Did you see the Tea Party victory in yesterday’s California election results? Or did you think all those Democrat wins in California were a sign that we’re completely out of touch with the rest of America? Take a closer look.
Back in my home state of South Carolina, Tea Party activists prescribed two medicines for Washington: government accountability, and fiscal restraint. Two medicines for what they believe is a broken national government.
Here in my home state of California, with its annual budget woes, that Tea Party prescription sounded really good. So what did we do?
Look at the results of the ballot measures through a Tea Party lens:
- We voted against legalizing marijuana. Maybe it was the specter of lots of government spending, to recreate all the law enforcement tools for stoned drivers. Maybe the slogan “if we legalize it, we can tax it” backfired. We don’t want more taxes.
- We kicked the legislators out of the redistricting process. If they get to draw their own district lines — gerrymandering is the technical term — they can draw them in funny ways so that their party can stay in office. No more! We want to be able to vote them out of office.
- We voted down the state park trust fund. We didn’t want more taxes. We rejected creating yet another government bureaucracy. We rejected this attempt at ballot box budgeting — we elect the legislators to work out the budget. We want them to be accountable.
- We vetoed the state government taking local funds. No, if the rules say that the state gets X% and the local governments get Y%, the state has to play by those rules. The state has to live within its means.
- We voted to keep the air pollution control law in place. If there is an economic price to pay for having clean air, the state government should have thought of that before they passed the law.
- We voted to keep the so-called “back room deal” that lowered the tax liability for businesses. Higher tax liability = higher taxes. We don’t want higher taxes, not for ourselves, and not for our employers!
- We voted for a simple majority to pass the budget, not the two-thirds majority. I’ve wanted this measure for a long time. If the majority of our elected legislators want to spend our taxes a certain way, great! Let them do it! And if we don’t like what they do with that sudden freedom to get things done, we’ll vote them out of office.
- We voted for a two-thirds majority to raise fees, closing a loophole that effectively allowed raising taxes without the two-thirds majority. We Californians know that a two-thirds majority in the legislature is hard. And that’s how hard we want it to be to raise taxes.
So yes, California voted for Democrats yesterday. But we voted for the Tea Party ideas. The question is, will our elected officials remember that, when they take office?