California Voters use Initiatives to Thwart Democrat Pols
California voters used ballot initiatives to thwart the state’s dominant Democratic political class on the gig economy and racial preferences. As Reason’s Scott Shackford writes:
The biggest blow: Proposition 22 cut the legs out from A.B. 5, which all but eviscerated the freelancers’ ability to work for themselves, requiring companies to employ private contractors and pay them a host of benefits. The purpose of A.B. 5 was to attack companies like Uber and Lyft and destroy the gig economy in the state, all in the service of union jobs. The legislation was so badly designed that it was hitting freelance writers, musicians, Realtors, language translators, and other independent workers. Lawmakers weakened A.B. 5, but kept the assault on rideshare and delivery drivers. So Uber, Lyft, and the like forced the matter onto the ballot as Proposition 22, asking voters to decide whether these drivers could remain freelancers.
In defiance of, well, the entire Democratic power structure (including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, and the technically independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders), voters in California supported Uber, Lyft, and their drivers. With all the ballots counted, Prop. 22 passed with 58 percent of the vote. Many of these same voters overwhelmingly supported Biden and Harris in the election, but they see the importance of letting people decide if they want to be freelance workers.
Another big hit against the California Democratic establishment was the failure of Proposition 16, which would have restored racial preferences in government institutions and college admissions. It had the support of the entire Democratic Party power structure in the state, but 56 percent voted no.
Make no mistake: California Democrats still retain their legislative majorities and control of the major statewide offices. But that does not mean voters are willing to hand them a blank check. Using the initiative process – as cumbersome and costly as it maybe – is becoming a powerful check on the gang n Sacramento.