California Crack-Up. We can save ourselves!

We just have to want to.

“On the one hand, … a system of single-member legislative districts elected by plurality. …”

“On the other hand, … superimposed in the first system a second political system: a constitutional web of rules requiring super-majority legislative agreement about the very subjects—spending and taxes—over which the parties and the electorate are most polarized. The driving principle of this second system? Do nothing important without broad consensus. In practice, let the minority rule.”

“And then on the third hand … in response to gridlock, voters have repeatedly used the initiative process, another majoritarian institution, to override the consensus principle, which was itself put in place to check the majority-rule principle.”

“The collision of these three systems and two contradictory governing principles—one majoritarian, one so focused on consensus that it amounts to minority rule—has produced gridlock, rising debt, and political schizophrenia. And that in turn has led to all the expected symptoms in California, including apathy, delusion, disordered thinking, and the citizen anger see in polls …”


“California doesn’t work because it can’t work.”
Pages 10 and 11, California Crackup. How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It, by Joe Mathews and Mark Paul, University of California Press, 2010, ISBN: 9780520266568

This is a very good book. Everyone should read it.

Update 071310: sorry about the typos, I thought I caught them in the draft.

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