California News

Californians deserve real debates – Orange County Register

Sunday afternoon, with no one watching, there was a debate between Governor Gavin Newsom and State Senator Brian Dahle. It will be the only debate between the two candidates for governor of the largest state in the country and one of the most powerful states in the world. That’s what you get with a one-party system and a political culture that doesn’t value the exchange of ideas.

There are big stakes in California, both because of its size but also because of its myriad problems. Yet virtually everyone is familiar with the near-certain outcome of statewide contests.

With nearly half of registered voters being Democrats, most of whom will vote along partisan lines no matter what, as will most registered Republicans, and most independents leaning towards Democrats, it’s incredibly difficult for a non-democrat to win.

In this context, it is perfectly understandable that Newsom wants only one debate and that other Democratic candidates for statewide offices also reject calls for debates. Despite all their talk about the importance of democracy, which requires strong civic debate, it turns out that they just want power. That’s it.

Consider, for example, the case of Malia Cohen, the Democratic candidate for state comptroller. The post of comptroller could and should serve as an important watchdog for the state government. Incumbent Betty Yee, a Democrat, has unfortunately been a flop, blocking efforts to release line-by-line spending on state spending.

Cohen, as a Democrat, is Yee’s likely successor, but all she wants to talk about is abortion, where the state comptroller has no meaningful role to play. It’s like having a City Clerk candidate running on a NATO expansion platform.

It’s gibberish.

It would be one thing if Cohen ran for a relevant post, like lawmaker, in a state with strict abortion restrictions, like Texas. But she is not. She is running for comptroller in a state where abortion is legal and constitutionally protected both by statute and by California Supreme Court rulings prior to Roe v. Wade.

His opponent, Lanhee Chen, has drawn broad bipartisan support because he actually focuses on the comptroller’s office responsibilities. Chen is clear about the powers of the office and the ability to truly hold the government accountable through audits and transparency.

Chen repeatedly called for a debate with Cohen, which Cohen repeatedly ignored or rejected. Cohen is obviously embarrassed by reporting this month that last year her consulting firm’s license was suspended due to ‘failure to report’ and ‘failure to pay’. taxes.

“I can’t explain what happened there because I can’t remember,” she told the Los Angeles Times.

A victory for Malia Cohen would show self-destructive partisanship. A Chen victory would be a sign that Californians can and want to overcome partisanship.

Alas, Cohen is doing her part to minimize public exposure of the contrasts between her and her opponent by avoiding a debate. We hope his efforts will fail.

California Daily Newspapers

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