You can’t drive around Los Angeles without noticing how bad things are in the (once-)Golden State. Storefronts sit empty. And those that remain open regularly announce sales, trying to do anything to lure in customers so they can stay afloat.
You can’t have a conversation with your friends without hearing stories of lost jobs or reduced salaries (save if they work for the state government).
You can’t open the newspapers, flip on the local news or read an article on the state’s sorry finances without learning that the state is close to broke, with some forecasting it may soon have to declare bankruptcy.
And yet, as Roger Simon notes, the candidates of the status quo retain a lead in recent polling:
. . . Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer are still leading Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina by 5.4% and 3.3% (RCP averages) in a state where unemployment is 12.4% (not including the underemployed and the astronomical number that have already given up), and from which businesses are fleeing like rats from the proverbial sinking ship? Even the storefronts on swanky Rodeo Drive are standing empty.
Nevertheless, a plurality of the voters still want the same old, same old. I thought it was supposed to be the economy, stupid. It’s not as if Whitman and Fiorina are implausible candidates in a time of economic crisis. They’re ex-CEOs.
Crazy, no? How do you explain it? Sure Whitman and Fiorina have made mistakes in their campaigns, but so have their opponents. And with the state nearing bankruptcy, you would think minor campaign flubs would pale into insignificance.
Neither Brown nor Boxer is putting forward any new ideas to fix the state. Almost the entirety of Brown’s campaign is to reminisce about what he once did, three decades ago, as Governor while promising, in the fall, not to do what he said, in the summer, he might have to do: raise taxes. Oh, and then to attack Meg Whitman for, well, for being horrible no good and very bad and little more than a George W. Bush clone in drag.
And Boxer? Well, it seems, she believes that if she keeps repeating that the “stimulus” is working, Californians will believe it too. And since with a flick of her magic wand and a sprinkling of fairy dust, soon, very soon, in no time at all, those jobs which have been disappearing will suddenly just reappear — like Marvin Acme’s disappearing/reappearing ink.
“California,” Simon laments, “the land built on the future — has become stunningly averse to change. It is a depressed place made up of terrified people, clinging to the solutions of another era.”