Editor’s Note: Frequent Fox and Hounds contributor, Joe Mathews, will give his unique perspective on all eleven November ballot measures over the course of the next month. He will take them in the order they appear on the ballot.
The best thing about Prop 32: it’s fair.
The people behind Prop 32 just wanted to be fair. They wouldn’t dare target unions in a measure designed mostly to limit their power.
Their measure bars unions, corporations or government contractors from contributing to candidates, or candidate-controlled committees, or parties to give to candidates.
It also prevents corporations, labor unions, government contractors or government employers from deducting from an employee’s compensation for political purposes.
Now it just so happens that this would only practically affect one side of the political divide – labor unions, since they count on payroll deductions for money and would lose power and money if this went into effect.
But can you blame the sponsors if a rule that applies to unions and corporations only really affects unions?
It’s just not fair to say that those Prop 32 sponsors are being unfair.
Indeed, it’s the very spirit of the state constitution, and of California-style democracy, to limit campaign contributions in this way.
Indeed, Prop 32 perfectly expresses the push for reform in California over the last century: do what you can to weaken institutions, be they parties or unions or others, that enable people to conduct politics together. It’s far better when people act independently, and alone.
When everyone is independent, the best people – which is to say the richest people – will have the greatest influence. Which is as it should be. Couldn’t we all save ourselves a bunch of trouble if big decisions in the state could be worked out by Charles and Molly Munger at family reunions?