California Politics

California Politics

Administrative division

California is divided into 58 counties, which make up the local government. These 58 counties contain 480 counties: 22 ” towns ” and 458 ” city’s “, the majority of which are located within one of the five metropolitan regions of the state. The state recognizes two types of cities: so-called “charter cities” which are governed by their own charter and so-called “general law cities”, which follow the general law of the state. Most cities are of the latter type, but the older ones, including the ten largest cities in the state, all have their own charter.

Wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains. California has a relatively large share of green energy in the United States


The interior, the Central Valley and the south of the state (except for the densely populated Los Angeles County) mostly vote for the Republicans. Coastal areas, including Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and the capital Sacramento, are overwhelmingly voting for Democrats. Until 1992, the state almost always went to the Republicans in American presidential elections. The same was true for US Senate elections. However, the growing proportion of minority groups in the population (mainly due to immigration of Latin Americans from Mexico) tipped the balance in the 1990s in favor of the Democrats. Since then, both the state and state level delegates have been mostly Democrats. There are, however, notable exceptions, such as the election of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor in 2003 and 2006. Successful Republican candidates in California are often viewed as relatively moderate compared to the Republican Party’s national party line.

According to Act-test-centers, California has a very large budget deficit, so during the 2000s there were fears that the state could go bankrupt . Politicians often couldn’t agree on how to cut spending: cutting public utilities is taboo for Democrats, while Republicans don’t want tax hikes.

Neon sign for medical cannabis in Los Angeles

Californians, especially in coastal areas such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, are generally more progressive than the average US citizen. They are less opposed to a deviant or alternative lifestyle, have widely differing religious views and attach relatively high value to environmental protection. Same – sex marriage was declared legal by the state’s Supreme Court in June 2008, only to be abolished six months later after a referendum (Proposition 8) by a constitutional amendment .. After a long legal battle, marriages between two people of the same sex have been taking place again since June 28, 2013. California also has a very liberal drug policy. In 1996, it was the first state in the US to legalize medicinal use by referendum. This law gave California residents the right to possess, use, grow, and purchase marijuana with a prescription from specialty stores. However, in 2010, a proposal to legalize marijuana was rejected by referendum.

Due to high land prices, many Californians own a large portion of their money in land or home ownership. Matters that can lower the price of land, such as the construction of new airports, prisons or military installations, are therefore often the subject of political controversy.

California has a higher share of green energy than the rest of the United States, mainly wind and hydroelectric power. The state has had a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants since the late 1970s because of concerns about the storage of radioactive waste. Another topic of debate within environmental issues is water use. The dry, densely populated south has an ever-growing need for water, partly because of the salinity of groundwater in the coastal areas. However, the north of the state is not ready to divert more water to the south without further ado.

In the major cities of California (particularly Los Angeles), armed gangs are a serious security problem. Public gun ownership is therefore a subject of political debate. Possession of certain firearms has been a crime since 1990, although this is not the case for all weapons. Gun licenses are only granted exceptionally in urban counties, while in rural counties it is quite easy to get a gun.


California has about 1,600 judges. A law degree has been required since 1974 to become a judge. State law is based on British common law (as in virtually all US states), although some features have been taken from Spanish civil law, such as the principle of community of property. The state uses the death penalty, which is only possible by lethal injection. However, since 2006, the state has had a de facto moratorium on the death penalty. The law stipulates that only a doctor may carry out the execution, but all doctors consider this to be contrary to their professional oath.

Under common law, the principle of stare decisis (a form of jurisdiction) applies. Appeals are possible to the Courts of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court of California, the state’s supreme court. The latter also has original jurisdiction in some matters, such as in the case of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court consists of seven judges, who are appointed by the governor of the state.

California Politics