we are in this day and age in America where we really have thrown majority out, and we, in California at least, we are faced with minority rule, and some would say the tyranny of the minority. Which is exactly what’s happened in the last two or three decades now, when it’s come time for tight budgets and tight situations, urgency bills, as well as budget or tax bills. So I think we need to have a new discussion about what is the nature of our democracy.
While not an explicit endorsement, this mirrors Lakoff’s theory on how to properly put together this kind of initiative. The majority rule theory is fairly rooted in the American imagination, and that’s really the only way to explain this to people. There isn’t enough of a sense that we have minority rule right now, and that this tyranny of the minority is largely the cause of the state’s dysfunction over the last several decades. This is more than anything an education project, and Garamendi appears to understand it.
We’re a democracy, we elected these people, let them do their jobs, and if we don’t like what they do, we’ll throw them out the next election.
Majority rule is an accountability measure. People currently have everyone and no one to blame for the problems of the state. Democrats can blame the rules, Republicans can blame the Democrats. Majority rule would make things much clearer for the public.
This is an important turning point, to have someone like Garamendi openly siding with the concept of the Lakoff initiative in what is fast becoming a grassroots/establishment split. The folks at CA Majority Rule are still raising money for a poll to prove their concept as one that can work with voters. I suggest you give it strong consideration.