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California politicians are recklessly ignoring a maxim that says plebiscites backfire, much to their peril and the peril of the state as a whole, says Zócalo Public Square columnist Joe Mathews. Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom are both risking political capital and progress on important issues by taking initiatives directly to voters this fall. Mathews says we should be skeptical of politicians trying to increase their power by going outside the normal mechanisms of government. Anyone recall how Brexit turned out for former British Prime Minster David Cameron?

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