Our readers in California woke up the morning after election day to discover that in addition to voters approving Proposition 30 and its $6 billion tax hike, the Democrats had taken a supermajority in the Legislature.
It's been decades since Republicans have had much say in Sacramento. They've been able to do little more than block legislative tax hikes, as the law requires a two-thirds majority to pass those measures. No more. The Democrats now have the votes in both houses to roll through whatever tax and spending measures they see fit.
They will be unchecked even by gubernatorial veto. That we should even remotely suggest that Gov. Jerry Brown serve in the role as responsible adult in the room is evidence of how far things have gone.
"What the people have done is to grant us a tremendous opportunity, but it comes with great responsibility," Darrell Steinberg, the Democratic Senate leader, told the New York Times last week. "We intend to approach it with strength, with humility and a sense of purpose. Every day when I come to work, I'm going to be aware of the risk of overplaying it."
Californians can only hope. But Democrats, who have held a functional majority for decades, have done little over the years to keep spending in check.
The Democrats, for at least the next two years, are free to do the will of the public employee unions and other liberal special interests. They need money for their pensions, benefits and pay increases, and now have the votes to get it.
That this majority mainly hails from the state's urban centers, we can only imagine what the next two years will mean to agriculture and other rural interests.