I’m tempted to nominate retiring governor Jerry Brown for the Black Bart Award as the leading Californian in politics this year. But I realize such a trophy would not be an award for this year but a lifetime achievement award. There is no one who can match the length of time at the center of the political wheel and the commanding influence that California’s only four-term governor has had on the state.
But the Black Bart Award as we have established it reflects someone, or some action, or some event, or some organization that had a great impact on the state and on the attention of those who follow the Golden State’s politics for the year.
Certainly, the person at the top of the state ticket in an election year deserves some consideration. But, most believed Gavin Newsom was a shoo-in and he didn’t really break a sweat in his campaign, careful not to make an error. His time will come.
Senator Dianne Feinstein certainly had her share of attention, especially with the Supreme Court confirmation hearing. But, that is not exactly a California focus. Feinstein’s closer than expected win for re-election over an underfunded opponent indicates her influence in the state has waned.
It seems to me the most chatter on the political front circled around California Republicans. In a sense, this nomination is a negative recognition for the state’s Republicans earned attention and in the old newspaper phrase, ‘the most ink’ by fumbling.
Losing Orange County, once deemed the most conservative county in America, was a feat worth noting. The landslide loses of seats in the state legislature and no statewide Republican candidate hitting 40% of the vote in the election was telling.
Well-known Republicans were looking for a new way to change the party’s fortunes. Some even talk about starting a new party.
The Republican story has helped California to become a one-party state, which is a story unto itself.
Of course, as the old saying goes, once you’ve hit bottom the only way to go is up.
The Republicans may have another story to tell if they patch their wounds and start the climb back up.
For now, the difficulties of a once dominate political organization in this state makes California Republicans my nominee for the Black Bart Award 2018.