How the rejection of Prop. 23 affirms the California dream

Nationwide, American voters erupted with discontent. But out west, they're still embracing a clean, green future

Topics: Proposition 23, How the World Works, 2010 Elections, California, Energy, Environment, Global Warming,

How the rejection of Prop. 23 affirms the California dreamSolar panels in Modesto, Calif.

Californians woke up Wednesday morning in an alternate reality. Across most of the nation, hard-right Republicans swept to dramatic victories, taking a lock-step hold on the House of Representatives and thoroughly upsetting the political calculus for at least the next two years. But in the Golden State, liberalism prevailed. Jerry Brown walloped Meg Whitman in the governor’s race, brushing off $160 million dollars worth of negative advertising like so many evanescent moonbeams. In a tighter Senate race, liberal stalwart Barbara Boxer held off Carly Fiorina. And perhaps most importantly, voters decisively rejected Proposition 23, the Texas-oil-company financed effort to negate California’s landmark global warming law.

As of 8:30 a.m. PST, with 96 percent of the precincts reporting, 61.3 percent of California voters had said no to Prop 23. Environmentalists across the country — hell, the world — who have been dismayed to see climate skepticism take such deep hold of the Republican Party should take heart. 60 percent of the state boasting the largest population in the U.S. affirmed their commitment to tackling the challenge of climate change and our dependence on fossil fuels. California’s economy is so large that the state can, by itself, make a huge, globally relevant impact on the development of clean and renewable energy technology. Prospective clean energy investors who have been holding back in fear of Proposition 23 passing can jump right back into the action. While most of the country expressed a profound discontent with the direction the country is headed, Californians said yes to the path they were already on.

Mother Jones environmental reporter Kate Shephard points out that 28 out of 42 Democrats who voted against the climate bill passed by the House last year lost their bids for re-election. I think that has more to do with the vulnerability of Democrats representing conservative districts in a pro-Republican “wave” election that it does anything else, but clearly, if they thought they were keeping themselves politically viable by their stance on climate change they were dead wrong.



With Jerry Brown as governor and Prop 23 rejected, California will continue to lead the way on the environment. The big question now is whether and how quickly the focus on a green future will translate into job growth and a return to economic prosperity. Like the majority of my fellow voters, I’m betting yes. But the future is unknowable. Perhaps the most encouraging thing about the vote on Proposition 23 is what it says about the spirit of California, about the willingness of voters to embrace a vision of California as it should be, instead of shying away in terror at what might happen.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>