California is at a Crossroads

The most recent elections in California resolved little about the future, but did suggest that there’s a growing electoral unease with progressive dogma. This was made most clear in the recall of San Francisco’s arch-radical district attorney, Chesa Boudin, and in the first-place finish of billionaire Rick Caruso, on an anti-crime and anti-homelessness ticket, in the primary race for LA mayor.

The drivers of electoral change are quality-of-life issues, like homelessness, petty crime and a general deterioration of civic order. Yet the biggest issues have hardly been discussed, notably economic trends and policies that underlie the state’s housing problems, entrenched poverty, massive inequality and loss of attractiveness to investors.

To be sure, candidates like Caruso and business interests funding the Boudin recall are aware of the economic issues. Yet they, and for that matter Gavin Newsom, who won a majority in the Democratic primary for California governor, have not focused on the economic crisis that could supplant all other issues in the coming year. The state media, which should be focusing on this, seem more interested in explaining away the economic problems that are clearly facing California.

Read the rest of this piece at Spiked.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.