Column: California voters don’t like where the state’s headed. But they still want Newsom in office, and the new governor won’t back down from his state’s most progressive agenda.
By Daniel Strauss and Matt Stevens
When you go into the state of California, especially the vast western and northern portions of the state, you get the feeling that most citizens just want a little more of what’s best for their families and communities. This is especially true of some of the more traditional parts of the state, yet the vast majority of voters in this state remain extremely progressive and supportive of the California Dream of a high quality of life for working families and the state’s businesses and families.
Although California remains a deeply traditional state with a long history of strong progressive values and a pro-business and pro-worker ethic, the state has also become one of the most progressive in the nation. It’s no secret that the state’s economy, its job creation, its economic growth and its prosperity are among the best in the nation.
California’s economy has been strong for a decade and, for some, a decade longer than the national average. Yet, as California prospered and expanded, it was still the most unequal state in the nation, and voters were not only becoming increasingly progressive, but were embracing a new political identity with the “Californians for Innovation,” “Californians for Common Sense,” and “Californians for a Responsible Budget.”
Voters’ sense of the state’s growing equality and opportunity was on full display in the 2018 election when California voters passed Proposition 54. The measure, which would have dramatically increased the minimum wage in the state from the current $8 an hour to $15 an hour, won approval by a lopsided 51% to 49% of the vote, and was opposed by over 60% of California’s Republican voters.
And in addition to passing Proposition 54, the measure also won approval of Proposition 57, a groundbreaking initiative that will take California one step closer to ending poverty in California by doubling the state’s minimum wage by 2024 to $15 an hour for every worker in the state.
California voters also passed the Measure B and Measure C initiatives to establish rent control and improve the state’s housing crisis. Voters also rejected the statewide Prop. 26, a measure that would have