Why California’s governor may emerge as top defender of liberal values

Four-time Gov. Jerry Brown, who has a history of political independence, may be the Democrat most likely to chart a path that not only defends liberal values but also finds some practical middle ground with Washington.

Published Jan. 28, 2017

— As California gears up for four years under a Republican White House and Congress, Gov. Jerry Brown is emerging as uniquely suited to playing a key role for blue states inclined toward political rebellion.

Since the tea party wave of 2010, the picture has been reversed: Red states barraging the Obama administration with lawsuit after lawsuit. The question now is whether blue states will respond in kind.

Governor Brown, who has a history of political independence and no elections left to campaign for, may be the Democrat most likely to chart a path that not only defends liberal values but also finds some practical middle ground with Washington, when possible.

The four-term governor of the country’s biggest state brings a mixture of experience, personal prudence, and pragmatism. And at a time when California is holding itself up as a big blue target for the new administration’s deeply conservative agenda, experts say, Brown may provide what the state – and the Democratic Party – needs to see.

“Knowing how to navigate this is going to take a lot of political sophistication – picking and choosing when to fight and when to not fight,” says Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. “That’s what a lot of the top leaders are wrestling with.”

Read the rest at csmonitor.com.

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