California is a completely blue state. The governor, state assembly and the state senate are all Democrats—not a majority of Democrats– every single person voted into state office since 2011 have been Democrats. We would have been Republican free since 2004 except for a weird election that ended up with a movie star named Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming the governor, but that’s a story for another day.
Let’s go back to the 90’s when California had a Republican governor named Pete Wilson. He was a US Senator that resigned to become the state’s governor from 1991 to 1999. He signed the 3 strikes law which sentenced criminals to life if they got convicted of a crime a third time, no matter if that crime was non violent or minor, like stealing diapers or a tube of toothpaste. He also supported energy deregulation because who cares about clean air and water.
What he is most well known for is advocating for, and getting on the ballot, Proposition 187. This “show me your papers” ballot initiative nick named “Save Our State” wanted to establish a state run citizenship screening system that would prohibit anyone that was in the state illegally—or their children—from using non-emergency healthcare (yes, like doctors), public education (omg, literally not letting their little kids go to school) and all the other public services available. It was exceptionally gross because it required all state and government employees to report suspected illegal immigrants—very Germany 1939.
The embarrassing truth is this, California voted for Prop 187 overwhelmingly with a ratio of 59% to 41%. Yes, it was slipped in during a non presidential election year but it is still a stain on our history. The next day the law was challenged in court and eventually was found to be unconstitutional. Why unconstitutional? Because let us never forget, that the beautiful US Constitution protects all people that are in the United States, no matter whether they are citizens, residents or here illegally. All humans are protected by it while in the United States.
So then something happened. In 1996 every Republican in the state’s government was voted out. Prop 187 is considered the number one reason for the demise of the Republican Party in California. A 2006 study published by the American Journal of Political Science declared that it was Prop 187 that shifted both white and minority voters “away from the Republican Party permanently”.
Maybe, I hope, what this means is that most people are good people and maybe they just aren’t always paying attention to when they should get out to vote for random propositions and ballot measures that they hardly have time to learn about. But once they do learn about them and realize that they hurt their neighbors and friends or friends of friends or coworkers or innocent little babies they will do the human thing, the American thing, the right thing and vote for fairness and kindness at their next opportunity.
In 1996 the people of California voted for Democrat Grey Davis to be the governor, his administration withdrew the appeal in the courts, effectively killing the law permanently.