General Question

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Can California still correctly consider itself as a republic?

Asked by Crashsequence2012 (2025 points ) November 17th, 2012

“Republic” is supposed to suggest a representative government.

For all it’s propositions the state looks more and more like mob rule with voting machines.

What gives?

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12 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

What gives? It’s California. They’ve been doing this for a long time. But it’s more complex than that. The legislature and the courts duke it out with the referendums (or whatever they call them) to establish law. Law is not really law until the courts have had their say, and even then… not necessarily.

I think that if you want to understand California, you have to live there and study it. I do neither. So all I can say is that they are the 8th largest economy in the world. To a large degree, they can do what they want because of that.

filmfann's avatar

When Californicans were being driven out of their homes because of rising property rates, they voted in Prop 13, which changed the amount a house can be valued, thereby taxed. We would have all lost our homes waiting for the Government to act, so we did it ourselves.
It is true that a lot of the State propositions are nonsense. Most are voted down, and a few get through (Prop 8, which outlawed Gay marriage.)
We are still a Republic. We still depend on the Government to deal with the issues. We just reserve the right to act ourselves when the Government won’t.

marinelife's avatar

No, it is not a republic. It is a state.

ETpro's avatar

Republics are usually soverign nations, but the definitions is …a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter” (Latin: res publica), not the private concern or property of the rulers, and where offices of states are subsequently directly or indirectly elected or appointed rather than inherited. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch. 1

Now that Ahnold is gone, California again meets that more modern definition.

ml3269's avatar

California is if one compares it to a state in the EU more likely a country than a state in the us-meaning of a state… for me like european it is one of the most country-like-states in the US.

bolwerk's avatar

Representative government isn’t necessary to being a republic. Most republics have partially representative governments, but the term most broadly refers to any government that isn’t a monarchy (and I would probably count “fascist tinpot dictatorship” as a monarchy of sorts). Popular representation was a very small deal in the Roman Republic, which is the basis for American republicanism. China is probably still technically a republic, albeit a very authoritarian one.

Also, I don’t see anything wrong with California that isn’t reasonably common in many of if not the bulk of the other 49 states. Certainly the Republikan Party would have lost significantly more seats in the House of Representatives if the House weren’t so gerrymandered to make competitive races nearly extinct. That pretty much means every state is doing what California is doing.

@ml3269: there isn’t really anything unusual about California except for its size. It’s a U.S. state in every sense of the word. It doesn’t even have an especially unique legal system by U.S. standards, unlike Louisiana.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

TIL California is a state.

Many thanks.

ETpro's avatar

BTW, Great question, @Crashsequence2012. One of your best.

DominicX's avatar

The reason California has the words “California Republic” on their flag is because for a brief time, settlers in Alta California declared themselves a separate republic (in revolt against Mexico); it was never recognized, but it is remembered in places like the state flag.

ml3269's avatar

@bolwerk: I meant it more like the californiana see themselves…

bolwerk's avatar

The right to a republican government is one of the few rights guaranteed by the pre-Bill of Rights U.S. Constitution.

@ml3269: shrug It’s New Jersey on the Pacific.

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