California's Political Purple Reign

February 29, 2012 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections, Political Parties and Independents · 9 Comments 

California's real political colors, says a new report (Graphic: PPIC)

For years, we've talked about how the national color coded shorthand for California politics is overly simplistic. Yes, the state may be "blue" in total votes cast in some races -- presidential, most notably -- but the real color palette of California is far more complicated.

Which is where a new academic study comes in, one that shows just how politically complicated we Californians really are.
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California Republicans Try Balancing Act. Again.

February 26, 2012 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections, Political Parties and Independents · 3 Comments 

Republicans party the weekend away in Burlingame. (Photo: John Myers/KQED)

BURLINGAME-- This weekend's gathering of the California Republican Party provided another example of how hard it must be for a political party to dig itself out of a deep popularity hole, when every option comes with a downside.

Throw the party's base supporters some choice red meat... and risk that persuadable voters who tune into the media coverage recoil. But tamp down the fiery rhetoric in hopes of projecting a "kinder, gentler" image... and risk leaving the party faithful full of accusations that moderates are trying to water down the GOP brand.

'Tis a dilemma to be sure.
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Dems Day 2: Congressional "Erminators"

February 11, 2012 · Filed Under Elections, Political Parties and Independents · Comments Off 

Berman v. Sherman (Photos: John Myers/KQED)

SAN DIEGO -- Think Hatfields and McCoys. Or Corleones and Tattaglias. Now, think worse... and you start to get a feel for the animosity on display Saturday night between Rep. Howard Berman and Rep. Brad Sherman.

The two veteran Democratic pols, locked in a knife fight after redistricting landed them both in California's new 30th congressional district, came out swinging at a party endorsement caucus during the California Democratic Convention.

Sherman accused Berman of being bought by big corporations. Berman called Sherman "slightly pathetic." And in the end, the caucus took a pass at an endorsement.
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Dems Day 2: Brown Passes on Tax Pitch

Brown skips any tax initiative pitch. (Photo: John Myers/KQED)

SAN DIEGO -- Well, so much for the notion that Governor Jerry Brown would use his big speech at the California Democratic Party convention to pitch his November tax increase initiative.

In a speech running a little more than 11 minutes, and after volunteers handed out glossy signs that proclaimed, "Stand With Jerry," the governor told the party faithful to stand down… for now… on the tax issue.

"You'll get your marching orders soon enough," said Brown in a muted comment about the proposal.
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Dems Day 1: Come Together, Right Now

February 10, 2012 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections, Political Parties and Independents · Comments Off 

Hello, San Diego! (Photo: John Myers/KQED)

SAN DIEGO -- At every turn in the early hours of this 2012 California Democratic Party convention, you could hear party leaders urge the donkey-loving conventioneers to unite and fight. And yet even on day one, there were clear signs that there's a lot for Dems to sort out before it's all over... a lot of debating before they can come together for the election season ahead.

And the issues to debate come down to cash (as in taxes) and candidates.
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Dems Pre-Endorsements Presage Tough 2012

January 23, 2012 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections, Political Parties and Independents · 8 Comments 

The Democratic faithful cast early, early votes. (Photo via Twitter by Jason Moore)

For casual political watchers, it may be hard to believe that small gatherings of diehard Democrats in January will decide who wins races for the Legislature or Congress come November.

And yet, in some cases, that's exactly what could happen after this weekend. Welcome to the world of intraparty competition under California's new primary election rules.
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710,924 Signatures for Overturning Senate Map. And Yet...

Citizens Redistricting Commission

The sole challenge to the work of California's citizen redistricting panel appears to have crossed a significant milestone over the weekend, but still faces some tough odds to actually blocking the use of the panel's work in 2012.

Starting last Thursday and concluding on Sunday, the political team that pushed the referendum against the state Senate districts drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission turned in 710,924 signatures to elections officials in 57 California counties -- enough, they believe, to place the measure on the November 2012 ballot.
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Message or Messenger? California GOP Wrestles With Answer

September 18, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Political Parties and Independents · 3 Comments 

NOTE TO READERS: This will the last blogging until early October, as I take a break from the Capitol and political coverage. I also hope to bring back the weekly podcast at that time, which so many of you have asked about (and thank you, by the way!). See you in three weeks. --JM

Getty/Kevork Djansezian

LOS ANGELES -- The only thing more reliable at gatherings of the California Republican Party than intraparty warfare has been the familiar groan of the GOP faithful when asked, "What's wrong with the party?"

And perhaps that's what made this weekend's fall convention so unusual. No longer was it something talked about quietly or when pressed by reporters. This time it was a dominant theme... so much so that, at times, there seemed to be a collective therapy session for a party that some say has fallen to the level of "regional" political entity rather than actual statewide movement.
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Redistricting's Final, Controversial, Push

KQED/John Myers

As California's bold experiment with independent redistricting enters the homestretch, it's clear that drawing political boundaries is neither simple nor without controversy.

And for the 14 men and women picked to do the work, the questions will soon be: can it be done unanimously? And can the work product pass legal muster?
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Round 1 of Political Mapping Complete

June 10, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections, Political Parties and Independents · Comments Off 

California's much anticipated transition to new and independently drawn political boundaries has cleared a big hurdle, with the citizens commission created by voters in 2008 releasing draft legislative and congressional maps.

And now, some irony. Perhaps the single biggest desire of the voters was to change the political culture of the state... and yet, political ramifications were the one thing the 14 citizen commissioners expressly did not consider.
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