The Top 10 Losers in California Elections

10. Silicon Valley. Californians love your technology, but we’re not ready to put your executives in charge of the state.

9. Money. The Federal Reserve suggests deflation may be the threat to the national economy, but the California political economy is showing strong signs of runaway inflation. Even $140 million of your own money isn’t enough to buy the governorship.

8. The art of conceding. Whitman and Fiorina refused to concede long after it was clear they had lost. What explains this? Two theories I’ve heard. A) No one in Silicon Valley ever admits defeat; just when it looks like your company is cooked, you might happen on a technology that makes you a billionaire. B) Upper-middle-class baby boom girls never learned how to lose. But Title IX, which has since opened up school sports to women, has changed that for younger generations.

7. Local governments. You might have expected to see them on the list of the winners because of the passage of Prop 22, which protects their funding streams from the state legislature even in budget emergency. But Prop 22’s victory may lead to defeat. Expect state legislators to find ways to take revenge for Prop 22. And look for more scandals of the type seen in Bell, since Prop 22 protects local government funding – without changes in governance that would make city officials more accountable.

6. Democrats. Yes, the party won big. But now the party has full political custody of the ungovernable state of California. It’s all downhill from here.

5. Steve Cooley. Los Angeles District attorney and GOP attorney general contender declared victory on election night. By morning, he appeared to have lost.

4. The Tea Party in California. Yes, the Tea Party’s big political committee may be in Sacramento, but Tea Party candidates didn’t get far here. Fiorina’s courting the Tea Party didn’t help.

3. The initiative process. Voters still prefer to make their own choices, but half the state thinks the process needs reform. This year’s slate of initiatives show that half of the state is right.

2. Southern California. Yes, we saw all the ads, but the major candidates in the governor’s and Senate races were from the north. And you could tell they don’t quite get us. Even after three terms, Barbara Boxer was clueless enough about Southern California that she talked of her enthusiasm for the San Francisco Giants in a downtown Los Angeles rally. Uh, Senator -- Dodger fans were rooting for Texas.

1. Political consultants. Brown mostly did without them and won. Whitman surrounded herself with a GOP dream team of consultants and lost. The consultants still say that they’re necessary to successful campaigns. But you know what? We think we’ll need to see more recent data before we buy that.

Click here for a look at the Top 10 Winners in the election.


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