California Democrats: at a new ethical low and digging furiously

The Los Angeles Times reports that California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and “more than a dozen Congressional Democrats” have donated $160,000 to a campaign for a voter initiative to overturn Proposition 11. That’s the 2008 initiative that gave a nonpartisan commission the power to set state legislative district boundaries.

Up to now California legislators have designed their own districts (like the California 38th congressional district shown above) to maximize their job security. In effect they choose their voters, instead of the voters choosing their legislators. Result: In California in 2008, every incumbent running for reelection won—51 congressmen, 9 state senators, and 52 assemblymen. And only nine seats have changed parties in 648 California legislative and congressional races in the last four election cycles (2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008) combined. Or looking at it like a betting person, the incumbent party has a 981/2 percent chance of holding on to each seat. Stalin and Mao would have been impressed.

The current system ensures dysfunctional politics. Legislators get a free ride in general elections. They need only win in their primary. So the Democrats appeal to the far left, the Republicans to the far right, and they all get reelected. The vast majority of voters and the non-voters? They get bad government.

The people mustered a 51-49 majority to fix the system with Prop. 11. The politicians are clawing back for their own selfish interests.

Shame on them.

Read The Ethics Challenge: Strengthening Your Integrity in a Greedy World

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One Response to “California Democrats: at a new ethical low and digging furiously”

  1. Can the center hold? Can America be governed? « Ethics Bob Says:

    […] written here about the destructive effect of gerrymandering in California, where every legislative seat is safe […]

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