This Buzzfeed article starts out a little shaky, seemingly giving credit to a Democratic government for everything that’s going right in California, but then it mentions the reasons that current government exists is, at least in part, because of two election reform measures former Republican governor Schwarzenegger helped to get passed before he left office, one which enforces nonpartisan redistricting, and another which allows voters to vote in any party primary, no matter their party affiliation. Whether or not Schwarzenegger intended for a solidly Democratic government to be installed into the state House and Governor’s office, that’s what happened. The result, if not the idea itself, is not to give more power directly to the people, but indirectly to better choose their leaders. This could result in a “more effective” government that can simply more easily pass bad legislation, or it could result in a government that actually knows what needs to be done and how to do it.
I’m absolutely in favor of election reform, whatever the consequences, if it means more transparency and accountability in government. It seems California may be on the right track. This year, the state even is closing in on something near to a balanced budget, which could be another byproduct of these reforms. I’m very interested to see further results from such political experiments in California and elsewhere, and I’d be interested to see them spread around the country–particularly to Washington.