By Gordon Clanton
Stay home. A recent Field poll found that one in four California voters say they pay little attention to news about government and politics. About 40 percent follow political news “Most of the time.” About one-third said, “Some of the time.” About one-fourth said, “Only now and then” or “Hardly at all” or “Wha’?” This number is up from 20 percent in 1999, 16 percent in 1979. A grim trend.
Voters who see themselves as independents were the least likely to pay attention to political news. We can only hope that the least well informed are also the least likely to vote.
Sometimes when I see those well-meaning non-partisan public service announcements urging everyone to vote, I find myself musing, “No. No. If you don’t know what’s going on here, please stay home, and let those of us who have done our homework settle this thing among ourselves.”
Demografix. A recent survey by the right-leaning Reason Foundation brings bad news for Republicans. The poll found that the millennial generation (born after 1980) is racially diverse, socially tolerant, pro-pot, and supportive of same-sex marriage. Three-fourths want the government to guarantee food and housing to all Americans. Similarly, a recent Pew survey found that almost 60 percent of Americans under 30 believe the government should do more to solve the problems facing the country, while majorities in all other age groups said government should do less.
Pick six. Although I never saw their solicitors around here, a statewide initiative campaign that would split California into six states recently submitted 1.3 million signatures to Sacramento. If 808,000 signatures are valid, the matter may appear on the 2016 ballot. Late-night TV comics everywhere rejoice.
The proposed gerrymander, funded by one rich guy from Silly-Con Valley, is a transparent attempt to weaken Democratic influence in state government and in California’s Congressional delegation – and to create business-friendly zones, free from all those pesky taxes, environmental constraints, and workplace regulations from Sacramento.
Here is a Swiftean alternative: Let’s simply declare that each of California’s 58 counties is now a state. State government, as we know it, would be abolished, with huge financial savings. Each county seat becomes a state capital. Each county jail becomes a state prison. Each sheriff becomes chief of the state police. A cousin of the sheriff becomes head of the DMV. And California gets 116 US senators . . .
Gordon Clanton teaches Sociology at San Diego State University and writes about San Diego-area politics. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.