What’s the political future hold for California next year?
-- Braced in Bolinas
Dear Braced –
The envelope, please.
California’s Legislature will become Democrat-controlled with super majorities in at least one house, but probably two. Within one year, its approval rating will skyrocket from its paltry 14 percent to a whopping 20 percent. A skimpy start, to be sure, but it will hit 40 percent by the end of Brown’s second term.
Brad Sherman will beat Howard Berman.
Leadership changes in both houses of the Legislature, but my favorite guy – Bob Wieckowski – won’t be the next speaker. Next, you ask, who will be the new speaker and pro tem? Rubio in the Senate, Butler in the Assembly.
There will be a wonderful sex scandal involving Capitol staffers, lobbyists, one or two electeds and a journalist. Sadly, Big Daddy won’t be taking part. Sadder still, is that you’ll never know the details: People will write me about it but I’ll refuse to divulge any info. But trust me, it’ll be juicy. If you only knew.
The vast Kinde Durkee scandal will come to involve dozens of charges and millions of dollars shunted between Democratic challengers and incumbents over the past decade, maybe more. The case won’t go to trial; there will be a negotiated settlement.
Any court challenges against California’s new political boundaries ultimately will be rejected, except for those stemming from the California Voting Rights Act; some of those will get through or be settled for big dough.
California’s congressional delegation, as a body, will continue to be marginalized in Washington. Its top GOP players will see their clout boosted in the House, including Kevin McCarthy, although God knows why he’s in the Republican leadership. Amazing.
Our congressional Democrats will see their influence diminish dramatically. They may be the smartest, least powerful people in Congress.
Jerry Brown will disclose, finally and probably through the Times, that he’s running for a second term. He and his wife will be spotted arguing in public near the Capitol seismograph machine. Their dog will pee on the Bear.
Dick Floyd and I plan to open a communications company called Jess and Dick.
Herman Cain will be the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee. For details on how this could possibly happen, check out the 1880 convention in Chicago when James Garfield wound up with Chester Arthur. Sub Romney for Garfield and you’ve got the GOP ticket, which probably will be elected - despite the Dems’ $1 billion war chest - because of an incompetent Democratic campaign.
There will be a dozen ballot measures facing California voters in November 2012.
California’s unemployment rate will hover around 12 percent until Election Day. It won’t change the outcome in California – this is still Obama Country, after all – but it does mean that major disenchantment with Obama will rise exponentially during his second term and that California will be much more closely divided in 2016. It’s going to get ugly in 2016 in California - and not just in the presidential contest.