FROM Bruce Cain
GOP Presidential Hopefuls Descend on California All three GOP presidential candidates are in California this weekend for the Republican Party convention. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich will all speak and schmooze throughout the state, but Trump is the candidate being met with the most public support and opposition – thousands of protesters gathered Friday outside of the Burlingame hotel while Trump addressed the convention. It’s the first time in decades that California will make a difference in picking the GOP nominee.
New Rules Raise New Questions about California Politics The turnout currently stands at 24 percent, although that could rise to 30 percent once late mail-in and provisional ballots are counted. So it's still not certain that Proposition 29, the tax increase on cigarettes, has been defeated, but it’s a very close call. Is that a surprise given California’s record on regulating tobacco? What does it mean for tax increases in the near future?
How Is America Reacting to the Debt Ceiling Drama? Nobody knows what the first default in US government history might look like, and it might take until midnight Tuesday before the world knows whether it's going to happen. The House and the Senate are still going in different directions. They look like they're working hard, but it doesn't appear they can resolve the debt-ceiling issue before the weekend. Informal surveys of ordinary Americans are getting responses like "shameful," lunacy," "clowns" and "embarrassment." How does it look in various parts of the country?
How Does Gridlock Look from Outside the Beltway? As the debt-ceiling deadline looms, House Speaker John Boehner has been challenged by his own Republican majority. After re-working his plan for spending cuts and reducing the deficit, he held a news conference early this afternoon, telling reporters, "When the House takes action today, the US Senate will have no more excuse for inaction." A few hours before that, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said of the Boehner plan, "There is no question that this bill is a political act that has no life beyond its current existence in the House." Have Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill and at the White House lost touch with the American people? Does the President look like a weak leader? Do Republicans look like they’re out to get him? Do voters worried about their 401(k)’s wish a plague on both houses? We talk with reporters and other observers in different parts of the country.
Should States Declare Bankruptcy? The federal deficit is disturbing, but Washington can print money. The states have to balance their budgets, and the total of shortfalls around the country is at $82 billion. Nobody wants to raise taxes, and even massive cuts aren't likely to make up the differences. As we've just heard, bankruptcy has been suggested.
Should States Declare Bankruptcy? The federal deficit is disturbing, but Washington can print money. The states have to balance their budgets, and the total of shortfalls around the country adds up to $82 billion. Nobody wants to raise taxes and even massive cuts, which threaten the sick, public schools and infrastructure, aren't likely to make up the differences. What about bankruptcy? Currently it's against the law, and even talking out loud might disrupt the municipal bond market. Forget about any federal bailout. The conservative movement sees a chance to shrink government once and for all. We hear which states are the worst off and how their decisions might shape the United States for years to come.
Jerry Brown MIA on the Campaign Trail Meg Whitman has already spent $90 million on her campaign for governor, pumping out position papers and filling the airways with TV commercials. Although the Republican candidate has never held elective office, the Field Poll says she’s just one point behind California’s most experienced politician. Attorney General Jerry Brown had no opposition for the Democratic nomination and didn’t need a campaign, and so far, he doesn’t have one. Bruce Cain is Director of the University of California Center in Washington, DC.
California's Shifting Demography For 30 years, the United States has seen the rapid growth of immigration from foreign countries. Now, the US Census Bureau says the increase has come to an end . In California, immigration actually declined last year by almost 2%. Apparently it's all about the economy.
Could a Constitutional Convention Fix California Government? Everybody agrees that Sacramento's race toward disaster is not just because the current leadership is incompetent. It's also blamed on a government structure , which has not been systematically reformed since 1879. A bipartisan group financed in part by Yahoo and Google held forums this weekend in Los Angeles and Santa Monica to drum up support for a constitutional convention .
A California Drama without a Hollywood Ending Yesterday, while voters were trashing his ballot measures , the Governor was at the Obama White House for a photo-op on the federal adoption of California’s mileage standards. This morning, he was still in Washington. But Schwarzenegger's favorability rating has plunged into the low 30’s and, after yesterday’s election, all he can do is pick up the pieces. Five ballot measures suffered resounding defeat, leaving the state with a deficit of $21 billion -- larger than the entire budgets of most other states.
A California Drama without a Hollywood Ending Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says he came "to fix what is broken in California." But his favorability rating has plunged into the low 30's and, after yesterday's election , all he can do is pick up the pieces. Five ballot measures suffered resounding defeat, leaving the state with a deficit of $21 billion -- larger than the entire budgets of most other states. The biggest state in the union now faces massive cutbacks in healthcare, education, prisons and other services. Will Washington provide a bailout? Is the crisis due to a failure of leadership or the voters themselves? If California is "ungovernable," what does that mean for the rest of the country?
Picking Up the Pieces of Super Tuesday Despite the support of Governor Schwarzenegger, Prop 93 failed in yesterday’s election. It was a legislative term-limits measure that would have saved current leaders from being termed out at the end of this year. Now Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata—both Democrats—are lame ducks. Today, the Governor told the Sacramento Bee’s Editorial Board, “I really wanted some of those guys to stay.”
Can Angelides Terminate Schwarzenegger's Political Career? State Treasurer Phil Angelides defeated Controller Steve Westly to get the Democratic nomination for Governor. Now, some of Westly’s supporters say the Angelides campaign is dragging down the rest of the party’s ticket. Democrats in the legislature have made deals with the Governor, depriving Angelides of some potent issues. At last weekend's party convention, Governor Schwarzenegger told Republicans that his Democratic opponent wants to, "increase the car tax, the sales tax, the property tax, the farm equipment tax, the income tax, and the alcohol tax." Angelides discusses the support of his party, which taxes he really wants to raise and why he'd be a better governor than Arnold Schwarzenegger .
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.