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California’s Future: Political Landscape

Eric McGhee, Dean Bonner | January 2019


California has a new Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, with a Democratic supermajority in the legislature that can pass tax increases without Republican support. This opens the possibility for significant policy changes. It also continues the state’s movement toward the sort of one-party dominance that carries a risk of lower accountability, particularly when it comes to decisions made outside the public spotlight. The California electorate is generally supportive of the new governor’s agenda, as well as the state’s opposition to some federal policies. But Californians see some areas as more important than others. Also, while California’s voter turnout has improved, it continues to lag behind turnout in other states, and the electorate does not reflect the state’s diverse population. This raises questions about whether California’s government can represent the broader population.

This publication is part of a briefing kit that highlights our state’s most pressing long-term policy challenges in 11 key areas:

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the PPIC Corporate Circle and the PPIC Donor Circle.

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