Democrats hold near supermajorities in both legislative chambers with 52 of 80 seats in the Assembly. Yet this week 21 Democratic Assembly members representing middle- and low-income communities—including 11 blacks and Latinos—joined Republicans to kill a bill mandating a cut in state greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Democrats also forced Mr. Brown to scrap a measure that would have given the California Air Resources Board plenary authority to reduce statewide oil consumption in vehicles by half by 2030. Imagine the EPA without the accountability. “One of the implications probably would have been higher gas prices,” noted Democratic Assemblyman Jim Cooper. “Who does it impact the most? The middle class and low-income folks.”
Many Democrats demanded that the legislature get an up-or-down vote on the board’s proposed regulations before they take effect. Yet the Governor and Senate liberals wouldn’t abide constraints on the board’s powers.
The defeat is all the more striking for the failure of appeals to green moral superiority. Liberal groups targeted Catholic Democrats with ads featuring Pope Francis. Mr. Brown demonized oil companies for selling a “highly destructive” product.