Proof That California’s Republicans Are Crazy

NPATDo you remember the 2008 primary, when all of the nation’s media was in love with talking about how California’s Republicans were sooooo liberal.  And remember how us Democrats here in California laughed at that notion? Well, here’s some proof.

Some math/political nerds at the University of Chicago did some analysis of the two parties in each state Legislature and compared them with other states and the Congress. I’m clearly not doing the math of that justice, but you can find the full details at the author Boris Shor’s blog.  Apparently he has a paper coming out soon that will explain a lot more about how he got to these numbers.  

But for a general explanation, left is liberal and right is conservative, with 0 being the base.  As you can see California’s legislative Dems are amongst the most liberal, and are about the same as several other states that you’d expect to see us tied with: New York and Washington, and some that you wouldn’t Utah and Arizona.  But to those who say that you’d expect California Republicans to be moderate: hear me now and believe me later: They are as wingnut as you get.

No other state is even close to our wingnut Republicans.  They are waaaay to the right of even states like Georgia and Wyoming. No other state is really even close.

Some will blame this on districting, but I will instead point them to the simple fact that we Californians have self-sorted ourselves better than any other state.  Democrats hang out in certain counties, and Republicans in others. And the Republican primary electorate consistently organizes around the most conservative candidate.

And so we get our right-wing Republicans in the Legislature and nothing actually gets done to help the state. Yay, us!

UPDATE: On a related note, the Republicans have now reached a new low in popularity across the nation.

6 thoughts on “Proof That California’s Republicans Are Crazy”

  1. Washington’s partisan breakdown is extremely similar to ours. Yet the state’s districts – both state and federal – have been drawn by a nonpartisan commission since 1983.

    I don’t know how Colorado draws its districts, but it too exhibits a very similar distribution to CA.

  2.   Districts have nothing to do with it.  The 2/3rds vote

    requirement for budget and taxes allows Reps to move to the

    right and still maintain power.  As can be seen in the last budget cycle, it’s a lot of power.

     Only two other states (Rhode Island and Arkansas) have a supermajority for the budget and in both those states, approximately 75% of the legislature is Democrat.  So

    California is unique among states.  The US Senate is where you have to go for similar consequential supermajority–see how difficult getting health care through is even though the Democrats have 60 senators.  Also, the Senate has a safety-valve called reconcilation (the equivalent of our majority-vote fee increase).

     Incidentally, for anyone who is still worried about the constitutionality of a majority-vote fee increase tax swap,

    California Supreme Court Chief Justice George’s comments on the 2/3rds vote requirement was a clarion call.  This current court would not have allowed Prop 13 (single subject/revisions) and they will uphold the majority rule fee increase, which we will desperately need in 2011 after the temporary tax hikes go away.

     Here’s what the plan should be.  Increase taxes on wealthy (income/property)–give a rebate to ever house

    in the state for overpayment of sales tax.  Then when the Reps try to referenda, this rebate check will have to be returned to the state.  So voters will be voting to send money back to the state if they vote to refernda.

  3. governance in ways that Jarvis and the “save Grandma’s home” voters could never have imagined.

    This is a terrific chart. Are half of Mississippi’s Dems really more conservative that all of Oregon’s Pubs? Wow. Who’s the “big tent” party now?

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