Don’t Forget The Third Candidate in the U.S. Senate Race

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Kevin De Leon likes to make history, but not like this: he could finish third in the two-person U.S. Senate race. The ballot says there are just two candidates—De Leon and incumbent Dianne Feinstein. But there is a third candidacy that’s likely to draw a lot of support. None of the above.

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Blame California’s Trees

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Dear California Trees, When are you going to stand up and take some responsibility for all the damage you do to this state? It’s not only the blue-purple blossoms that you jacarandas use to stain Californians’ cars, or the colonies of disease-carrying rats that you palms harbor, or even the roots you magnolias use to […]

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Have a Second Governor’s Debate With One Rule — No Trump

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

There’s a strong case for a second gubernatorial debate, as long as it follows one rule: No Trump. The first debate, hosted by KQED, was far more about the president than about California. And it told Californians what anyone paying attention already knew: Gavin Newsom righteously opposes Trump and John Cox is an ally of […]

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There’s an Appetite for the Right GOP Gubernatorial Candidate

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

John Cox’s sad excuse for a gubernatorial candidate, confirmed by a sorry performance on Monday’s radio debate raises the question: What would a serious Republican candidate for governor look like? The fact that Cox, unknown and with few coherent positions, is not getting totally nuked in the polls suggests there is an appetite for a […]

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Californians May Know More About Russian Intelligence Than Their Own Schools’ Performance

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

“Getting down to Facts II: Current Conditions and Paths Forward for California Schools” is the most important report on California schools in years, probably since the original Getting Down to Facts” a decade ago. It’s produced as a part of a project that draws in a variety of top researchers and is coordinated by Stanford […]

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The New Magna Charta

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

In Rome last week, I helped write a new Magna Charta. I led this effort during a Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, a free, public event I help run. The idea is that all the worry about declining democracy is really about democracy at the national level. But democracy, fundamentally, is not a national […]

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California, Rome, and the End of America’s Empire

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

How will California survive the end of the American empire? The question might seem hypothetical, but I found it inescapable last week in Rome, where I was running a global forum on the future of direct democracy. Our forum’s mission, on its face, was hopeful: Hundreds of participants, from 80 countries, discussed how to make […]

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How to Block Ballot Initiatives, Italy Style

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

You think it’s tough to get an initiative on the ballot in California? Think it’s even tougher to pass an initiative in California? Sure it is. But it’s a lot tougher in Italy. At a recent conference in Rome, an examination of Italian direct democracy showed the extent to which the traditional political system has […]

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Why Trophy Wives Should Vote Yes on Prop 5

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

I’m happily married. But if I weren’t, I might start looking to marry someone age 55 or older. Because Prop 5 creates new financial incentives to be married to someone in that age bracket. The initiative is particularly good for trophy wives and, let’s be fair here, trophy husbands.

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Do Ballot Initiatives Make You Happier?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Direct democracy makes communities happier. That’s the happy conclusion of research by Bruno S. Frey, of the Center for Research in Economics and Well-Being at the University of Basel, in Switzerland. Frey has been studying happiness for years. At the recent Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy in Rome, an event for which I served […]

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