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Who is Tom Abate and what does he write about?

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Volunteering as an election worker in a one-party state

If you live in 37 of the 50 states, that’s what you’ll experience. The only question is which party controls which state

The remarkable thing about Alameda County’s June 29th special election was that social justice attorney Jani Ramachandran qualified for an August 31st runoff against Alameda school board member Mia Bonta. Surprisingly, she failed to get the 50 percent required to win outright the seat vacated by her husband, Rob Bonta.

The special election became necessary after Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Bonta’s husband to fill the post of state Attorney General office. Xavier Becerra had vacated the AG’s office after Newsom appointed him to replace former U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who resigned after she was elected Vice President and tiebreaker in the U.S. Senate.

As a volunteer poll worker, I didn’t see much election business that day. Only 10 people showed up to vote in person. Most votes were cast by mail.

… America is not so much a democracy as a confederation of one-party states, the difference being which party controls which state …

The principal benefit of this exercise in civic duty was giving me a chance to spend 14 hours in laughter-filled discussion with nine fellow citizens who were, like me, more interested in the electoral process than in the candidate tallies.

Our mixed-race, mixed-gender group skewed toward Medicare eligibility. But one of us was a new college grad. He informed us that he’d spent the last four years studying what had gone wrong with America. We smiled. Some of us had spent lifetimes wondering.

What I found sad and disturbing about that day was learning that more than $1.5 million had been spent in that special election to determine whether Bob Bonta’s wife should replace him –she eventually did — in a state legislature in which Democrats already control both houses, as well as the office of governor.

No matter who had won this election, nothing much would have changed. California is a one-party state.And that’s the norm in America.

The National Conference of State Legislators website shows that Democrats control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office in 14 states. Republicans hold the same two-fisted control of government in 23 states. Only twelve states have governments in which control is divided between opposing parties. Nebraska, which has a unicameral legislature, is left out of the count.

America is not so much a democracy as a confederation of one-party states, the difference being which party controls which state.

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