Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Conan the Destroyer...

Iraq's fledgling democracy has taken another step forward with the help of our fighting men and women, but democracy is not doing well everywhere. What if I told you there was a nation where all 100 contested parliament seats were won by the incumbent member or the imcumbent party's candidate when the incumbent member had died or retired? Would you say that democracy was doing well? No?

Well, that democratic state is California. The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) had this to say in their report (PDF) on the 2004 California Election:

The status quo reigns in California’s Congressional Delegation.

Of the 53 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 51 incumbents were up for reelection this year and all were reelected. In the two open seats, a Democrat and a Republican were elected to office. In January, California will send 33 Democrats and 20 Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives, reflecting no change in the partisan balance of the state delegation.

The State Legislature's partisan makeup is unchanged.

Legislative elections were held for all 80 of the two-year seats in the State Assembly, and 20 of the four-year seats in the 40-member State Senate. Incumbents won all of their State Senate races (10) and State Assembly races (56). Although there were 18 open seats in the State Assembly and 8 in the Senate due to term limit vacancies, there is no change in the partisan makeup of the new State Assembly (48 Democrats, 32 Republicans) and State Senate (25 Democrats, 15 Republicans).

I can't think of a more damning assessment of the corruption in the California State government. Fortunately, we have Conan the Destroyer as our Governor, and he has introduced legislation to the Assembly that would destroy the gerrymandering currently inhibiting democracy in the state. Predictably, the Assembly has not even sent the bill to committee, but there is now a signature drive underway that will get the bill on the ballot in a special election. I suspect the signature drive will be successful and that the voters will pass this legislation with an overwhelming majority.

Conan, what is good in life? To crush the losers, to drive the special interests from Sacramento, and to hear the lamentations of the gurly-men!

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