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PROVIDENCE, R.I.--California has found a formula for ending the partisan warfare that once paralyzed its government: Get rid of one of the parties--in this case, the Republican. The state's famously dysfunctional government now hums with calm efficiency.
Democrats there hold a supermajority in the state legislature, making it well-nigh impossible for Republicans to gum up their plans. The governor, Jerry Brown, is a Democrat, as well.
The nation might avail itself of a similar solution, given the Republican leadership's inability to stop a destructive minority from threatening America's credit rating and turning the country into a global laughingstock (the way California used to be). Moving the House of Representatives into Democratic hands might give us all a needed rest.
But one-party rule can be only a temporary fix. It leads to corruption and arrogance. A Democratic frolic untempered by a sophisticated opposition would soon sour in the mouths of a centrist electorate.
Furthermore, it is California's good fortune that Brown is a business-savvy pragmatist able
Looking long-term, the really important thing happening in California is not the partisan takeover but the political makeover. In 2008 and 2010, California voters passed measures that yanked the pencil for drawing political boundaries out of their politicians' grasp. Before then, incumbents could scheme
The new law also ditched party primaries. The top two vote-getters in an open primary--from whatever party or no party--get to appear on the general election ballot. Thus, a Republican may end up running against another Republican, a Democrat against another Democrat, or either against a Whig.
Ironically, this may be the saving grace for California's much-shrunken GOP. As districts become more politically diverse, Republican right-wingers--with their inflamed imaginings and inexplicable amount of free time--see their power to produce sure losers curbed.