An LA Times article outlines the centrist make-up of the GOP candidate field for the 2010 gubernatorial race. Much like Arnold, Poizner, Whitman, and Campbell are campaigning on a strong, fiscally conservative bent and a moderate stance on controversial social issues. Many pundits believe Jerry Brown, if he runs uncontested on the Democratic side, will attempt to launch a more centrist campaign as well.
On the surface, adopting a less-partisan, more centrist approach seems to reflect the electoral composition of the golden state, and in theory, it opens the door to more effective lawmaking. But, Governor Schwarzenegger, a self-proclaimed centrist, who leans left on social & environmental issues, but right on fiscal matters, has accomplished very little in instituting meaningful reform in California politics. Of course, the Legislature deserves its fair share of the blame, but as they say, “The buck stops here.” Despite Schwarzenegger’s proclamations of post-partisan politics and centrist stances, the state is suffering from devastating debt, huge budget deficits, record unemployment, and poor marks in virtually all the major economic categories.
Does this mean the state should adopt a more hard-line partisan approach to solving its multi-faceted problems? One need only observe the glaring ineffectiveness of a Legislature largely divided by strict partisanship. In addition, more overt partisanship would not resolve the outstanding issues, especially considering the steady rise in Independent voters. So, what can be done to reform California politics if both approaches (centrist/partisan) have failed?
While there’s no shortage of ideas, over the coming months, CAIVP will begin engaging voters and legislators on three key issues: the Top Two Primary, Campaign Finance Reform, and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Increasing voter participation, opening up primary battles to multiple candidates and multiple parties, restoring accountability to public elections, and preserving the economic viability of the middle class will serve as the pillars of reform. Stay tuned as CAIVP presents its robust model for genuine reform to a public desperate for change.