Hey all, I voted today! By which I mean I mailed my ballot, the less-glamorous but more convenient way that my state makes it easy to do. Probably the most interesting vote I made was for a Republican, Tim Donnelly, for governor. What are you, insane??You might ask.?After all, this?is the guy who just alleged that?one of his opponents (an Indian-American Republican, FYI) supports imposing that perpetual bugaboo of the insane right, Shari’a law. That’s right.?Tim’s a very special politician, the kind of guy who says the sorts of things that conservative radio hosts say but that GOP politicians generally don’t say aloud, especially in blue states.?He’s also a former Minuteman?and is the wonderful piece of humanity behind this short-lived piece of trans panic:

Seriously, you don’t have to go too far to figure out this guy is a walking melange of Tea Party id, someone who wears his contempt for anyone different on his sleeve and uses flamethrower language with abandon. So I voted for this guy?

Yes, I absolutely did, and so should you.

Really, the importance of Donnelly’s getting into the top two cannot be overstated for progressives because a Brown vs. Donnelly race would almost certainly lead to an enormous Brown landslide and coattails for other Democrats in the state. Yes, it would also be a black eye for the GOP, though Donnelly basically believes the same things they do, he just says them plainly instead of elliptically. Really, the supreme hateability of Donnelly among, well, all the groups previously mentioned (who happen to make up much of the Democrats’ base here) would result in a gigantic Jerry Brown landslide. Donnelly’s tendency to be mouthy–which he’s shown neither the capacity nor the inclination to restrain–would make him an epically terrible candidate for the state’s top job, an office that Republicans have been able to win in recent times when they’ve run candidates attuned to the politics of the state. Donnelly either is deluded about these politics, as failed gubernatorial candidate and ex-Rep. Dan Lungren was, or he simply does not care and?just wants to get more media attention, perhaps?in order to parley his political career into a future in the conservative-media complex much like Herman Cain’s presidential “run” last time. Considering California’s term limits, I can’t entirely blame him. In any event, Donnelly isn’t even trying to be a credible threat to Brown, he’s just being himself. And nobody (and I do mean nobody) sees him as electable.

Why does this matter? Because CA-GOV?isn’t the only important race for California Democrats this fall, as it is a foregone conclusion and only the margin is at stake. What is not a foregone conclusion is whether Democrats are able to maintain our?2/3 supermajority in the state legislature. If we fall below 2/3, then Republicans will once again be able to cause trouble, though no longer will they be able to stop budgets–the voters took that power away from them in 2010. They can, however, still create problems on taxes. Thanks to Jerry Brown and the state’s legislative leadership, the state’s economy is looking up, but more importantly, state government has gone from crisis-ridden and irresponsible to streamlined and professional.?That this occurred during the period where Republicans lost virtually all their power in the state is no coincidence, and while the old days are gone for good, doing anything to fix the admittedly ridiculous state tax system will be impossible without 2/3. We have here extremely high income and sales taxes but no taxes whatsoever on services, and?famously low property taxes that primarily benefit realtors by keeping housing prices high, and large businesses who are still operating on assessments from decades ago in some cases. It’s nobody’s idea of a sensible, efficient tax system and a full-on overhaul is long overdue. One suspects that Brown’s tangential role in screwing it all up in the first place by supporting Prop 13 would?make him eager to fix these problems, which could foster economic growth and create new revenues. Not possible without the supermajority.

Also, there’s the problem of the nation’s legislature. Republican control of the U.S. House has led to the strangling of numerous popular bills, even ones that managed to get out of the Senate with bipartisan support. Immigration reform, ENDA, energy, take your pick. Counting on bipartisanship and mutual understanding didn’t work in Sacramento and it hasn’t in Washington either, taking away Republicans’ power was the only way to make things work here and is the only option there. Looking over the state’s House races, the 31st District is a sure flip from red-to-blue,?but the 21st and the 10th will be tougher–both are Obama-won districts that sport non-insane, talented Republican incumbents. However, in a base election either or both could fall. And if it gets really bad, the SoCal seat vacated by Buck McKeon and the one held by Rep. Ed Royce could conceivably (if not necessarily likely) come into play. What is very likely, though, is that none of these people relishes the idea of sharing a ticket with an impolitic extremist like Tim Donnelly. At the very least, they’ll have to work harder, use more resources. That’s less?money getting kicked back to the NRCC, to be used elsewhere.

So, ultimately, it’s strongly in your interest as progressives to vote for terrible person Tim Donnelly in June and for Jerry Brown in November. Do it. Hoist the Tea Party by its own petard!


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