Tension In California Politics

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Being part of a nation that is founded on the pillars of democracy, it seems to make sense to give the people a voice in the governing process. In California as well as other states, the initiative and referendum process is a tool of direct democracy utilized by the citizens. California allows statutory and constitutional initiatives to be placed on the ballot. In a utopian world, direct democracy is an ideal form of governance for it gives the people the power to decide; however, direct democracy is an idealistic tool for it gives the ability to create policy and constitutional changes to people who are not knowledgeable of the issue. William Jennings Bryan argues that direct democracy such as the initiative and referendum process does not decrease the importance of the legislative body nor does it take away the authority of the legislators elected into the legislature. However, it is evident that past propositions had a great impact on the function of the legislature by changing its institutional processes and norms. Through the passage of different initiatives pertaining to the legislature, it is undeniable that the relationship of direct democracy and the California legislature has created tension in Californian politics. In order to understand how the tension formed, we must address the changes that the initiatives brought to the legislative system. Addressing the consequence and benefit of the passage of propositions on the legislature is crucial in understanding the formed tension. We must also address how direct democracy has impeded the function of the legislature. By tackling these issues, we will better understand the tension it created in Californian politics. First, initiatives like any other issues have two sid... ... middle of paper ... ...th the legislative body. The premise that direct democracy has impeded the job of the legislature is evident. We see that the usage of direct democracy has created a tension in California politics. The initiative process is not solely used by the citizens but by legislators as well. Tension is created when the job of legislator and the function of the legislature are affected. However, there is lack of tension when the initiative benefits the legislature. The constraint created by the passage of Proposition 13 and 140 contribute to the tension and only reinforces it. Although we see a tension between direct democracy and the California legislature, it does not mean the legislature lost its full authority but rather slowly decrease some of it. The legislature cannot lose full authority for the legislative body is an integral part of representative governing.

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