California, it’s been observed, is a canary in the socioeconomic mine, telling the rest of the nation what to expect in the future, for better or worse.
If so, then the rest of the nation had best be prepared for fragmentation, which is the only word that fully captures the division of a once-cohesive society into its many component parts.
How else does one explain, for instance, that a state whose wounded economy still ranks among the global leaders has the nation’s fourth lowest rate of medical insurance coverage, as a new Census Bureau data dump confirms?
How else does one explain that California, with about 12 percent of the nation’s population, is home to more than 30 percent of its welfare recipients? Or that it spends more of its budget than any other state on prisons? Or that its academic achievement scores and its traffic congestion are at or near the bottom among the states while its unemployment rate is near the top?
Underlying those and many other vexing political and economic issues is, almost everyone now agrees, dysfunctional governance. And no small factor, as well as an illustration of the state’s fragmentation, is the evolution in the body politic over the last several decades.
– “Polling reveals California’s fragmented electorate”, Dan Walters, The Sacramento Bee, August 4
(See larger version of the graphic here)