Rose Institute Associate Director Kenneth Miller and Rose Institute Board Member Tony Quinn served together on a panel at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies conference, held last week on January 21st and 22nd. The conference aimed to provide in-depth analysis of the California governor’s race. More information, including a detailed schedule of events,Â can be found here.
Quinn and Miller were on a panel titled “In Blue California, Do Campaigns Matter?” Also on the panel were Thad Kousser of UC San Diego and Kim Nadler ofÂ SacramentoÂ State University. In the discussion, Quinn argued that the better move for Republicans would have been to “stress fiscal issues rather than hot button issues such as immigration,” pointing to the election of Republican Chris Christie as Governor of New Jersey, a blue state, in 2008. Quinn also cautioned not counting the GOP out too soon, noting that in 1964, “Republicans took a terrible beating” but then won with Ronald Reagan, “a B-movie actor that had never run for public office in his life.” Quinn believes that Republicans might make a comeback if “the coming political division is going to be between working California and the public sector.”
Miller said that by exempting police and firefighting unions from much of her proposed pension reforms, Whitman “certainly didn’t help herself by compromising herself.” Miller also argued that “the terrain for Republicans is just incredibly difficult,” due to their registration disadvantage. He believes that Republicans victories will be a “rare exception” unless the GOP finds broader appeal, especially among minorities.
The conference wasÂ well covered by theÂ news media, including the New York Times, theÂ Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Mercury News. A webcast will be available soon and a book summarizing the conference’s findings and discussion will be published later this year.