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California: Politics Pacesetter for the Country

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BOSTICK REPORT-As the curtains fell on the California Democratic Party Convention this past Sunday, it became abundantly clear that our state will spend the next two years determining what our nation’s political identity looks like. That debate will rest less with the moot battle of Republican versus Democrat and more within the mire of who is the best Democrat. 

I’m excited to see our party focus on this much more growth-oriented discussion and eager to see how the progressive ideals we hold near to the heart of the Democratic Party can be employed to build a robust economy that protects the assets we have here in our environment, labor market, and educational system. This, to me, is the conversation we need to have and the conversation it appears that we will pursue. 

Sounds partisan, I know, and if you’re a Republican, it probably bites at the core of what might sound unfair to you. But, the numbers tell the story. Republicans are dwindling, Democrats are slowly growing, and Independents are exploding in numbers. Under the supermajority rule of Democrats, we stand to face the reality that will soon face the rest of the nation: what happens under a strong Democratic Party with Independents all around us? 

This partisan debate, more so than the one that will continue to plague Washington while we work to set the tone for the future of Washington, represents something more positive. It’s the natural next step in our growth as a nation and it’s the result of what can only be deemed a magical confluence of circumstances. But right now, it’s only happening here in California.  Why? 

First, top two primaries shed us of old line partisanship battles of elephants and donkeys. They allowed voters to express their support more for people than for parties, but because there are nominally more Democrats than Republicans, this first phase has taken us to California’s natural partisan identity: Democratic. We hold the assembly, the state senate, and the statewide offices. This is good and has translated into financial stability and a solid foundation to move forward. 

The next steps are developing now – in our convention this weekend, and in the election cycle before us. This internal debate though destined to be passionate and somewhat divisive, is forward momentum. Nobody said it was going to be pretty and I doubt it will be attractive. Regardless, here we are. 

If the previous two years in California marked the start of a national Republican shakeout, the next two years here at home may mark the beginning of a bear market in the terms of an ideological crisis, but internally. 

Friction is good, though, as long as it’s because you are moving forward through new terrain. When you’re simply digging deeper into the trenches of your own echo chamber, however, the friction is more destructive than constructive. 

That’s the difference between what will plague progress on the federal level and buoy it here at home. Our identity crisis is rooted in the kind of internal debates that incite personal growth whereas the “debates” that grind our federal congress to a halt are simply the same old external debates whose total potential to effect positive change has been exhausted. Well, California’s moving on. 

And move on we did. Our convention resulted in the start of a conversation and my takeaway was simple. It is that this coming election cycle will see the development of two factions within the Democratic Party divided over two sides of sustainability: one economic and one rooted in ideology. 

Through this lens, we will see the gradual shaping of a Democrat who articulates the vision of an economy that embraces living wages, pushes for business policies that celebrate the creation of jobs that add value to our community, and advocates for environmental policies that promote sustainable growth. 

It’s somewhat the same old fight but within the spectrum of an internal battle that promises to pave the way for real forward momentum. That much is clear to me after this convention and not much else. Not what that Democrat will look like or who it might be, just the idea of it developing before us. 

Outside of that big question, there was one more thing that struck me as clear. The Jewish Community Ice Cream Social on Saturday night is still the best event. But, maybe I’m biased.

 

(Odysseus Bostick is a Los Angeles teacher and former candidate for the Los Angeles City Council. He writes The Bostick Report for CityWatch.)

-cw

 

 

 

 

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 12 Issue 21

Pub: Mar 11, 2014

 

 

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