The Uni-party Isn't Just Bad for Governance


We will take as a given for the purposes of this article that California has one actual political party.

It is called the Democratic Party but could easily be called any number of things – the Bureaucratic Party, the Oligarch Party, the Lobbyist Party, the Crypto-Corporatist Party, the Woke Party, the Pander Party, the Insincere Apology Party, the Foundational Party, the Other People’s Money Party – it doesn’t matter because they all describe at least one aspect of the congealed mass of mutual and personal interests that squats over California like a succubus, draining the will, dreams, and desires of a far too somnambulant populace.

This arrangement is extremely handy for the San Francisco clique of nabobs that runs the state, the LA entertainment coterie that gives them the money to keep running the state, the interchangeable lobbyist-bureaucrat-elected Sacramento blob that operates the state, and the Gordian Knot of academics, foundations, non-profits, service organizations, and media groups that tell everyone how to run the state and proclaim that everything about how the state is run is perfect because they are in charge (and they are getting paid.)

All of this is not terribly earthshaking news. But beyond the comically corrupt incompetence on obvious display, the UniParty has counterintuitively allowed and bred something else, something that could come back to haunt them in the very near future – a blind zealotry that leads inevitably to the fringe not just of political ideology but of societal sanity.

The practical apparatus for this process has been built over the past two decades or so and can – in part – be traced to a few seemingly positive reform attempts.

In California, incumbent legislators do not lose. The percentage is so high it is even meaningless to Google it – saying none who ran in last in the past 20 years lost is far closer to the truth than saying a few have lost.

Term limits have imposed some form of rotation, though fail by missing two big points:

First, the electeds are merely the wrinkly skin of the beast and not actually in charge, and second, that due to the rotten borough system of the “independent” re-districting commission that cannot/will not consider “voter population” instead of “total population,” it does not matter if/when an incumbent terms out because they will be replaced by an identical vote-a-tron.

What untouchable districts do is make untouchable politicians and while they are not, for practical purposes, in charge they are able to have other impacts beyond the state house. The safer the seat the more politically batty the seatholder can be (that goes for both parties, but that doesn’t really apply in California.)

That safety allows electeds to indulge themselves in any whim they may have, as long as that whim does not impact the core operations of the blob. People around the nation ask: “I know he’s from San Francisco and would be pretty lefty anyway, but how in God’s name Scott Weiner allowed to be even remotely near a lever of power?”

In a competitive election system in which electeds would have to be even vaguely accountable to the public, the answer is that Weiner, one very small example of his work, wouldn’t be.

So what the safety of the embrace of the UniParty does is enable (to appropriately use an addiction-related term) the most extreme instincts of the elected. They can paint the boat, they can put a new flag on the boat, they can make the boat bigger, they can re-christen the boat, they can start calling the boat a ship, and they can add others to the boat – as long as they don’t actually rock the boat (let alone sink it.).

Oh, and writing laws and making comments on pure political theater “issues” is much much easier than actually governing.

Safe “public servants” then tend to take their act on the road, speak at conferences, do fawning interviews, are pointed to by others as “third party validators” and Voila! – their personal political pathologies gain a sheen of legitimacy.

And this is how the Uni-Party damage extends beyond the political into the cultural. Their lunacy then wends its way through every aspect of society, convincing people here, making changes there, promising perfection to some, offering protection to others.

Read the rest of this piece at The Point.

Thomas Buckley is the former Mayor of Lake Elsinore and a former newspaper reporter. He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at You can read more of his work at

Photo: via Wikimedia under CC 3.0 License.