Sina Schuldt/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomSina Schuldt/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomWe've known this day was coming: the end of the Jerry Brown administration. For all of Gov. Moonbeam's flaws, those of us with conservative, libertarian or moderate leanings know that the state government is losing the last adult in charge. The next governor will be less willing to serve as a backstop against a Legislature that's gone far to the left.

It's why Republicans have been muted in their criticism even as Brown pushed the cap-and-trade plan, a high-speed rail boondoggle, and budgets that obliterated spending records. My main beef is Brown failed to use much of his political capital for a Nixon-goes-to-China moment that takes on the public-sector unions. They are the main obstacle to fixing various state problems, ranging from the pension system to the lackluster public schools.

A recent 90-minute gubernatorial debate in San Jose reminded us of what's coming. It also highlighted the new reality, which is driven by deep demographic and political changes, and exacerbated by the relatively new top-two system, writes Steven Greenhut.

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