The Sacramento Bee has an editorial summing up all the police reform bills pending before the California legislature, most of which currently lack the support to pass. They include:
- The Deadly Force Accountability Act (Assembly Bill 1506). This bill by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, would allow local law enforcement leaders and district attorneys to request that the California state attorney general investigate police shootings.
- Police Decertification (Senate Bill 731). This crucial bill by Steve Bradford, D-Gardena, would allow California to decertify police officers who break the law or engage in serious misconduct.
- Police record transparency (SB 776). This bill by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would mandate increased transparency from law enforcement agencies.
- A ban on chokeholds.
These bills aren't passing because Republicans uniformly oppose them, and these Republicans are supported by many Democrats, most of whom are Hispanic. The Democratic coalition that governs California depends on the support of Hispanics who vote Democrat for reasons of ethnic history but who are in fact quite conservative on many issues, including crime and the police. California's black voters also have a history of supporting "tough on crime" candidates (like Kamala Harris).
Democrats who dream of a progressive future driven by racial change need to remember this. In the US, blacks and Hispanics mostly vote Democrat because they think Republicans are racists, but they are not on the whole very progressive about a long list of issues that include gay rights, police reform, the environment, and taxes.
If you can remember back to George W. Bush and Karl Rove, they had a plan to insure the Republican future by somehow toning down the racism, and anti-immigrant feeling and getting Hispanics and immigrants to support them on the basis of religion and attitudes toward crime and government spending. It didn't work because it turned out racism and anti-immigrant feeling were too important to the Republicans' white base, but that doesn't make conservative Hispanics a great fit for a progressive coalition.