1. Voters aren't ready to dismantle their government – yet.
Despite a presidential campaign that featured one side that wanted to dismantle government as we know it, Americans sent a strong message that they understand and appreciate what government does in our society, and even though they get frustrated they still support it. This was apparent in results from Washington, D.C., where voters returned to office a president who supports higher taxes and promotes greater access to health care, to Sacramento, where they handily approved tax hikes via Proposition 30, to local school districts, where most of Sonoma County's parcel tax and bond measures were approved.
2. Jerry Brown may possess some magical powers.
California's governor pulled a rabbit out of a hat with the passage of Proposition 30. Polls and pundits predicted the tax initiative would fail on Election Day, particularly when Brown decided to be the primary voice of the campaign. The 74-year-old governor was criticized as too old to connect with the younger voters he needed to pass the initiative. Critics said his request for new taxes wouldn't fly at the same time Brown was touting a $68 billion high-speed rail project and another big-ticket plan to upgrade the state's water-delivery system. Prognosticators pronounced Prop. 30 dead following the scandal in which the state Parks Department “found” $54 million in unspent funds lying around at the same time the department was threatening to close parks around the state. Under all of that weight, Prop 30. won by 8 percent in what Brown called “a vote of confidence with some reservations.”
3. Don't mess with the union vote.
Gov. Brown's victory with Prop. 30 may have as much to do with Prop. 32 as it does with his magical powers. When corporate interests and wealthy Republican activists decided to take on unions with a proposition that would cut off unions' political money, California's labor groups and their Democratic allies fought back with impressive ferocity. They spent more than $60 million to fight Prop. 32, including a huge get-out-the-vote effort featuring robo-calls by Bill Clinton. That mobilization effort not only resulted in a 12-percentage-point smack-down of Prop. 32, but it's also being credited for helping lift Prop. 30 to victory and even is mentioned as part of the reason we have new Democratic super-majorities in the state Legislature.