The return of Governor Moonbeam

Jerry Brown is running statewide in a California general election this November for the first time in 20 years. He remains an interesting candidate because he latches on to issues, some of which later become popular – tax cuts, the environment, term limits and attacks on special interests are just a few. He remains interesting because two of his three runs for President were credible – in 1976 he entered late, but won five primaries in a row, including his home state. He very nearly deadlocked the convention by preventing Carter from amassing enough delegates to win on the first ballot. Sixteen years later he was close to doing the same to Clinton. A gaffe involving Jesse Jackson probably cost him the New York and Wisconsin primaries by tiny margins. With those, and perhaps others, under his belt he would probably have won California, where he actually came a respectable second to Clinton. The might-have-been is obvious. With a clutch of extra states, including the two largest, voting Brown, Clinton would not have been nominated on the first ballot, and perhaps not at all. But most of all, Jerry Brown is interesting because he is, well, erratic is probably the politest word.

Critics could argue that he has reinvented himself so many times that it is not surprising some of his pet issues have later taken wing. And most of them have only done so after Brown himself has moved on. But he has won statewide primaries in California for Secretary of State, Governor (twice), US Senator, and now Attorney General. So far he has only lost in the general election just once. He also won a contested election to be State Chairman of the Democratic Party. California’s Term Limits law was enacted in 1990, and doesn’t apply to terms of office prior to that date.

So Brown could yet run again for Governor or indeed for President. Perhaps as a Democrat or . . . well, who knows, he has left the Democrat Party before. As an independent or running under the banner of the Green Party he could take a big slice of the vote. In a Presidential contest it would certainly be enough to put the three West Coast states into play.

So Governor Moonbeam is still worth watching. The entertainment factor is always high.

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