PPIC: California’s Post-Partisan Future

Lisa Vorderbrueggen’s article from insidebayarea.com gives the PPIC some press for its recent report, “California’s Post-Partisan Future” (full pdf; press release):

GOP spokesman Hector Barajas agreed with Baldessare’s call for redistricting reforms that would strip the Legislature of control over its own district boundaries. The current lines were drawn by both parties to protect the incumbents and give them and their parties safe seats.”

With a $14 billion deficit facing California, the threat of a release of inmates and the closure of state parks, are any incumbents in danger of losing their jobs?” Barajas asked. “Without accountability, voters become disenfranchised.”

Baldessare acknowledges that incumbent lawmakers and political parties have little incentive to adopt reforms that reduce their power.

The PPIC press conference on the report will be held today. The report itself cites evidence that partisanship amongst Californians is waning: “If current registration trends continue, there will be more independents than either Republicans or Democrats by 2025,” says the press release. A snipper from the report:

Both the partisan divide and the growth of nonpartisanship have important consequences for the democratic process. As the party rolls shrink and Democratic and Republican voters reflect views of the opposite ends of the political spectrum, the results of party votes in state primaries will inevitably result in a polarization of the legislative branch. Because our redistricting process has been built for incumbent protection in local districts, the Democratic and Republican offi cials elected to represent the voters in the legislature will reflect liberal and conservative rather than more centrist views.

One of the reform proposals:

Future legislative redistricting could focus on party competition rather than incumbent advantages. In line with state trends, local elections with partisan parity would be decided by centrist and independent voters.

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