Frustration with single-party Democratic rule is rising in California

Californians are not feeling all the prosperity that California Democrats are often boasting about, and they are letting them know about it in a variety of ways.

Despite mailing ballots to all registered voters and moving its primary date up in the presidential calendar, California is currently on track for the lowest voter turnout in a primary in its history. California saw 33% turnout in 2022, with the record low being 31% in 2012. Based on the current number of mail-in ballots that have been returned ahead of next Tuesday’s Election Day, California is poised to break that record low.

Given California’s voter demographics, that likely means that it is mostly Democrats staying home. California is a single-party Democratic state, and voters simply aren’t buying Democratic Party urgency toward Senate and House primaries, the latter of which could end up deciding control of the chamber.

It isn’t just that Californian Democrats are so unenthused by state leadership that they are planning on staying home, either. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s approval rating is now underwater, with just 47% approving of his performance while 50% disapprove. It is the first time Newsom’s approval has dropped below 50% since November 2019. The Democrat-dominated state legislature is also underwater, with its approval-disapproval rating sitting at 43%-54%.

Newsom’s approval has dropped so noticeably that activists who pushed the recall election against him in 2021 are looking to capitalize on it by pushing another one.

The “why” isn’t hard to see here. California is facing a $73 billion budget deficit, nearly double what Newsom estimated. People and businesses have been fleeing the state due to the cost of living, crime, taxes, and other issues while California Democrats have prioritized using state money on health insurance for illegal immigrants. All the while, Newsom is trotting around the country as the top advocate for President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.

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Newsom’s disapproval and the lack of enthusiasm to vote among California Democrats reflect the reality that California Democratic voters are not impressed with the single-party rule of their party. They are not moved by fearmongering that Republicans like Senate candidate Steve Garvey are going to destroy the state because Democrats have been doing that slowly for years. You could say that California voters are feeling “malaise.”

None of this means much if those same voters are content to let Democrats continue to run the state into the ground, but the growing frustration is a good first step. California is supposed to be the Democratic Party’s model for the country, but it is instead a model for how to run a great state with abundant natural advantages into the ground.

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