Monday, October 10, 2005

Democrats Can't Protect Their Own

Over at k/o, Kid Oakland does an excellent job breaking down the current status of four key propositions on the California ballot. These propositions are the core of Governor Schwarzenegger's attack on the Democratic Party in the state. The Governor's attack, funded and supported by his big money, big business allies, is directed as reducing the power of unions, giving the governor extra-ordinary fiscal powers and removing the majority Democrats (and the people) from redistricting decisions.

"Arnold is politically weak, but his agenda is winning. The state of the November propositions is exhibit A for this effect. Arnold, whose poll numbers remain in the toilet, has found more than one Achilles heel of California Democrats and is chomping away at all our weak points like a dog on a bone.

Or, we should say,
Arnold's corporate backers are chomping away at these weaknesses. Somehow, this critical piece of the puzzle, that these initiatives were set up by big business, has been neglected. Moneyed interests are pushing these initiatives, just like they did the candidacy of Arnold himself, to divide CA democrats right down the middle. Whether it's dividing our labor coalition from the rank and file, our pro-choice coalition from the "moderates" who've always said they support parental notification, or our reformers from our incumbents, let's face it, we've been split by big money. And when we're divided we lose; and that, more than anything, explains the fact that Arnold is weak while his agenda isn't.

Schwarzenegger's personal popularity continues to fall, but the propositions that he is supporting have strong support. In September, Arnold's approval rating was in negative territory, with 52% of voters registering disapproval. Yet, somewhere between 55% and 60% of voters support Arnold's position on four key ballot propositions.

Kid Oakland points out the key reason for the strong voters support of propositions designed to gut the Democratic Party, despite the obvious and growing voter distaste for Schwarzenegger. Democrats have failed to provide a convincing narrative to convince voters that these propositions are a full scale, special interest, assault on the rights of the people of the state.

"The way to oppose these propositions is the "one-two punch." We need to oppose the guy who pitched this expensive, unnecessary and trojan horse special election in the first place, and to create doubt about who's really behind them. Simply put, we've got to make Nov. 8th about Arnold and money. But that's just one part of our one-two punch, we also need common sense language on each of these propositions that makes our case to everyday Californians in straightforward and consistent terms. We need to create reasonable doubts in voters minds about the motivations and outcomes of these ballot initiatives."

Failure to defeat these propositions will weaken the Democratic Party in a key state. More critically, if such an attack on the core of the Democratic Party can succeed in California, how can it be stopped anywhere else? More simply: If Democrats can't protect themselves and their partners in California, how will they do so elsewhere?