California looks forward

For years, one of the toughest jobs in the Golden State, better known as California, has been tailoring the state’s public policies to the needs of the majority of the population. Part of the problem is the state’s demographic transition and the difference between who the voters are and the people who are affected by the decisions these voters make.

While experts from all classes and races have repeatedly raised the alarm about the future needs of the state—economic, educational, social and infrastructure—voters, a majority of them white, older and conservative, were making most of the decisions. The disparity between both realities was obvious.

It was just a matter of time, however. The transformation of the California electorate is now in full swing, as a Public Policy Institute (PPIC) survey revealed this week. Combined with the levels of participation of young people, Latinos and Asians in the recent election, the survey highlights a major shift in how decisions will be made in the state in the immediate future.

November 6 was an example, and it is impossible to know if the electorate that voted that day in the presidential election will be the same that will vote in upcoming elections. But this reveals a progressive transformation toward a more diverse, younger group: estimates show that up to 28% of voters that day were 18-29, a group that has traditionally voted in lower proportions. Likewise, 22% of the electorate was Latino.

The new California electorate is not only more diverse and younger, but also philosophically different than their older fellow voters. This anticipates a change in the way California will be governed if that philosophy becomes a true political force. And that only seems like a matter of time.