In California, A Blue Wave And Progressive Governor: So Why Are So Many Leftist Plans Going Under?

An unprecedented haul of tax dollars generated by a roaring economy. A governor who campaigned on a big-ticket policy agenda of long-time lefty favorites, including universal childcare and state-funded healthcare for all. A Legislature so thoroughly packed with Democrats it gives rise to a new term—”giga-majority.”

Californians could be forgiven for expecting it all to add up to liberal bonanza, a gusher of policies that the Democratic Party’s base has been clamoring to enact for decades.

But as the new super-blue Legislature sends Gov. Gavin Newsom his first state budget and the Capitol passes the halfway point for making new laws this year, the progressive policies that are advancing amount to less of a torrent than a trickle.

California may look pretty far to the left from a national perspective, but state-wise, lawmakers have already killed or downsized major items on the progressive wish list. They rejected bills to rein in charter school growth, curb oil production, expand data privacy rights and regulate e-cigarettes. They drastically scaled back ambitious agendas to protect renters and limit soda consumption. Though they approved some big progressive goals—giving workers more paid time off to care for a new baby, boosting government funding for healthcare and childcare—those policies have been whittled down from their original versions, making them more incremental than revolutionary.

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